Vets around the World – Joana

1 April 2020 – World Vets

My name is Joana and I am Portuguese. I qualified in July 2017 and started my first job in October 2017 in Galway, Ireland, in a mixed practice in which 90% of the work was related to equine medicine – specifically reproduction.

It was not easy at first. I couldn’t always understand the accent and had to study outside my working hours in order to meet my employer’s expectations. It also took me a few months to adapt to life in the clinic, to get to know the clients and to be fully autonomous in my decisions.
In rural roles like these, the teams are small and the days are long but I was keen to do it because I wanted to the opportunity to work with horses – something I couldn’t do in Portugal. As the clinic was small, it was difficult to make friends or to have much of a social life and I was a little anxious as I lacked confidence in some of my clinical decisions.

As the breeding season progressed, however, I grew as a veterinarian. I learned to recognize and correct mistakes, to improvise, to think on my feet in stressful situations and to work efficiently. My boss gave me more responsibility and clinical freedom as I grew more confident but was always there when I needed support.

I stayed in this role for two years and enjoyed it. I was fortunate to have welcoming colleagues and clients and the work was hard but also fun. I gained a great deal of experience of first opinion equine practice, as well as doing some basic ruminant work.

Eventually I felt it was time for a change and I will be starting a residency at the Equine Veterinary Medical Centre in Qatar in January 2020. I know that they were very impressed by the experience I gained in Galway and I am now looking forward to this new adventure.