Normal? No Way! Dream to RVT+
At 3 years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a veterinarian. I took in all the injured animals found in the neighborhood, fought for many lives, and wept, too.
I started my official medical career in human medicine with the US Army. After 6 years, I moved to an area with a nearby veterinary reserve unit. I still had a huge interest in veterinary medicine, so I went to the unit and asked if I could join! As luck would have it, they had a critical shortage of food inspectors. They took me in and sent me to food inspector school. I was hooked from the first day. Working with animals was what I was meant to do…but although I found food inspection fascinating, I didn’t get to work directly with the animals much. In my civilian life, I still took in injured animals, and I started working for a veterinary clinic.
Time went by and I attended as many veterinary medical continuing education opportunities as I could. I had to learn everything. Pharmacology fascinated me, anesthesia compelled me, dermatology and dentistry were extremely satisfying to treat (no one needs to tell you you’ve done a great job!), and emergency and critical care gave me an adrenaline high. My passion for veterinary medicine led me to become an RVT. Had my educational opportunities and other responsibilities been different, I likely would have pursued a doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Instead, I became the best veterinary technician I could be, always reaching for more knowledge.
I dabbled briefly in research at a veterinary facility that performed preclinical human and veterinary trials for new devices and drugs. I founded a 501(c3) horse rescue and began to expand my knowledge of equine medicine, a process that continues to this day. While working at a very large specialty hospital, I was privileged to gain more experience in internal medicine, radiation oncology, nuclear medicine, surgery, emergency and critical care, and dermatology. The number of incredibly brilliant people at this facility blew my mind and spurred me to educate myself even more. I really found technician Nirvana when I started to teach veterinary technician students at a private college. This was the greatest achievement of my career. I was able to assist others to realize the passion I have for veterinary medicine.
My passion for learning has led me to get a master’s degree and landed me my current position in biotech, where I am working with some of the best minds in innovative regenerative veterinary medicine. Some of my coworkers have graduated from MIT; some have come from around the globe. We consult with the best human regenerative medicine minds in the world. As the clinical development division manager, I work with the most unusual cases and new technology. I speak with veterinarians on a level I didn’t think achievable when I was a new technician, and I am in the most cutting-edge phase of my career!
As I write this, I think my take-home message for each and every veterinary colleague is to look within. Find the tiny spark that got you to try veterinary medicine…find it, feed it, nurture it, and then let it go. See where it takes you. Follow it down the roads and byways as it meanders through the different aspects of our profession. You will go on the journey of a lifetime…if you follow the spark! ◼
What Moves You?
For its 2016 Conference, the NAVC asked veterinary professionals to share their stories: What drives you? What inspires you? What moves you? Throughout the year, Today’s Veterinary Nurse will be publishing veterinary technicians’ answers to these questions.
What moves you? Do you have a story you’d like to share? Send it to us at [email protected]. Submissions should be approximately 500 words or less and may be posted on our website or edited for publication in the journal.
Tell us your story!