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10 Rules for Life After Graduation
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10 Rules for Life After Graduation


As hard as veterinary school is, life after graduation can be harder if you don't know the new rules. They have changed from the ones you had in school — maintain a certain grade-point average, attend class, do your assignments, and graduate.  


Life will never be that simple again. 




  1. Do not gossip or make off-handed snide remarks. Friendly small talk is fine. Gossip and sneers, on the other hand, are hurtful and damaging to others. Such behavior is immature and unprofessional.

  2. Dress professionally, including your shoes. Dirty, beat-up athletic shoes are not professional. If in doubt, ask what the doctors usually wear and dress as they do.

  3. Be punctual, ready to work, and stay until the work is done, without complaining.

  4. Do your share and offer to help others when you are not busy. You get back what you give.

  5. Say "please" and "thank you." That's simply good manners, and it will keep you from sounding as if you are barking orders or appearing condescending or unappreciative.

  6. Respect others. Show consideration. That includes active, attentive listening.

  7. Stay composed, especially when you are feeling stressed or upset, and maintain a positive attitude. Other team members will notice and take their cue from you.

  8. If you make a mistake, admit it and say you are sorry. Don't obsess over it. The only real mistakes you can make are to keep repeating the same ones without learning from them.

  9. Do not overly fraternize with support staff, no matter how much you like them. It is hard to hold onto the respect of those you work with when they've seen you chugging shots at the bar or you've told them all the sordid details of your last relationship.

  10. Aspire to excellence in patient care as well as in your relationships with clients and co-workers. Being a successful veterinarian is a two-part job: It involves working well with animals and people.

Author: Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM

Karyn Gavzer is a veterinary business consultant and nationally known writer and speaker. She says her job is to help practices "go and grow" with training, marketing and new ideas. She is an adjunct instructor for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and a founding member of the Association of VetPartners, formerly known as the Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors.



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