I use science to be a Vet

Name: Fran Alsworth
Job Title: Small Animal Vet

Name: Fran Alsworth
Job Title: Small Animal Vet

Fran is a veterinary surgeon specialising in small animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets and tortoises and also has a big interest in primates! Fran’s day job alternates between offering consultations, giving vaccinations and conducting surgeries (she once had to operate on a dog that ate a tennis ball!). After originally getting rejected by 4 four universities, she went to Bristol University to do her 5-year veterinary degree.

Fran is a veterinary surgeon specialising in small animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets and tortoises and also has a big interest in primates! Fran’s day job alternates between offering consultations, giving vaccinations and conducting surgeries (she once had to operate on a dog that ate a tennis ball!). After originally getting rejected by 4 four universities, she went to Bristol University to do her 5-year veterinary degree.

I would call myself a scientist now, because we use a lot of maths and everything that I have learnt has come from a basis of science. "

I do a mixture of consulting [e.g. vaccination clinics, check-ups] and surgery [for example neutering, or removing a tennis ball from a dog!]. No two days are the same.

I would call myself a scientist now, because we use a lot of maths and everything that I have learnt has come from a basis of science. When I think about it, science is a really important part of my job, even though at times I forget that because I’m doing the clinical and practical side.

I took a conventional approach into veterinary. I did science A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Geography and then applied for vet school, which is typically a 5-year degree. I got rejected from all 4 universities that I applied to! I got a late call after my A-level results, saying someone had dropped out and asked if I wanted to start the following Monday!

It really does open up so many possibilities. Just because you studied Biology/Chemistry/Physics at GCSE or A-level, it doesn’t mean that you have to do one specific thing.

I really struggled with science at school. I enjoyed it, but I found that the exams were quite technical. Chemistry was one which I needed to be  vet, but I had to put in a lot of extra hours to really understand the science because I haven’t got a ‘mathematical brain’. Looking back I really enjoyed that experience because it got me to where I am today.

I take a lot of inspiration from the people that I work with. When I was younger, my best friend was very driven and wanted to be a scientist – I think I found that very encouraging to study with her. We found a connection through science.

At 9 I wanted to be a farmer, but realised that you need to have a farm! My uncle is a vet – I saw what he was up to and I thought it was really cool. The more time I spent with animals, the more I thought how incredible it would be to work with them every single day.

Do your science! Even if it might not come naturally, it will open a lot of doors. I also think get as much work experience as you can – seeing as many different things as you can, whether that’s a pet shop, a farm, working at a stable or a vets. It can feel quite scary…but actually, everyone has been really nice in my journey to being a vet.

I would call myself a scientist now, because we use a lot of maths and everything that I have learnt has come from a basis of science. "

I do a mixture of consulting [e.g. vaccination clinics, check-ups] and surgery [for example neutering, or removing a tennis ball from a dog!]. No two days are the same.

I would call myself a scientist now, because we use a lot of maths and everything that I have learnt has come from a basis of science. When I think about it, science is a really important part of my job, even though at times I forget that because I’m doing the clinical and practical side.

I took a conventional approach into veterinary. I did science A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Geography and then applied for vet school, which is typically a 5-year degree. I got rejected from all 4 universities that I applied to! I got a late call after my A-level results, saying someone had dropped out and asked if I wanted to start the following Monday!

It really does open up so many possibilities. Just because you studied Biology/Chemistry/Physics at GCSE or A-level, it doesn’t mean that you have to do one specific thing.

I really struggled with science at school. I enjoyed it, but I found that the exams were quite technical. Chemistry was one which I needed to be  vet, but I had to put in a lot of extra hours to really understand the science because I haven’t got a ‘mathematical brain’. Looking back I really enjoyed that experience because it got me to where I am today.

I take a lot of inspiration from the people that I work with. When I was younger, my best friend was very driven and wanted to be a scientist – I think I found that very encouraging to study with her. We found a connection through science.

At 9 I wanted to be a farmer, but realised that you need to have a farm! My uncle is a vet – I saw what he was up to and I thought it was really cool. The more time I spent with animals, the more I thought how incredible it would be to work with them every single day.

Do your science! Even if it might not come naturally, it will open a lot of doors. I also think get as much work experience as you can – seeing as many different things as you can, whether that’s a pet shop, a farm, working at a stable or a vets. It can feel quite scary…but actually, everyone has been really nice in my journey to being a vet.

Career Path

You will need to do a veterinary degree at university to become a vet.
To get onto this course, you will need to either do:

A-levels

This is the most common path. You will usually need Biology and at least one or two other science or maths subjects. 
 

An ‘Access to Higher Education course’ (a diploma)

Often through a college. This is a good option for those over 19 years old without science
A-levels or BTEC qualifications.
 
 

BTEC Diploma (Level 3 Extended)

For example in Applied Science or Animal Management.

There are 9 universities in the United Kingdom that offer a veterinary degree. They are in England or Scotland.

Career Path

You will need to do a veterinary degree at university to become a vet.
To get onto this course, you will need to either do:

A-levels

This is the most common path. You will usually need Biology and at least one or two other science or maths subjects. 
 

An ‘Access to Higher Education course’ (a diploma)

Often through a college. This is a good option for those over 19 years old without science
A-levels or BTEC qualifications.
 
 

BTEC Diploma (Level 3 Extended)

For example in Applied Science or Animal Management.

There are 9 universities in the United Kingdom that offer a veterinary degree. They are in England or Scotland.

More resources
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has lots of information on how to become a vet and the types of work you can do when fully qualified. For example, did you know you could be a wildlife vet that helps wild animals such as sea turtles, seals and bats? 
There is also a great YouTube channel called ‘Rach the Vet’ – Rach explains how she got into veterinary medicine and vlogs about her life.

More resources

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has lots of information on how to become a vet and the types of work you can do when fully qualified. For example, did you know you could be a wildlife vet that helps wild animals such as sea turtles, seals and bats? 
There is also a great YouTube channel called ‘Rach the Vet’ – Rach explains how she got into veterinary medicine and vlogs about her life.