Three questions for … Tennessee’s Zachary Ragland

The academic year is almost over for our colleges and schools of veterinary medicine, and I’m still catching up with our veterinary student profiles! Time flies, doesn’t it? Today, my interview is with Zachary Ragland of the University of Tennesee’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Will you share something unexpected you learned on your path to veterinary medicine?

I realized veterinary medicine is a team sport. Before I entered veterinary school I had this illusion that veterinarians had to know everything and never worked together outside of their own clinics. Since coming to school and asking more questions of doctors I have worked with in the past I realized how incorrect I was. Doctors are always consulting each other, reaching out to specialists asking for advice, and referring patients when something is beyond their capabilities. It is nice to know that everyone in this profession wants to see everyone else succeed and is willing to help when they are able. It amazes me listening to the flow of ideas between clinicians and students how much we work together for the best interest of our patients and clients.

zach3What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?

My vision of veterinary medicine is one where we embrace the technology around us. The saying “there’s an app for that” holds true even in our industry. I believe technology will be a better way for us to  reach our clients and provide high quality medicine at the same time. We have access today to information at the tips of our finger, and so do our clients. We need to ensure that as technology advances we embrace the change and help guide it so that clients have access to high quality information that is correct. I am preparing for this by simply keeping an open mind and asking questions when presented with new information. Just because something is new does not mean it is good or bad; it just means it hasn’t been evaluated as much as the things we are used to.

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

I spent a semester in Fairbanks, Alaska, as an undergrad. While there I attended a backwoods first aid certificate weekend. The focus of the course was on how to stabilize someone and keep them alive long enough to get them out or get help in. Our final test before we could pass was to properly clean and bandage a wound in -30 degree weather outside. I’m from Tennessee; I didn’t even know negative temperatures existed until I went up there. While I doubt the temperature extremes will happen back home, I can safely say that I am certified to render first aid in the backwoods.

Thanks, Zachary!