Life as a rural vet

18 Aug 2021

A job as a rural veterinarian means you become an integral member of the local community, with the opportunity to support farmers by providing livestock health services, as well as helping community members with their companion animals. Queensland veterinarian Dr Jemma Postle has worked in the rural Darling Downs town of Dalby since her graduation and relishes the role, and the rural lifestyle.

“My career has reflected my passion for rural community and agriculture, in particular beef production. I purchased a 50% share in the [Knox Veterinary practice] in 2007 and then purchased the entire practice in 2017. During my time as practice owner, the practice has grown from a team of three vets to now nine vets with over 25 staff,” explained Dr Postle.

Broad role with lots of opportunities

Good time management and the ability to put your hand to any task are essential requirements of the job, a role which Dr Postle ably juggles whilst raising a young family.

“My role is very broad! I support and lead the veterinary team. I’m a ‘Jack of all trades’ and fill in where needed to support my team - it’s a matter of balancing my time between being available to support my team and practicing as a passionate vet. I am also a wife and mum to two small and gorgeous kids!” said Dr Postle.

“I enjoy rural vet work as a result of my love for rural community. I enjoy being outside and enjoy the spectrum of work a rural mixed practice provides, and I really enjoy providing a valued service, guidance and advice to beef production clients. My future goal is to concentrate more on beef production medicine.”

Fostering a positive workplace

The team at Knox Veterinary is entirely female, and Dr Postle has fostered a caring and supportive workplace culture which has made it easier to recruit and retain veterinary staff.

“We do have an all-female team in recent years. It’s very important to our team that work is a nice place to be, and we all understand that each and every one of us is responsible for making it a great place. We have a lot of students visit our practice, with the large majority loving their time with us.”

“We encourage people to understand and accept peoples’ differences and that everyone has a bad day sometimes. Everyone is expected to be kind to each other. We celebrate each other’s achievements, and we consider our team as our family,” said Dr Postle.

AVA membership important

Working in a rural area can sometimes be isolating, being distant from colleagues and professional development, but Dr Postle has found that her involvement with the Australian Veterinary Association has provided vital mentoring opportunities and support.

“I first joined as an AVA member when I was a vet student, and I have been a proud member of the AVA ever since. I believe it’s important to be part of the association that represents and advocates for veterinarians, and I have been a president of the AVA Darling Downs and South-west branch.”

“The collegiality and networking opportunities my involvement with the AVA has provided is the greatest value to me as an individual,” explained Dr Postle.

There is more information available here about a career as a veterinarian.