We are finally back in school, sort of. And while our field veterinarians aren’t visiting our schools and colleges of veterinary medicine as they usually do, they’ve adjusted wonderfully to providing information to students via webinar. They’re also choosing students to feature, and today we offer the first of the new academic year: Chardonay Elliott of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University. Chardonay was chosen by our Dr. Tonya Sparks.
Will you please share something unexpected you discovered on your path to veterinary medicine?
I’ve learned that this degree is bigger than just cats and dogs. My first year of veterinary school I joined the Veterinary Business Management Assoc., where I learned how broad this profession truly is, allowing veterinarians to pursue various career options and ways of attributing to our overall goal of animal healthcare.
I now serve as president of my college’s VBMA chapter, and over the course of these past three years I’ve been able to connect with different types of veterinarians. Veterinarians can practice their clinical skills in general practice, work in laboratories assessing biopsies, build tools for diagnosing diseases, develop pharmaceuticals for such diseases, purchase and manage hospitals, and create businesses that aid in the advancement of the health and wellness of pets and the people who care for them.
The versatility of the profession has encouraged me to explore as many walks of veterinary life as I can in order for me to further develop a better understanding as to what veterinary medicine is all about. There are no limits to what can be made of a DVM!
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine,and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
My vision is to find a meaningful way to contribute to increased recognition of the importance of the human-animal bond. I aim to find a happy medium between my interest of pathology and small-animal emergency medicine. My focus on veterinary pathology is to support the research of veterinary diseases and expand the varying treatment options. My focus on emergency medicine is to be a great addition to the veterinarians who provide efficient, effective, and expedient care to our four-legged friends. My visions influence the way I matriculate throughout this program, ensuring that I am networking and promoting myself appropriately to be put in positions to receive academic, professional, and personal advancements. It is imperative to use every opportunity to acquire as much knowledge as possible to apply to my career as a veterinarian.
Looking for a silver lining, is there one positive thing you think our profession can take from the COVID-19 pandemic?
The ongoing pandemic has provided businesses the opportunity to create innovative ways to connect with their client base. One way that veterinary medicine has adjusted is through telemedicine. With social distancing, veterinarians have had to figure out how to continue providing access to care. Veterinary education is being shared through multiple streaming and social platforms in the effort of losing this new gap between veterinarians and their clients, while also extending the bridge to newcomers.
Veterinarians are essential to the One Health concept of multidisciplinary optimal health for people, animals and the environment. The future of this profession is constantly changing, and in order for businesses to stay current and successful we must reshape our perception of what veterinary medicine once was.