Three questions for … Minnesota’s Amanda Mickelson

Amanda Mickelson and dog

We’re heading into the last couple weeks of 2019! We still have some veterinary students to feature, and today, we have Amanda Mickelson, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Class 2021. She was chosen by Nationwide field veterinarian Dr. Kristi Yee.

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

Growing up on a farm, I was acutely aware of how much I loved animals and how strong the human-animal bond could be. As I began my path into veterinary medicine, I knew that my passion would lie with individualized medicine. In my mind this was restricted to cats and dogs. As I have ventured down this path, I have discovered my continued love for farm animals and the need to support the “urban farm.”

In Minneapolis and Saint Paul it is legal to keep backyard chickens and bees and, in many cities — including Saint Paul — it is legal to own goats! These urban farms typically fall outside the species practice of the nearby small animal providers and out of the geographical and production side of the large animal practices.

I also truly enjoy working with these animals and have actively incorporated them into my education through involvement in the small ruminant club or spending time in New Zealand vet practices where they’ve perfected this balance. I look forward to serving these clients alongside cats and dogs soon!

Amanda Mickelson with goatsWhat is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?

With the pivotal shift in ownership structure, corporate influx and consolidation currently happening, I think there will be significant changes in the next 5-10 years in the field. For better or worse, there will likely be more consolidation, continuity of care and an increase in insurance usage. These changes combined with a declining birth rate and bounding increases in pet spending provide tremendous opportunity for the entire field.

With great change comes great opportunity! I believe there is space for many players in the future and more than ever, I think veterinary general practitioners are poised to play a pivotal role as a trusted healthcare provider in the family. Therefore, as I prepare for the future, my goal has been focused on learning gold-standard medical practices alongside veterinary business operations, client development, and leadership.

As the president of the University of Minnesota chapter of the VBMA, I have also been fortunate to share this passion and focus with classmates to help keep practice ownership and leadership elevated and support the entrepreneurship spirit of veterinary medicine!

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

One thing that might surprise others is I am a second career veterinary student. I graduated with a degree in business from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and spent the first nine years of my career at Target Corporation in six different roles. Most of that time was spent leading strategic planning and operations for the 84 Target healthcare clinics.

Our healthcare division was then bought by CVS MinuteClinic, and as I evaluated my next career move all I could think was, “I just want to be a veterinarian.” I have the classic story of wanting to be a veterinarian since I was young; however, due to being on my own at the age of 16, I couldn’t afford vet school or the eight years it would take to get there and had to take an alternative approach.

Target taught me an amazing amount about business and team leadership, and I am excited to bring this experience to my future veterinary career! Being intimately involved in the VBMA has also been a great bridge in connecting these two careers and has allowed me moments of expertise in the forest of uncertainty that is vet school.

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That was a surprising read, no? Congratulations, Amanda, on finding your way, and thank you, Dr. Yee!