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Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

Hi, my name is Camille and I am a canine veterinarian (for dogs and cats) at the Val d'Arve veterinary clinic in Haute-Savoie (France).

I graduated in November 2021 and since then I have been working at the Val d'Arve veterinary clinic for a little over a year. During my years of study at the veterinary school I also worked in other clinics. These first experiences were very rich and intense and allowed me to apply my knowledge, to progress in practice (surgery, ultrasound) but especially to develop my sense of customer relationship, which is essential for a veterinarian!

We are a team of 6 veterinarians and 8 veterinary health assistants (VHA), and we treat small animals: dogs and cats, but also rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, birds, snakes, etc. I work with a team of veterinarians who have developed skills in surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, behavior, exotic animals (= new pets), reproduction and phytotherapy. I was hired as an employee veterinarian (autonomous executive) on a fixed-term contract in October 2021 and I have been on a permanent contract since September 2022. My days are mainly occupied by consultations (which last most often 30 minutes), I have about 15 per day. Twice a day I also participate in the round of the hospitalized animals. This consists of reviewing the hospitalized animals, discussing their care with the entire team, and establishing their plan for the day (their treatment or exams such as blood work or X-rays, etc.). One day a week I am in surgery and operate on the animals all morning with the help of the surgical assistant. I first have a pre-op appointment in the morning with their owners, then we take them in charge. We have to take care of anesthetizing them, shearing and disinfecting the surgical area, performing the surgery, and making sure the animal wakes up properly. Then in the afternoon (or sometimes the next day) we have an appointment with their owners to return them with the post-op instructions and the treatment to be done. Some days I am in charge of the care of the hospitalized animals, that is to say that I have to take care of re-evaluating the state of health of the hospitalized animals, to administer their treatment (often injections by vein) and to make the complementary examinations planned for the day: blood test, ultrasound, radiography, sending of samples to the laboratory, etc.

We also provide on-call services, i.e., animal emergencies outside of the clinic's opening hours. I am on call one evening per week (from 7pm to 10:30pm) and one weekend every 6 weeks from Saturday 5:30pm to Monday morning 8:30am. In the evenings after 10:30 pm we refer our emergencies to veterinarians who intervene at home. I can be at home or at the clinic, I have to answer the owners' calls and I have to go to the clinic for an emergency consultation (or even surgery) if needed. It happened to me to finish an emergency surgery (torsion and stomach turning on a dog) at 2 am with one of my colleagues, the night was short but we were happy to have saved this dog!

I also have a managerial function in the clinic, I help my employer with human resources management. For example, we deal with recruitment (veterinarian and veterinary assistant), annual interviews or conflict management. I also advise him on strategic and day-to-day decisions and I am in charge of the veterinary trainees who come to the clinic.

In high school I was a very good student, I liked biology, animals and understanding how things work. My parents told me that I wanted to become a veterinarian, I was interested and so I did my internship in the third grade at a clinic near my home. I loved the surgeries and the variety of activities in the clinic. To be sure of my choice, I did a one-week internship in the summer between my first and last year of high school, in another veterinary clinic near my home. This internship confirmed my choice and helped motivate me to enter the preparatory program and pass the exam!

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

After obtaining a scientific baccalaureate, I was accepted in a preparatory class BCPST (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences) at the Lycée Saint Louis in Paris (75). I spent two intense years of preparatory school, with a very heavy workload, stress, but with a general atmosphere of class super nice and turned to mutual aid. I was supported and helped by my family, to whom I returned every weekend.

I had a good time during the preparatory program because I met some great people and I was able to continue playing guitar on weekends with my band (rehearsals and concerts).

I passed the entrance exam at the end of my second year of prep school, and I entered the veterinary school in Lyon (VetAgro Sup Lyon) in 2016! At the school, the first two years are only theoretical, the next two are practical years in the school which is also a large veterinary clinic. The last year is a year of deepening in a field that you choose: dogs/cats, horses, livestock (cows, pigs, sheep, etc.), exotic animals or also management, research, etc. At the end of the five years you will receive the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine after defending a thesis (a written report of about 100-150 pages on a subject of your choice). This diploma allows you to exercise a profession with a thousand facets: you can be a practitioner, i.e. do consultations in a clinic like me, but also do research, work in veterinary laboratories or companies in the veterinary world (equipment, advice, brands of kibble, etc.), become a teacher in schools, work in the administration (Ministry of Agriculture for example), work in parks or zoos, as a public health inspector (in slaughterhouses, factories, restaurants), etc. It's very varied! You can also continue your training to become a specialist in a field (surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, etc.). For this you need at least 5 more years after leaving school: one year of internship, one (or more) year(s) of assistantship and then three years of residency with a specialist, to then pass a final exam and get the specialist diploma.

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

In my last year, I did a 3-month internship in Haute-Savoie which I really enjoyed, and I did my thesis with the Alpivet group which brings together about fifty clinics in the Alps. Through meetings for my thesis, I met Dr. Daniel Groux, my current employer. A few months later he posted an ad to recruit a veterinarian and I landed in the Val d'Arve veterinary clinic to take my first steps. Currently for a veterinarian it is very easy to find work wherever you want because there is a lack of veterinarians in France.

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

What I like about my job is that it's never boring! It's a job with many hats (surgeon, doctor, imager, emergency doctor, etc.), the cases are very varied and it's stimulating to have to find the diagnosis with the associated treatment. I also like to take part in the management of the clinic because it interests me a lot. The clients are very nice and very grateful, it makes me happy to be able to treat animals and satisfy their owners.

The veterinary studies are long and obtaining the exam is difficult, you have to be very motivated, hard-working and persevering! I really advise you to do one or more internships in veterinary clinics before your baccalaureate to get a first idea of the profession because many people (once they become veterinarians) are disappointed with the reality and change their path. The most important thing is to have a sense of customer relationship because the job of a veterinary practitioner is above all a customer job! It is the owner that you have to convince to pay for the care of his animal, to give the treatment, to give you his trust, etc. Many are the disappointed ones who like to take care of animals but who have difficulties managing customers, their discontent, their demands, their stress.

There are several ways to get into a veterinary school in France: via the post-bac integrated preparatory program, via the preparatory program, the university or the BTS/DUT program. The most important thing is to choose the path that suits you and the way you work. If you are a very good student and you can tolerate heavy workloads and stress, you can rather choose a preparatory program, if you are a very good student and you have already done internships in a veterinary clinic, you can try to apply for an integrated preparatory program, if you are an average student, you don't like intense workloads, you need time to assimilate knowledge, and you want to do more practical work and less theory, choose a BTS/DUT or a university program instead. And don't hesitate to ask about other European vet schools (Belgium, Spain, Italy, etc.) which also take French students!

Since October 2022, I am a guest member of the Ergone association, which aims to support veterinarians in the entrepreneurship and management of their clinics. We have regular meetings to organize exchanges, trainings, clinic visits and an annual congress. I also help the association of former veterinarians of the Lyon school to organize events.

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

I love the mountains all year round: hiking in summer or snowshoeing in winter with my dog Pickup, and snowboarding! I hiked the GR20 last year in Corsica (a trail that crosses the Corsican mountains from North to South on 180km) in 12 days, a great human and sportive experience for me.

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

I also like reading, cooking, playing guitar and especially sharing moments with my friends. My favorite sport is handball and I love sport challenges (GR20, Paris half-marathon, and who knows maybe the Mont-Blanc ascent one day!) I am also a big fan of mopeds and board games (Ticket to Ride, Seven Wonders, Catan,...).

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

I find that I don't have enough time and I would do even more things if I could ;) Being a veterinarian is very demanding mentally, and it's common for me to think about complicated consultations that are working on my mind, and to have a hard time picking up the phone in the evening when I get home. I force myself not to look at the clinic's software (which I have access to on my computer) and the clinic's internal messages outside of my working hours, but it is not always easy. The days are very intense for me, I am often tired in the evening and the watchword is to cut out work, rest and take care of yourself! I work 4 days a week so I have one day off during the week where I recuperate and take care of my daily life (shopping, cleaning, administration, appointments, etc.). My weekends are filled with activities and time with my friends! If I had the possibility to change something in my life, I would not work full time (5 days/week without counting the guards) during my first year after leaving school, because the work rhythm was very intense and I was very tired the first 6 months. I was regularly working 2 to 3 extra hours a day because I needed time to think, to discuss cases, to progress in theory and practice, to do my consultation reports. I was a bit down in the dumps and I would have liked to avoid this period and start at my own pace.

At the veterinary school there are many associations and clubs (cultural, sports, animal-related, etc.) and each year I enjoyed taking on responsibilities in different associations.

In my first year, I was the treasurer of the clubs, which means that I centralized the expenses and receipts of the different clubs (cashing checks, collecting invoices, establishing the annual budget, etc.). I was also a member of the board of the association AFVAC Junior, which organized conferences and practical work in canine medicine (= for dogs and cats). At the end of the year I became a foster family for a future assistance dog (for people with reduced mobility, autistic children, epileptic people, etc.) through the association Handichiens. The idea: to take care of and educate a puppy from the age of 2 months to 1 and a half years, accompanied by a dog trainer with group lessons every week. Then he will spend 6 months with educators to finalize his education, and he will be given for free at 2 years to a person who needs it. That's how I ended up taking care of a little Golden Retriever puppy named Nickel who became a dog for people with epilepsy (he detects seizures up to an hour before they happen). It was a great experience that taught me a lot about dog behavior and training. It was very hard to give him back after watching him grow up and spending a lot of time with him, but I am very proud of what he is doing and that he can help someone who needs it!

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

In my second year I was elected president of the integration week for new students. For one year, my entire class (140 second-year students) organized an integration week for 160 new students: I had to take care of lunch and dinner for 300 people, organize different activities every day, manage the parties, deal with the school administration, raise money to do all this, in short: quite a program! The integration president's job is to coordinate the teams that each have a specific role in the organization: the meal team, the evening team, the teams of each day, etc. It is also the job that carries the responsibility of organizing the activities of each day. It is also the position that carries all the responsibilities (especially legal), if there is a problem, you are the one who has to manage it, make the right decisions, be aware of everything. It's a very demanding job but for me everything went very well overall and I had a memorable year of organization and integration week!

In my third year, I was in charge of partnerships for the school's sports club. I was in charge of finding funding to organize competitions or sports events. It was not an easy job for me because it was not in my nature to go and approach companies. I learned to negotiate, to look for and seize opportunities, to dare to ask, and now it is very useful in my everyday life!

In fourth year I was elected president of the Revue. It's a 3.5 hour show with skits, songs, dances and videos, organized and performed every year by the fourth years. And we don't do things by halves: we play in front of more than 1000 people (family, friends, students and teachers of the school). This year it was at the Zenith of Saint Etienne and the budget of the evening was 140 000€! Every night of the week we had rehearsals. As president I was in charge of the administrative part: the budget, the renting of the hall and the material, the organization of the general rehearsals and the coordination between the different teams (dance, music, costume, set, video, etc.). Unfortunately, the COVID did not allow us to perform the show, which was first postponed and then definitely cancelled. As president, it was a very difficult moment to manage, we had to make decisions to postpone the date while making sure that it was financially possible and that all the promotion could be present and ready for the D-day. We also had to motivate everyone to continue rehearsals during the lockdown. In the end, the hardest part was choosing and announcing the cancellation of the show because we couldn't find a date with the restriction measures. We were all very sad not to be able to live this unique experience, but we broadcast the videos of the dress rehearsal and we recorded in studio our music to release an album! It will always be a regret for me not to have been able to complete this project, but with a worldwide pandemic it was not easy and we did our best, which is the most important.

On top of all that I was in the band of my graduating class and we participated in 3-4 concerts a year. The first year I was in the rugby club, I changed to soccer in the second year when we played in the university tournament. In short, I did a lot of different things outside of my studies, and it was great! It taught me so many things: how to manage a team and work as a team, how to organize an event, how to foresee and anticipate problems, how to react in times of crisis, how to federate people around a common project, how to listen to others, how to persevere in order to achieve what you dream of, even if you will surely experience a failure that will allow you to rebound. And today this is very useful in my job and my daily life!

If I had to give an advice to a girl who wants to start in this profession, I would say: don't feel alone because currently 75% of veterinary students are girls! The profession is becoming more and more feminine and currently a majority of veterinarians are women. Women veterinarians who work in rural areas (with farm animals) have to fight against many prejudices, especially those related to their physical strength, but it is quite possible to take care of farm animals while being a woman.

The most important message for me is to alert people to the difference between the childhood dream of being a veterinarian and the reality of the field. It is a very intense job emotionally, mentally and physically, with a heavy workload. You also have to be able to be on call in the evening and on weekends. But above all, it is a customer-oriented job where it is essential to have a good sense of customer relations and good communication with the owner. You must also know how to work as a team with other veterinarians and assistants.

If you are motivated to become a veterinarian, come and do internships in a clinic to get a feel for the job, and persevere by finding out as much as you can about the different ways to get there! We will be happy to welcome you to the great family of veterinarians :)

and if you have any questions, don't hesitate:

See you soon!

Pics credits: aynaphotos.

Camille MÔRE: Canine Veterinarian

In consultation with a very comfortable dwarf English hen


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