I wrote this post a few weeks ago but I wasn’t able to find the time to finish and get it online. It’s still relevant, especially as I am planning on going to another conference in just a few weeks. This time I’ll be learning instead of teaching.
From October 1st:
Supporting the Veterinary Community
I’m a little nervous because this weekend I’m going to speak to a whole bunch of undergraduate students – it’s a pre-health conference at UC Davis. I haven’t ever done this type of talk before. UC Davis is hosting a very large group of speakers to talk about the various health careers. Check out the exotics speakers they have at their blog: http://ucdprehealthvet.weebly.com/avianexotic
But I’m going there because I feel it’s important to give back.
Giving back, in this instance, is trying to help undergraduates make the right decision about their future. I hope that I can share what it is really like to be a veterinarian who works with these fun and difficult creatures…the exotics. More commonly I, and my associate, like to provide support by hosting veterinary students. It’s really important to provide real world experience and to give them a chance to get a good idea of what private practice is all about. Providing personal mentorship, even for just a few weeks, is an invaluable opportunity for these proto-vets.
It’s also very important to support our support staff – veterinary technicians. Many students have had rotations at our hospital that have hopefully taught them skills not available in school.
Other ways that vets help each other out is by lecturing at conferences and small meetings or by teaching classes to tech students or vet students. I found it both fun and nerve wracking to get up in front of peers and colleagues every time I have done it. I am amazed at veterinarians in private practice who are able to do research or publish papers – how do they find the time!
The flip side is being the individual on the receiving end. I am immensely grateful to my professors and private clinicians who took me under their wings. They gave me insight into things that aren’t taught in school such as how to talk to clients or discussing difficult cases.
Of course we go to conferences. Besides the fact that continuing education is a requirement, conferences are how we all try to stay on top of changing information. New treatments, new tests and sometimes results that tell us “whoops, that doesn’t work”. In the exotics field we have to work to stay on top of what’s out there. Networking with colleagues is a great way to talk with veterinarians who think differently.
I’m looking forward to an upcoming conference for specialists – the ABVP (or American Board of Veterinary Practitioners). Of course I’ll be spending most of my time in talks about birds, rabbits, rodents and reptiles but outside of those talks I’ll be rubbing elbows with all sorts of specialists. The ABVP covers species specialists including cats, dogs, horses, pigs, cows…they have 11 different categories.
I don’t really know how much I’ll learn by talking to a dairy specialist at lunch – who knows? It is always worthwhile to spend time with the veterinarians who have worked hard to gain as much expertise as they can in their field. Here’s an older post on what all those veterinary degrees mean.
I can’t wait to bring some nugget back to Bay Area Bird Hospital and use it!