Why I love veterinary surgery – And how to practice surgery every day
By Andrew Heller, DVM
Standing over the surgical table with my patient in dorsal recumbency, intubated, and motionless, with the rhythmic sound of the EKG and the cool air-conditioned room, I’d feel that familiar calm that I would look forward to every Tuesday and Thursday in my last associate job.
In the surgery suite – away from the cacophony of the clinic, the barking dogs, the tumult of doctors and technicians scrambling to keep the clients from waiting, often juggling multiple cases at once – I was secluded behind the sliding glass doors of the surgery room in peace, with my favorite Pandora station playing in the background.
I was in the zone, solely focused on the task at hand, knowing just what to do because I’d done it hundreds of times. I would open my sterilized pack of surgical instruments and lay them out on the elevated tray before me, setting aside the instruments I knew I wouldn’t need during the procedure.
I would count the gauze pads twice and verify that all 10 were present, glance at the cabinet to check that my favorite suture was in stock, and finally check in with my assistant and make sure the patient’s vitals were stable, before making my first incision.
The satisfaction that comes from performing veterinary surgery
I loved my surgery days and often wondered if there was a way to do more of them and less days in the exam room. Of course, surgery wasn’t always easy, and I certainly had those moments during the occasional pitbull carnassial slab fracture extraction that frustrated me to no end.
But most surgery days were simply satisfying. I know I’m not alone in that feeling and often meet vets who love doing procedures such as dental extractions, spays, neuters, or any surgical opportunities that present.
Conversely, I meet those who feel the exact opposite about surgery – extreme anxiety, the feeling that something is likely to go wrong, and the sleepless nights praying the pedicle ties didn’t slip. For every ying, there’s a yang, I suppose. In fact, most IndeVets on our team have chosen the latter path, avoiding surgery at all costs.
Introducing the IndeVets General Practice Surgeon: A new role
However, I have yet to meet a GP veterinarian who has the privilege of doing ONLY surgery every day at work. Even boarded surgeons have days in the exam room.
But something exciting is happening for us now. As of today, IndeVets is quickly closing-in on 1000 partner practices up and down the East coast. And one thing we are hearing from many of them is that they need more surgeons for basic GP surgeries, having waitlists extending for months in some cases (mostly for dentistry procedures).
This means we now have the opportunity to offer help in yet another way. And we now have the ability to offer full-time surgery jobs for general practice veterinarians who want it.
True to our core values of leading by example and happily breaking norms, this newfound capability is unique to our business model and something that further differentiates us from anything else out there in clinical practice.
To learn more about the IndeVets General Practice Surgeon (and to apply now), click here.
Wanna learn more about IndeVets first? Click here.
Dr. Andrew Heller is Chief Growth Officer at IndeVets.