I survived my first day! Everyone is as nice as I'd hoped, and I was given the opportunity to be challenged, but also given enough support that I didn't feel completely overwhelmed. I didn't struggle too much with the new accents, and only had to ask a few people to repeat themselves. A good start! :D
I started off with two surgeries this morning, which was very exciting, and a good way to start the day. Not having to be in front of clients first thing allowed me to ease into the practice and get over my nerves by chatting with the nurses while removing some testicles from a cat and then a dog. My boss helped me with the doses of the anaesthetics (I wish vet school had not focused on generic names so much, I had to keep checking and rechecking bottles for like 10 minutes before starting to figure out what was what!). He then kept coming in periodically to make sure I didn't need any help, and it worked out well, because I knew he was nearby, but also I knew that I was being given the opportunity to do what I'd learned without anyone hovering. I needed a little bit of help on the dog castrate, since I'd never actually done a closed castration before, but once I got started it was easy enough. He came in at the end while I was closing up and stood and chatted for a few minutes, and seemed impressed that it didn't make me nervous.
My only regret was that for some reason my sutures didn't want to stay loose, despite me making a pointed effort to keep them loose, and so the first few were a little tighter, and thus a little less aesthetically pleasing than I would have liked (and potentially might be a bit more irritating to the dog). But they held the skin together, and that's the most important bit. My next surgery day is Thursday, so that'll be something to work on.
In the afternoon I consulted for 2 hours, and stuck mainly to vaccinations and microchips and nail trims, and avoided seeing things that looked too complicated (we can save those for my second day!). My first two appointments were actually quite scary. The first was scary because the whole thing had to be done in the waiting room: the dog had a history of getting aggressive in the consult room. He was perfectly happy out in the waiting room, if a bit excited, but it was a bit difficult taking a proper history and doing a proper exam with so much going on around me and people chatting and the owner talking to another owner and not paying much attention to me. But eventually we got there, and fortunately the dog was healthy, so the vaccine was given, and they were gone. The second appointment was scary only because it was my first 'proper' appointment in the consult room, with two dogs, getting full exams each and a microchip each. Once I got into taking the history and doing the exam, it all started coming back to me, and I found that even though I was quaking with nervousness on the inside, it didn't seem to show on the outside at all, and I had plenty of time and remembered nearly everything I was meant to do. I saw some things that were odd - like the dog who came in for a lump on the back end that the owner's wife found, but none of us could find in the consult. I thought perhaps it was an anal sac that had been full and was now empty.
I struggled a bit typing all of my notes after each consult, but that was mostly because the nurse (who was lovely) was very chatty, and kept talking to me while I was writing. Perhaps I'll try writing it down as I go, but I just feel like I'd rather be facing the client than a computer when talking to them. I'll have to figure out the way that works best for me, but I think I got everything important into the notes at any rate!
I can already see that there is going to be a learning curve when it comes to changing from 'the vet school way' to 'the real and practical way', but I think I handled everything well for my first day, and I didn't feel like I was overwhelmed at any point. So yay! I'm a vet! :D