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.
Dr. Brandon Thornberry chose the third of these four students, Haleigh Skinner of the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Will you please share something unexpected you discovered on your pathto veterinary medicine?
Like many aspiring veterinarians, I began my journey with the perception that all veterinarians work in private practice treating horses, small animals, or food animals. During my two years of veterinary school my eyes have been opened to the sheer number of career opportunities that exist for veterinarians in industry, government, and research. There truly is a place for every personality, skill set, and lifestyle in veterinary medicine and I think that is tremendous asset to our profession. I have experienced many different parts of veterinary medicine and plan to work in small animal practice with the possibility of later specializing in clinical pathology or pursuing research.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
The veterinary field is constantly evolving and improving in many different ways. Specialties and corporations are on the rise, as is pet ownership. People are willing to spend more money on their pets and more importantly veterinarians are finally demanding the respect and compensation that they deserve. Compassion fatigue and high suicide rates are big concerns for our profession. However, the newer generations of veterinarians are aware of the stress that this career brings and are still courageously optimistic about the future of veterinary medicine. The days of 80-hour work weeks, discounting fees, and being taken for granted are in the past, and in its place are payment plans as well as pet health insurance. This is a future I am proud to be part of. I will strive to be the best doctor I can be, while maintaining a work-life balance that fits my unique needs, and I implore my colleagues to do the same.
Would you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
I have an identical twin sister who is also a member of the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2022. It is our goal to one day own a small animal practice together.
Outside of a career in veterinary medicine, I am also passionate about traveling. My sister and I took a gap year before starting veterinary school and spent three months traveling to eleven different countries! Some of my favorite highlights were hiking the Golden Circle in Iceland, eating paella in Barcelona, island-hopping in Greece, and listening to an opera in Vienna. I hope to continue traveling throughout my career and possibly volunteer my services abroad.
Thank you, Haleigh and Dr. Thornberry!