In preparation for the 2020 Women's Veterinary Summit, here are three inspiring women in the veterinary field who have achieved their career goals, have high job satisfaction, and have a few tips to share.
Life in the veterinary industry can get crazy. You’re always trying to do a good job, advance your career, take care of your family, stay healthy, and balance everything in your life. Setting realistic yet challenging goals and achieving them, as well as getting inspiration from other successful women, is an essential part of making all that happen.
Let’s introduce you to some women in the veterinary field who are crushing it, so that you can take their examples and start crushing goals yourself!
Dr. Justine Lee
Dr. Justine Lee is a double board certified emergency critical care specialist and toxicologist, CEO and founder of VETgirl, a nationally renowned speaker, wife, and mother. In an interview with A Quick Cup of Knowledge, Dr. Lee emphasizes making sure you have a healthy work-life balance to live a full, satisfying life with a career that complements it.
Dr. Lee says that figuring out how to maintain a proper balance between work and other interests is essentially how the idea for VETgirl started. While studying for her boards, Dr. Lee remembers not being able to study or read an article while walking her dog or going on a run because the technology wasn’t available and the platform didn’t exist. Now, VETgirl is one of the most popular sources of online veterinary CE.
Tip #1: Let It Go
You sang it, didn’t you? To “let it go” is the advice Dr. Lee values the most because she feels that many people in the veterinary field are perfectionists, or Type A personalities who don’t want to leave the hospital or clinic until everything is done perfectly.
Dr. Lee admits to being one of those people, and says that makes being more efficient is sometimes hard to do. However, “the more efficient you can be as a vet,” she says, “the more quality life you have.” Staying hours after your shift at the hospital to dot every i and cross every t won’t give you a healthy work-home balance because you won’t get to put your kids to bed or spend that quality time with your partner.
Even if you don’t have kids, Lee makes sure to mention, it is so important to cultivate and maintain special relationships outside of work. “The sooner you learn to let go, the sooner you learn not to beat yourself up, the better your quality of life.”
If anesthesia is one of your interests, Tasha McNerny, BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (Anesthesia/Analgesia) is a great person to know. She tells us in this Quick Cup of Knowledge interview about how she was able to specialize in anesthesia/analgesia as a veterinary technician, start the extremely successful Facebook group called Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds, and run a symposium for that group while struggling with the stress and fatigue that comes with the job. Not to mention raising a little boy and planning a wedding!
Tip #2: Talk to Your Boss About Your Career
Many veterinary technicians admittedly feel like they’re being underutilized or stagnant in their career, and they want to be used more or feel more fulfilled. Having a talk with your practice owner or medical director about your career goals might be necessary in receiving the support you need to further your career and specialize in something you’re interested in.
Much of that learning you’ll be doing on your own time with things like reading books and going over case studies, but your practice can provide you with textbooks and essential CE opportunities.
Tip #3: Take a Moment to Reset
This profession is naturally difficult and draining, but there are things you can do to unwind and refocus yourself every once in a while (or more often than that—let’s be honest). While there are plenty of yoga classes and meditation podcasts out there that are wonderful, McNerny shares something that works for her—taking a few seconds to reset with a really cute patient. Even if it’s only a few seconds, take a break from the tough case you’re working on, go see an adorable patient that is doing well, and let yourself relax for a bit.
Rachel Poulin is a licensed veterinary technician with a specialty in internal medicine. She is involved in many projects and organizations, and she has a passion for personal empowerment. Setting goals to progress in your career feels amazing, and for Poulin, it took some initiative.
Tip #4: Reach Out to External Sources
In her Quick Cup of Knowledge interview, Poulin says the most important thing she did to set herself up to career growth was to reach out to people who had something she wanted. Poulin tells Dr. Marks that she would talk to conference speakers she enjoyed listening to and would ask them, “How did you get here? What did you do?” She also asked them, “What can I do? Because I want what you have.”
Putting yourself out there is intimidating at first, but know that the community wants to help raise the next generation of veterinary professionals. Most people will be approachable and appreciate your reaching out.
Her main point is that there are so many resources outside of your practice. Whether it’s at conferences, in magazines, or part of national organizations, you may have to seek out that information to accomplish your goals.
Stay in the Know!
Search for “Women’s Veterinary Summit” on our conference program website to find out more details about the Women’s Veterinary Summit happening at the 2020 Annual Conference!
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