What Does It Take to Work in Science; People Skills and Problem Solving Are Essential for a Career in the Sciences. Kate Crockett Asks a Group of Scientists Why They Find Their Profession So Rewarding

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IT may not be seen as the most glamorous of industries but scientific work can be challenging and rewarding, plus the employment options are endless. If you enjoy problem solving, getting out and about and getting your hands dirty - and don't mind wearing a white coat at work - a career in science could be for you.


Jess Gower, 35, is the chief veterinary surgeon at the Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria.

"We look after the needs of animals that wouldn't get medical care elsewhere," she explains. "We only treat the animals of people who can't afford private veterinary care, such as those on income support and Job Seeker's Allowance.

"We also treat the pets of homeless people and those of the elderly dependent on the basic state pension."

Most of Gower's work is hospital based and the busy clinic sees up to 26,000 animals every year.

"A lot of what we see in clinic are animals with bad ears, itchy skin, tummy upsets, coughs and heart problems," she explains.

Gower and her team also run a minor operations room and a theatre specialising in major procedures such as broken bones.

"Although it is primarily animal work, we are very much working with and for the owners as well, so you really have to enjoy helping people."

Gower says the most rewarding aspect of her work is trauma surgery. "Being in London, we see a lot of young dogs and cats after road accidents or falls from heights, and they come in with facial injuries, internal injuries and fractures. The nice thing is that we have the expertise to return them to full health in the majority of cases."

Training: Jess went to veterinary school in Cambridge. "I did six years' training - three pre-clinical and three clinical." Her first post was with the Blue Cross and Jess has continued to work her way up through the organisation. There are six veterinary schools in the UK and all the courses last five years except the one at Cambridge, which is six.

Competition is fierce and candidates require high A-level grades in the sciences and maths. …


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