A day in the shoes of Elliot, ECC Staff Clinician
“A veterinarian is first and foremost a scientist, but do not ignore everything else in the name of science. If you focus all your efforts on chemistry, physics and biology, how can you learn about communication and compassion?” – Elliot Kneba
We have another Ralpher we’d love to introduce you to: Elliot is one of our Emergency + Critical Care Staff Clinicians here at The Ralph, which means he is directly involved in caring for our sickest patients.
Elliot is truly passionate about Emergency + Critical Care, and if you’re wondering what it’d be like to be in his shoes for the day, read on…
“My schedule includes a mixture of day, weekend and night shifts. I start my day with rounds in our Emergency + Critical Care (ECC) Service at either 8 am or 8 pm.
My tasks during the day are varied and can include taking care of hospitalised patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), inducing and monitoring anaesthesia for imaging or surgical patients, assisting with diagnostic procedures, scrubbing into surgery, and helping to arrange referrals or answer questions from our pet carers. During nights and weekends, I function solely as the ECC Staff Clinician working closely alongside our ECC Diplomates to care for our patients during ‘out of hours’.
I chose to focus on ECC because it offers a great variety of caseload and care required. However, the favourite part of my job is meeting and talking to our pet carers. A lot of people go into the veterinary profession because they love animals, but you also have to like their people too. When coming to a veterinary hospital (especially the emergency department) it can make you feel incredibly vulnerable. I want our pet carers to know that I really am invested in their family member’s care, that their concerns are taken seriously, and that I am their ally.
Here at The Ralph, I am also a Champion of Patient Safety. This means I help implement, reinforce and consult on safety protocols. Our ultimate goal is to always be more than one step from a mistake harming a patient, so we are always trying to improve.”
“The downside to working in ECC is that our population of patients is a lot sicker than average, so inevitably more of our patients will pass away or be put to sleep. This takes an emotional toll, especially when you spend a lot of time with a patient and their carer. However, I will always be grateful that I had an opportunity to try and help that animal, or at least improve their quality of life in the end.
Regardless of my shift, I work with almost everyone in the hospital. This includes our brilliant nursing team, our supportive group of referral clinicians across all services, our dedicated group of customer care staff, and our hard-working patient care assistants.
I love that we all have a shared mission/mental model and unified leadership here at The Ralph. This may not seem like much but knowing exactly what is expected of you and your colleagues is comforting. I also like that we take the health of our colleagues seriously. We work long hours, have long commutes, and our work can be stressful, so self-care is very important. When your workplace not only recognises this but prioritises this, we can all thrive.
I am also thrilled that we have started having students from the University of Surrey rotate through the hospital. Working with students was one of the great joys of my internship and I am so glad to have the chance to do it again.”
“My advice to someone looking to become a vet would be to read everything and try to learn at least one new thing per day. Read fiction, history, biographies, and be inspired. More importantly, do not neglect those things that will support you during your vet school hard times and beyond: friends, family, loved ones, and hobbies.
As I have gotten older my priorities have become clearer. In the past, my motivation had declined, but with a renewed focus on the things that bring me joy (along with the removal of many of the things that don’t) I have felt much more inspired. I am constantly inspired by my amazing wife, who continues to surprise me and stimulate my growth. I have also recently fallen in love with Jiu-Jitsu and continue to be amazed by my practice mates and their ability to fold me into a pretzel.
If there is one thing I have learned throughout my years, it is nicely summarised in this quote: “Be content with little but hope for more. Above all, be kind, and make a habit of it.”
Thank you for reading our latest blog. If you can’t wait for the next instalment of our “A day in the shoes of…” series, you can meet the rest of our team here.