37 Questions to Ask a Veterinarian While Job Shadowing

What are some questions to ask a veterinarian while job shadowing? If you’re interested in pursuing a veterinary career, job shadowing can be a valuable experience.

One of the most critical aspects of veterinary job shadowing is knowing what questions to ask. Whether you are shadowing a zoo veterinarian, small animal vet, large animal vet, or exotic veterinarian, these questions can pertain to anyone.

However, be aware that the veterinarian is busy, so you don’t want to ask questions at the wrong time. But also remember that since they agreed to have you job shadow, they are probably prepared and expecting you to ask questions.

Whether you’re job shadowing at a private practice, animal hospital, or research facility, there are several key questions you should ask your veterinarian mentor.

So, if you’re planning to job shadow a veterinarian, come prepared with a list of questions that will help you learn from the vet experience. Whiel there are plenty of no experience animal jobs out there becoming a vet isn’t one of them!

However, it’s important to think quickly; as new things arise.

Preparing for Job Shadowing – Before we get into the Questions to Ask a Veterinarian While Job Shadowing

Before you start job shadowing, preparing yourself for the day is essential. Here are some job shadow preparation ttips so you can guarantee you have a productive and successful experience:

What should you wear for job shadowing?

When it comes to job shadowing, it’s essential to dress appropriately. You want to make a lasting veterinary impression and show that you take the veterinary opportunity seriously.

Match the dress style of the other people at the veterinary practice. If they are wearing scrubs, then, by all means, wear scrubs. If it’s a more formal setting, you should dress business casual.

What documents should you bring?

Ensure you bring a notebook and pen to take notes during your job shadowing experience. You can also bring a copy of your resume and other relevant documents, like your transcripts or certifications. It’s always better to be over-prepared for job shadwoing than under-prepared.

However, remember that some job shadowing experiences will have you participate in some of the exams. You may need both hands free for this.

How can you prepare for the day?

Research the veterinary clinic or hospital where you will be job shadowing. Learn about the mission, values, and services they offer. Researching before you arrive will help you understand their approach to veterinary medicine and what you can expect during your experience.

You can also prepare a list of pertinant questions to ask the veterinarian or staff during your job shadowing. Asking questions will show that you are engaged and interested in learning more about the veterinary field.

Questions to Ask a Veterinarian During Job Shadowing

When job shadowing a veterinarian, it is essential to ask plenty of questions to gain a better understanding of the profession.

You can ask your questions on the spot or email them later. In our experience, asking on the spot is a better option. Especially since the vet usually spends their evenings answering client emails and may need more time to sit down and respond to your email after work.

Keep in mind that these questions are for you to brainstorm ideas; you’ll have unique questions that arise during your personal veterinary job shadow experience.

Here are some veterinary related questions you can ask during your job shadowing experience:

What are the most common veterinary cases you handle?

Asking this general question can give you insight into the cases most prevalent in the veterinary field. Then through your shadowing experience, you can also learn about the different treatments and procedures used to address these cases.

What’s your favorite reference book?

Learning which books they use daily will tell you which ones you want to purchase now.

Are there any websites or apps you use for reference?

Knowing which websites or apps a veterinarian uses as a reference guide may help you learn about one more tool you didn’t know about.

What types of continuing education do you recommend for veterinarians?

Recommendations are a great way to understand what type of continued learning is necessary to succeed in this field. If they graduated with a DVM MPH now is a good time to ask about it.

What’s your favorite platform to take CEUs with?

All veterinarians need CEUs to remain in good standing. However, learning where to take them can seem overwhelming when there are so many choices.

What are the most challenging cases you have handled?

By asking questions about challenging cases, you can learn about the more complex issues that veterinarians face. Additionally, you can learn how they approach these complex cases and what techniques they use to manage them.

As a veterinarian what do you like most about your job?

Asking what tjhey like about being a vet, can give you insight into the aspects of the job that veterinarians find most rewarding. You can also learn about the personal satisfaction of helping animals and their owners.

What do you find challenging about your job?

By asking this general question, you can learn about veterinarians’ difficulties and challenges in their work. Learning about challenges can help you better understand the veterinary profession and what it takes to be successful.

Ask specifics on any procedure you are unsure of

If you are unsure about a particular procedure, ask for more information. Veterinarians are usually happy to explain things further and answer your questions.

After you get home, write down all of the procedures you witnessed, then look each one up. Writing it down while its fresh will go a long way in helping you remember these things during vet school.

What classes in veterinary school are most relatable now?

Asking about the classes that are most applicable to the work of a veterinarian can give you insight into the skills and knowledge that are most important in the field.

Learning which classes are more important can also help you prepare while studying for a career in veterinary medicine. With so many vet schools in the US, now would be a good time to talk about which school they attended.

What was your favorite class during veterinary school?

While job shadowing a veterinarian, learning their favorite classes can give you insight.

Did you work a paying job during veterinary school?

Most vets do not work a paying job during vet school; learning why or why not this is a good option will help you make your own decision.

What are the most essential veterinary skills?

By asking about essential veterinary skills, you can get to know the most valuable skills for success as a veterinarian. Understanding how each DVM answers this can help you identify areas to improve and develop your skills.

What are some quick ideas for how to become a veterinarian?

Asking for advice from experienced veterinarians can be invaluable for those considering a career in veterinary medicine. You can gain new insight into the challenges and rewards of the profession. Plus you’ll learn about the steps you need to take to succeed.

How many veterinary hospitals did you work at before you came here?

This question can help you understand how life is not a straight path. We must take many bends in the road to get to our destination.

Hearing about a veterinarian’s journey before arriving at their current job can provide you with valuable insight and motivation.

How do you communicate with owners about pet health?

Communication between veterinarians and owners is an essential part of this field. Asking how they approach these conversations will give you a more detailed understanding of what it takes to be successful in this profession.

Does your clinic allow clients to text with questions?

Since texting is a preferred method of communication for many people, this is a great question to ask. Knowing the answer can help you understand how technology and communication have changed the world of veterinary medicine.

Does your clinic offer any medical advice over the phone?

Learning how each clinic handles clients wanting advice over the phone is another crucial question.

How much time do you spend after seeing patients, sending emails at the end of each day?

Learning that once your day of seeing animal patients is over, you’ll have “office work” to handle is insightful. Ask this of a few vets in the clinic, as some may spend more time than others.

Did you take any time off between undergrad and vet school?

Learning their path to veterinary school may make yours more manageable.

Did you get into veterinary school on your first try? If not, what did you do to strengthen your application?

If you’ve been rejected from vet school and are tyring to gain more experience, this is a great question.

When job shadowing a veterinarian, if they didn’t get in on their first try, you may gain some unique insights on things you can try to strengthen your VMCAS application.

More Specific Questions to Ask a Veterinarian While Job Shadowing

What are the usual vaccinations given to pets at that clinic?

Learning this in a real-life setting will help you remember the names of the various vaccinations.

Do you view your X-rays in-house or use a board-certified radiologist?

Becoming a veterinary radiologist is board certified field. So learning if your clinic employs one is good information.

When examining a dog or cat, what initial things do you look for?

The answer may vary depending on the vet you are shadowing.

Can you demonstrate how to restrain an animal for a procedure or examination?

There are restraining techniques you’ll learn in vet school. However, there’s nothing like watching them done in real life.

What are some restraining techniques you might use for a challenging animal?

A veterinarian with a lot of experience may have some tricks for handling complex animals.

If you are shadowing a large animal veterinarian, they have their own set of techniques designed for each specific animal, whether it be horses, donkeys, or pigs.

How do you handle an especially fearful or aggressive animal?

Many animals fear the vet’s office, so learning different techniques for handling aggressive or fearful animals is crucial to your success.

You can ask them to demonstrate how to give a subcutaneous injection to an animal. What are some common medications that are administered this way?

Watching an experienced veterinarian give some sub-cutaneous shots multiple times can help when you are ready to give your first one.

What kinds of parasites are you looking for in a stool sample?

Different regions may have more prominent parasites. Learn which ones are prevalent in your area.

What age does your clinic recommend for spaying and neutering?

The answer can vary depending on what doctor you are speaking to.

Ask specifics on why they are using a particular drug.

Asking about specific drugs can help you understand how they work, and why they are chosen. You can also learn about these drugs’ potential side effects or risks.

Write down any drugs they use, then do more research when you go home. Seeing the medications used in real-life cases will help you remember them down the road.

Which lab tests do you do in-house?

Nowadays, many vet clinics outsource lab work.

What are the pre-anesthesia meds that you give and why?

There are many options for pre-anesthesia medications, and learning why they choose a particular one can provide valuable insight into the process.

When you see the vet or vet tech using an instrument, ask what the name is.

You’ll need to learn the names of instruments, and there’s no better way than to observe them in use.

What’s the difference between the various flea and tick medications?

Learning why a veterinarian chooses one product over another can help you become familiar with selecting the best. Plus, you’ll learn about resistance; fleas are known to build up resistance to many treatments.

Ask about zoonotic diseases and what is transferrable to humans.

When you learn this firsthand, job shadowing will go a long way for your future studies.

What is their favorite suture technique, and why

Suturing animals takes experience to get good at it, so learning firsthand why a veterinarian chooses one technique over another is vital to your future success.

Help With the Grunt Work – The Veterinary Clinic and Staff will Greatly Appreciate this.

During job shadowing, you will quickly realize that much grunt work is involved in a veterinary clinic’s day-to-day operations.

Chores include cleaning cages, washing dishes, and restocking supplies. While these tasks may not seem glamorous, they are crucial to the smooth workflow of the clinic.

If you want to make a long lasting impression and exemplify that you are a team player, offer to help with these tasks whenever possible. Not only will you be aiding the staff, but you will also gain valuable veterinary insight into the inner workings of a veterinary clinic.

Here are some veterinary shadowing tips to keep in mind:

  • Ask the office staff if there is anything you can help with rather than waiting to be asked. Never begin helping without direction because it could be a liability for the clinic.

  • Be willing to do any task, whether small or insignificant.
  • Be proactive and look for small ways to help, such as restocking supplies before they run out, cleaning sinks, or disinfecting areas.

  • Pay attention to how the staff performs tasks and ask questions if you need clarification.

Remember, helping with the grunt work shows that you are a veterinary team player and are gung ho to do whatever it takes to help the clinic run smoothly. It may not be the most glamorous part of job shadowing, but it is crucial.

Final Thoughts

Job shadowing a veterinarian can be a great way to learn about the veterinary profession and gain experience. During your shadowing, asking questions is essential to make the most out of your experience. By asking the right questions, you can gain insight into the veterinarian’s daily routine, challenges, and job rewards.

Remember to be respectful of the veterinarian’s time and responsibilities. Ask relevant and meaningful questions, and avoid asking questions you can easily find through research or common knowledge.

By showing a genuine interest in the profession and the veterinarian’s work, you can make a positive impression and potentially open doors for future opportunities.

Overall, job shadowing a veterinarian can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Take advantage of the job shadwoing opportunity to learn as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.