The Association of Rural Veterinary Practices has evolved from an organisation that traditionally represented a network of farmer cooperatively owned "Club Practices" throughout New Zealand. Rural Veterinarians work in organisations that may be cooperatively owned, privately owned by veterinary practitioners, privately owned by veterinary practitioners contracted to cooperatives or employed by large retail companies. Practices range from small, single clinic practices to large multi clinic businesses operating in a number of rural towns. While rural veterinary practices have a primary interest in providing clinical services and advising on flock or herd health and management to production animals and lifestyle block owners. Pets are part of the family in rural as well as urban areas, and rural people demand the same high quality of care.
CLUB PRACTICE SYSTEM
Historically the club system was a method of introducing veterinarians to rural New Zealand. It is a community - based partnership between farmers and vets. In each club, farmers actively contribute to the practice at the policy level through a board of directors, while clubs are managed on a day to day basis by executive officers, usually a senior vet. Vets are employed either as salaried staff or on a contract basis. Vets in club practice enjoy a supportive environment where professional development is encouraged. In some areas assistance with housing and superannuation is provided. The club system is also an ideal setting for vets to develop management skills.
To a farmer, the vet from the local Veterinary Practice is a trusted partner in the productivity of his or her farm. Their clinical expertise and medical knowledge helps to ensure livestock are maintained in the best possible condition for productivity. Its important for vets to be comfortable dealing with people, able to communicate and to have an understanding of the demands and economics of farming. Vets have a key role to play in monitoring and analysing a range of reproductive and production performance indicators of a farm's livestock. Veterinary practices are also valued focal points for the districts they serve. Vets are on first name terms with their clients and can enjoy being part of the unique community lifestyles of the New Zealand countryside.
Training for a career as a rural vet will set you on the pathway to a sound and rewarding future. New Zealand's strong dependence on primary production means that the demand for skilled large animal veterinarians will remain high.
The path to success and security as a vet in a rural practice begins with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degree from Massey University in Palmerston North. The attainment of a degree should be thought of as a start to a career of life-long learning. A position in a practice that can provide support, back up and opportunities for professional development is the next step to a successful career.
Those skills can also be used in a range of other career options, including veterinary work with government agencies, biomedical research, private clinical practice, animal health product industry and many others.
Click here to view Veterinary Qualifications required for working in New Zealand