During his fortnight with us, despite having to shove a swab up his nose every morning to ensure he posed no risk of passing on the dreaded lurgy to our staff or clients, Callum was unswervingly enthusiastic about fetching, carrying, cleaning, asking questions and learning.
As a third-year student, this was his first placement in practice and he was clearly delighted to be freed from house arrest to do some hands-on practical stuff. He was luckier than most of his cohort of students, many of whom were struggling to find veterinary practices in which to learn.
Our new practice in Thirsk has been busily recruiting new students, too. Another vet student was delighted to have received an affirmative response to her request to come and “see practice” for two weeks.
“Thank you so much,” she replied immediately. “So far, you are the first practice to even offer me any dates. I really appreciate it.” And the same was true of the student nurse who we met on Thursday.
She was desperate to continue her training at college and described the shocking plight of many young people these days: “Half the students on my course will have to abandon it, because there is nowhere for them to get a placement.”
Needless to say, we are in the process of finding her a spot. And Ed, a young vet who saw practice with me five or six years ago, has just accepted a job at our Wetherby practice. We can’t wait to follow his career development as part of our team.
There has been much talk recently of young people forming part of the so-called “snowflake generation”.
I have to admit I had to look up the meaning of this derogatory term, used by some to describe supposedly delicate and easily offended youngsters. It’s pretty offensive and not at all helpful, in my opinion.
At a time when the youngest in our society have been locked inside their bedrooms, deprived of proper development and interaction with friends, starved of access to sport and fresh air and proper education, a modern, liberal society should be doing everything it can to assist them.
Blaming them for spreading disease (and killing their grannies) surely only serves to alienate them further. It is the responsibility of those of us with age and experience to help them develop into the adults we expect them to be.
In the context of the veterinary profession, this means providing students with the opportunities they need to gather the practical experience essential to become competent clinicians and nurses.
I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon having just taken my oldest son to meet a mate so they could go mountain-biking together. It’s the first such social meeting for about six months.
But neither of them complain. They are both glad of the chance to meet a friend. They set off along the cycle paths at Sutton Bank, enjoying the view and chatting happily, planning their route.
There was a stiff north wind, but despite the cold, their laughter seemed to provide a sign that there is hope in the air and in the near future.
So, whatever some people might think or say, the only snowflakes I have seen this week were the ones fluttering from the sky above the Hambleton Hills.
The Yorkshire Vet continues in its twelfth series on Tuesday nights at 8pm on Channel 5.