Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine‘s Whitney Patz is our latest featured veterinary student. She was chosen by Nationwide Field Veterinarian Dr. Tonya Sparks during a recent visit to the campus.
Will you share something unexpected you discovered or learned on your path to veterinary medicine?
I was surprised to learn about all the opportunities available to new veterinarians. Prior to beginning veterinary school, I was told by several veterinarians and support staff about how few jobs there are in our field, and how oversaturated the field is in general.
While this may be true in some towns or areas, it is certainly not the case across the country. Additionally, there are so many different career paths someone in the veterinary field can pursue. It is very exciting to learn about all the opportunities, and I think it is important for anyone pursuing this career to know about.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine, and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
I would love to see more of an inclusive and team-based veterinary field. I think the push to make wellness a priority for veterinarians and students is helping to move closer to this goal. In school, it can be difficult for students to initially move away from the competition mentality when it comes to studying and helping each other. For most people, much of their schooling has consisted of being at the top of the class and looking the best on paper to move towards their goal.
Now that we are in veterinary school, we can shift the focus from self-preservation, and instead adjust to the mentality of helping one another. The same can be said for practicing veterinarians. If we can check on one another, and support each other more, then maybe a difference can be made for those who need it the most.
I think this influences me in my day-to-day life because I have to consider that we all have different challenges. These challenges affect how we handle any situation we are put into. While one person’s decision may not be the same as mine, it is important to know that they have a reason for making that decision and judgement is not helpful.
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
I was the Affiliate Coordinator for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network — Charlotte Affiliate. Our team re-started the affiliate, after it had been dormant for years. During my time in this position, I was fortunate to help plan and host the first big events, PurpleLight and PurpleStride, in the Charlotte area. Additionally, I represented North Carolina in Washington D.C. for Advocacy Day. This was a time for constituents to talk to their state representatives and senators about lobbying for The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act (which was passed in 2012).