I’m in Tampa today, at the American Animal Hospital Association’s annual convention. If you are there and you see me, please say hello. If you want to find out about our products and services — or just sit somewhere comfortable while your phone or tablet is plugged into our “recharging tree” (pictured below)– drop by our booth (No. 401). We have lots of good info — and great bling!
Since I will be too busy to write today, I want to take the opportunity to share a “Three questions for …” feature on another of tomorrow’s veterinarians. Today, I’m focusing on Sarah Privette, a member of the class of 2017 at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
What drew you to veterinary medicine?
I grew up in Ortonville, a rural town in southeastern Michigan. There I developed a love for animals from a very early age. I was surrounded by animals both inside and outside of our home. Growing up next to a dairy farm, I clearly remember going out with my dogs to chase the cows out of our yard when there was a break in the fence!
As I got older, the only thing that I felt more passionate about than animals was the joy and satisfaction I felt in learning new things, particularly biology and physiology. For me, veterinary medicine brings together my two passions: animals and learning.
Do you think new veterinarians will face different challenges than in previous generations and if so, what are you doing now to meet those challenges?
The veterinary profession has and will continue to change in the coming years, and new graduates will need to be prepared to meet these changes.
As the pace of life quickens and direct social interaction is replaced by interaction through social media, I believe that pets play a greater role in our lives than ever before. The bond between humans and animals can be incredibly strong and greatly enhance quality of life. Animals are now used therapeutically for anxiety, physical disabilities and limitations, and more. This presents an interesting challenge for veterinarians who are charged with balancing optimal patient care with client finances.
Another challenge for today’s veterinary graduates is student debt. The cost of veterinary school continues to increase, and that presents difficult financial obligations for young professionals. To help prepare myself for these challenges, I participate in the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA), where I have the opportunity to learn about successful client communications, balancing budgets, and veterinary practice ownership and management. Additionally, I am enrolled in a business ownership selective course at MSU CVM where I have the opportunity to talk with practicing veterinarians about the changes they have seen during their careers and the changes they foresee in the future.
Looking to the future, I believe honest and upfront communication between members of the veterinary profession and our clients regarding roles, responsibilities and costs of animal care will be important to society and to those practicing veterinary medicine.
Can you tell us one thing about you that would surprise your future veterinary colleagues?
Most of my peers don’t know that I have a huge interest in veterinary nutrition. I enjoy learning about how different macromolecules, vitamins, and antioxidants impact the body. I am particularly interested in considering how manipulations to the diet can potentially bring about therapeutic health changes.
I personally experienced the impact of nutritional changes with my recently adopted cat, who was overweight, shy, and lethargic. After consultations with board-certified nutritionists and reviewing journal articles and data from major food companies I adopted a diet for her that has resulted in a dramatic turnaround in her demeanor and body condition.
Thanks, Sarah! Looking forward to seeing you at the veterinary conferences some day!