Every year the veterinary students I meet impress me, and give me hope for a bright future for our profession. Our featured student from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Briana Neuzil (2019,) continues this trend. Briana was chosen by Nationwide Field Veterinarian Dr. Kristi Yee on her recent visit to speak to veterinary students.
Will you please share something unexpected you discovered or learned on your path to veterinary medicine?
When most people hear the word veterinarian, they think of their local veterinarian who treats the dogs, cats, horses, cows, goats, etc., of the people and families in the community.
While general practitioners serving local people and animals play a crucial role in veterinary medicine, they are only a percentage of all the veterinarians out there. The field of veterinary medicine is extraordinarily extensive, and the various career opportunities available are endless! Veterinarians are employed through many diverse professions, including the federal government, U.S. military, academic and research institutions, public health services, private practice, and shelter outreach programs, just to name a few.
I was not aware of the true depth of possibilities prior to entering veterinary school. After gaining exposure to the numerous jobs and titles held by veterinarians throughout veterinary school thus far, I am incredibly grateful to be a part of a profession that is so expansive in its efforts to help both animals and people.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
I am happy to say my vision for the future of veterinary medicine is optimistic and encouraging. Through my experiences in school, employment, and extracurricular involvement, I have noticed two trends I believe are important to the betterment of the veterinary profession.
The first is the desire to provide optimal care for their animals. Whether it be a family pet or a large herd of commercial production animals, people not only acknowledge the importance of providing high quality veterinary care, but are willing and wanting to provide the best care for their animals. In addition, pet health insurance has been improved and is becoming more utilized in veterinary medicine, allowing clients to provide high standard veterinary care that otherwise might not be able to.
The second trend is the emphasis and focus aimed at quality of life for veterinarians. Veterinarians are instinctively caring and selfless people. Clients and patients will always come first. That being said, it is no secret that although the veterinary profession can be extremely rewarding and internally gratifying, there is an unfortunately high depression and suicide rate among veterinarians. The large student loan debt, long hours, and emotional demands associated with the profession can lead to an unsatisfactory quality of life. It is so uplifting to see the unified movement within the profession striving to provide the utmost standard of care to our patients while still protecting the quality of life of the veterinarian.
I aim to exemplify these trends in my practices as a veterinary student and in the future as a veterinarian to ensure our profession continues on the track to becoming better than it has ever been before!
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
I am an avid road cyclist! I have always had a competitive nature and road cycling allows me to combine my competitive drive, passion for fitness, and love of the outdoors all into one.
Cycling is also very important to me as it is something my family and I do together. My dad is the one who got me into cycling by giving me my first road bike, and I have been hooked ever since! Every year, my family and I participate in RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) which involves biking the span of Iowa from west to east in one week. This is the highlight of my year and I would love to get more involved in competitive bike racing once I finish school and have a little more free time (hopefully)!