Farm vet Zack is thriving in our culture of support and care

Farm vet Zack is thriving in our culture of support and care

The moment Zack Such walked into Rosevean Vets as a university student, he knew it was the place he could see himself working after qualifying.

Now, with the support of his practice and VetPartners, Zack has developed his career with an RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Cattle) and has been promoted to the role of clinical director.

Here, he talks about the satisfaction he’s taking from mentoring other young farms vets taking their first steps in the profession….

MY earliest experience of Rosevean was on my first clinical EMS placement as a second year student. I really enjoyed working with the team who took the time to talk through cases and allow me to develop my practical skills.

Prior to graduation from the University of Liverpool in 2016, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at the practice and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

We value our friendly culture, where colleagues are encouraged to thrive and enjoy a healthy work-life balance, as well as an opportunity to experience all aspects of a mixed practice.

On top of that, we are in West Cornwall, world famous for its breath-taking scenery, from rugged cliffs to beautiful beaches, majestic moorlands to idyllic rivers and a lovely climate.

After beginning my working life in mixed practice, I decided my long-term future lay in being a farm animal vet, although I still enjoy the equine emergency calls that I pick up out of hours.

In 2019, Rosevean became part of VetPartners, who take pride in their support for career development, which is backed up by a good CPD budget. I have had the opportunity to achieve my RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Cattle) and been promoted to the role of Clinical Director.

For me, career development is the constant process of obtaining new knowledge, learning new skills and finding purpose in your work. Doing the certificate was just what I needed a couple of years into my career, as it accelerated my development at a time when I had found my feet in the profession and was looking for a new challenge.

In our profession, there are always opportunities for lifelong learning. Several years after graduating and then settling into practice life, the basic skills become routine and I think that is the point where many vets become disillusioned. There is a risk we will lose them from the profession if they are not empowered to focus on new, exciting learning and career development goals.

Being part of VetPartners’ culture of learning and development meant I felt well supported and completing the certificate was also beneficial to the practice. A focused course got me to the level required to take over a significant share of the practice’s dairy caseload more quickly than if left to my own devices.

When you are part of a larger veterinary group, there is the opportunity to be part of clinical interest groups (CIGs). I am part of the VetPartners udder health, infectious diseases and reproduction groups.

The CIGs are a great way to keep up to date with recent developments in your chosen area and you can tap into a pool of really experienced vets who are experts in their field. If you have a tricky case, there is always someone you can phone for advice and guidance.

We are given the clinical freedom to make decisions for our clients and patients, but you also have the opportunity to contribute to resources we provide offering a guide to best clinical practice.

Many vets are feeling under pressure and we all know there are high stress levels in the profession due to the nature of the work, but I believe this is a great time to become a vet.

There is now a far greater emphasis on the wellbeing and mental health of colleagues, as well as encouraging vets to have a better work-life balance with flexible working opportunities so they can return to work part-time if they have children or work condensed hours.

Along with my colleagues, I feel supported and valued at my practice and at VetPartners which helps to make my job so rewarding and enjoyable.

One of the main things I love about being a farm vet is the close relationship you develop with your clients over a long period of time. I think one of the attractions of being a farm vet for me is that, while small animal vets meet hundreds of clients for a short consult, you have a smaller number of clients with whom you develop a closer bond. You become part of the fabric of the farm and part of the team. There is a lot of satisfaction in that for me.

I am also taking great satisfaction from mentoring new vets who are enrolled on our Veterinary Graduate Development Programme.

It is so important that we support young vets, whether helping them to manage their workload or their wellbeing and ensuring they find their feet in a demanding, challenging role. We need to ensure we look after young vets and make sure they do not become overwhelmed. They are intelligent, compassionate, well qualified people and who could easily find well paid jobs outside of the profession.

We schedule face-to-face meetings for one hour a month, but support is always on hand, and we have a clinical club, where someone talks about a different topic each week and we learn from each other.

It is so rewarding seeing the progress of young vets you mentor and watching them grow in confidence and develop their skills. Having the same mentor throughout their time on the graduate development programme enables you to build a rapport and trust which leads to open and progressive conversations. Checking in on how people are feeling is just as important, if not more, than their clinical progress.

Zack Such is a clinical director at Rosevean Veterinary Practice in West Cornwall. Born and raised in the county, he returned home following graduation from the University of Liverpool, to begin life as a mixed animal vet at the practice.

Over the years, he has increasingly specialised in production animal work, with a particular interest in proactive sustainable cattle work and developing recent graduates. Outside of work, Zack enjoys racing Cornish Pilot Gigs and exploring the countryside with his wife and daughter.