Sometimes, life hands you a curveball, and you have to move. Maybe your military spouse is being assigned to a new duty location. Maybe your partner has found their dream job with a great salary, but it’s in another state. Sometimes you return back to your hometown to take care of your elderly parents. Maybe you are just looking for a new adventure in a new state. Whatever the reason, relief vet work can make relocating to a new state easier.
Challenges of relocating as a veterinarian
Relocating is always a challenge, but it’s especially tricky with a health care profession like a veterinarian. Licensing is always a sore spot, and you may have to rebuild your professional network. A dramatically new location may also have unique medical challenges as well.
Start with Licensing
If you’re a veterinarian relocating to a new state, you have new licensing requirements. Some states, like California, can take time to meet all of the licensing requirements. Others, like Georgia, don’t have veterinary specific state boards at all (just a professional licensing board), so the licensing process is fast and easy. Military spouses have a special program in Washington that can expedite your veterinary licensing. Start your state licensing research as soon as you know where you’re going. This will be one of the more limiting factors in your move between states.
Relocating to a new area as a veterinarian is a big disruption. When you’ve worked in a place for a while, you build a network of co-worker and referral veterinarians, sales reps, specialists, and testing services. Moving can disrupt these relationships. Even if you stay in the same state, you may have to find new professional connections. State and local veterinary associations can be great tools to get you started in your new location.
Impacts of the Environment on Patients
If you’re making a dramatic change in environment, you may find dramatically different veterinary health issues. Relief vets working in the Texas, for example, will find low rates of flea infestations but higher rates of heat-related illnesses. Oregon and Washington relief vets have to keep salmon poisoning disease in mind, along with toxic algae that might be ingested by patients.
Finding a Veterinary Clinic That Fits
The hardest part about relocating is finding the right veterinary practice to work with. Job ads can give you clues to the animal hospital’s culture and salary offered – sometimes. Online reviews can give clues to how owners feel about things, but don’t give insight into what really happens behind the exam room doors. So how do you know which hospital to choose?
If you lived in the area, you could visit before your interview, talk to the receptionist and techs, or talk to other veterinarians. Some of that may be possible via the phone, but it’s still hard to get a read on how you’ll fit with the current staff.
You don’t want to waste time with a poor fit, or have any homesickness compounded by missing home and being unsatisfied at work.
The Solution: Relief Work As Orientation
Instead of committing to one practice for a number of years, sight unseen, consider relief work. There are a number of advantages to starting as a relief vet in a new area.
Flexible Time Arrangements
When you first move in, there are often a variety of random issues that pop up, from receiving keys to setting up utilities. While most of these things can be taken care of online, there may be a few that have to be done in person during business hours, like delivering furniture. A vet relief job that’s only a few days a week gives you the flexibility to arrange appointments on those days off.
Cover Unexpected Expenses with Relief Work
Moving is expensive! Even if your costs are covered by an employer, there’s always something unexpected that comes up. Relief work can help you cover expenses while the dust settles and everything comes online. And if you work with a veterinary relief company, your payment is reliable and regular – no need to invoice and hunt down payment.
Relief Work as Entry to The Local Veterinary Landscape
As a relief vet, you’ll be able to chat with co-workers about other clinics and hospitals frankly. You can get a sense of what practices may be a good long-term fit with a little insider knowledge. Additionally, you can do a few different locum tenens shifts with different clinics to get an inside view of these potential full-time employers. You may want to look at veterinary recruiting firms that offer temp-to-perm positions to find that perfect match.
Talk to Holiday Vet about relief and placement services, and how we can help make your relocation an easy career move as well!