Three questions for … Jenna Dean, Tufts veterinary class of 2017

Sorry for the extended and unannounced break since my last blog post. I have some good stuff in the pipeline, including our quarterly update of our Nationwide® | Purdue Veterinary Price Index (including some information just on our feline patients). And some interesting work from PennVet students on the lifetime cost of owning a pet. Finally, our communications team tells me we’ll soon be unleashing my new blog in Nationwide blue. I’ve seen it, and I’m happy to say there’s a lot more I can do to support our veterinary community with its expanded features, so stay tuned.

Speaking of support, I would like to mention the work of our colleagues in Nepal in the wake of the disastrous earthquake there. World Vets is calling for financial support as they get help for the animals of Nepal, work that as we in the veterinary community know, helps not only animals but also people. It’s OneHealth, at it’s most critical. Here’s how to help.

As for the gap … the associate who helps me keep track of everything I want to write about was out of the office for a while, but happily now she has returned. She has a lot of catching up to do!

As she gets back on track,  I’m returning  to my “Three questions for …” series, today with Jenna Dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts. I know you’ll enjoy meeting her “virtually.”

What drew you to veterinary medicine?

Despite the fact that I grew up with a menagerie of animals, I never thought being a veterinarian was the right career for me. I didn’t enjoy science classes, and I had a phobia  that caused me to steer clear of anything related to medicine. In fact, if you had told me when I started college that I would be in veterinary school today, I would not have believed you!

Jenna DeanBack in 2006, I began studying economics and business at the College of Charleston. I found myself missing my animals back home, so I decided to volunteer at a local shelter. Volunteering led to fostering neonatal kittens, which led to helping out the vets at the shelter’s brand new high-volume low-cost spay and neuter clinic. I was lucky enough to work alongside two talented, compassionate veterinarians — Dr. Janet McKim and Dr. Jack Love — who were great teachers and mentors. I was hooked.

One day at the clinic, I found myself chatting with other volunteers who expressed their sadness and disappointment that they didn’t pursue careers with animals. They loved volunteering, but wished they had chosen a career path years ago where helping and treating animals was their day-to-day job. That’s when it hit me:  I didn’t want to be in that same position, full of regret,  20 years down the road! I was well aware vet school was difficult to get into, but I figured so long as I tried, I would never have to look back and wonder “what if.”

I went on to graduate from College of Charleston with my economics and business degree, and then moved home where I completed my veterinary prerequisites at George Mason. After two years of science classes (which had a new appeal after spending time in the clinic) I applied to veterinary schools and was thrilled to be offered a seat in the Class of 2017 at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

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?

Absolutely. Nowadays, finding a job in an area you desire, with a salary that enables you to pay back your extraordinary loans, is a challenge that must be met with hard work and preparation. The VBMA has enabled me to further my knowledge and understanding of veterinary business and finance, as well as to hone my business and leadership skills. I am confident this preparation will help to set me apart when the time comes to look for a job.

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

I used to be terrified of blood. That was one of the reasons I wrote off the idea of ever pursuing a career in medicine. I am happy to say that with the help of support and desensitization, it no longer bothers me one bit. By being honest with myself, identifying/voicing my anxiety and then taking the steps to get over my fear, I am proud to say that I now enjoy watching surgeries and assisting with the goriest of wound repairs. Don’t ever let your fears limit you!

1 thought on “Three questions for … Jenna Dean, Tufts veterinary class of 2017

  1. We love you Jenna! Save all the animals! We have happiness for you back in our hometown for you all the time! Come visit we make you favorite food meal!

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