Three questions for … Tennessee’s Brian Gleaves

Brian Gleaves

Before the pandemic closed all our universities, our Nationwide field veterinarians were busy as usual lecturing at schools and colleges of veterinary medicine. Now our team — like so many others — has gone to virtual visits and webinars.

But before everything changed, we had four student features in the pipeline. We don’t want to cheat those wonderful future veterinarians out of their turn in the Nationwide spotlight, so we’ve decided to go forward with them, even though there’s no mention of the current situation.

After these four students, our “Three Questions” will be changing.

First up: Brian Gleaves from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. He was chosen by field veterinarian Dr. Tonya Sparks.

Will you please share something unexpected you discovered on your path to veterinary medicine?

I have been blown away by the amount of innovation and entrepreneurship that is happening in the veterinary world right now, by veterinarians.

I have been heavily involved in the Veterinary Business Management Association since starting veterinary school and also went through the Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy last summer. Through both, I have met many veterinarians who are thinking outside of the box to improve the way we will practice veterinary medicine in the future.

Brian Gleaves, student at the university of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, with a golden retriever friendWhat is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?

In the past, it seems as if veterinary hospitals tried to be all things to all people because the reality was that in a lot of cases, they were their clients’ only option. As the veterinary medicine industry grows and corporate consolidation takes over a large portion of the “normal” hospitals, I think a door is opening for veterinarians with special interests to find and practice in niche markets. Opening up options for veterinarians to practice in ways that make them feel the most fulfilled. I think of companies like Fuzzy that provide in-home care using a subscription-based model. Who would have thought that you could buy a subscription for your veterinarian?!?! I also think of practices that host “Doga” (dog yoga) classes where people can bring their dogs and do yoga together. That sounds crazy to me, but there’s a market for that kind of thing in veterinary medicine now. I hope that as veterinarians have more options of ways to practice, that our profession as a whole will experience less burnout.

I am keeping an open mind about what the “practice of the future” will look like, because who knows how clinical practice will change and what options will become available with how rapidly technology is advancing. I think that more so now than ever, it is important to keep up to date with technology changes that will affect the way we will practice. I also think that the future of veterinary medicine will require veterinarians to develop better relational skills, because the human-to-human interaction is something that technology can’t replace. I am excited and curious about the future!

Would you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?

I refuse to let veterinary school prevent me from having fun and living life. I love snowboarding, but here in Tennessee snow is a rare occurrence. Last year North Carolina got eight inches of snow the day before my anatomy exam, so I had a choice to make. I couldn’t pass up the fresh powder, so my roommate and I hopped in the car to drive over to the mountains.

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Thank you, Brian and Dr. Sparks!