Helping Animals for Life: A Veterinarian Alumna
What is your job title and description?
My job title is associate veterinarian. I practice general small animal medicine and surgery. Additionally, I use my skills in business to help my practice owner run the practice. I have a minor in business from Pacific that I knew would be helpful no matter where I ended up.
When did you decide that you wanted to go on to earn a doctoral degree in Veterinarian Medicine?
I feel I have always known that I wanted to practice veterinary medicine. Growing up I remember cleaning wounds on our family cats. I found it easy to take responsibility for the care of the dogs, cats, a rabbit and other assorted pets that came and went throughout my childhood. When I was in middle school, I attended a conference called, AWSME, Advocates for Women in Science Mathematics and Engineering. While I was at this conference, I received a book with camps related to various careers. I immediately looked through the book for a camp in veterinary medicine. I found only one listed. At that time, I made up my mind that I would attend that camp. In high school, I looked for opportunities to learn more about veterinary medicine. I took a job shadow class where I shadowed large and small animal doctors. I ended up working for the small animal veterinarian that I shadowed. I attended the veterinary camp at Tuft's University in the summer when I was seventeen. I knew going into college at Pacific that my end goal was applying to veterinary school. I felt well prepared for what I needed to do to be an exceptional candidate for acceptance to veterinary school.
Would you say that earning your BS degree in Biology sufficiently prepared you for graduate school?
Yes, my Biology degree definitely provided me with the scientific thinking, challenging courses, and problem solving necessary for veterinary school. I am not sure that there is a good way to prepare for the eight hour class days and the volume of material in veterinary school.
What did you do to make yourself a good candidate to be accepted into veterinary school?
I knew in high school what course requirements were expected of me while I was earning my undergraduate degree. I took all of the required prerequisite courses at Pacific for veterinary school, as well as animal nutrition long distance from Oklahoma State. I had a wonderful Pacific professor, Lisa Sardina, who agreed to proctor my exams for animal nutrition. I participated in many extracurricular activities that showed I did more than study. I had an incredibly supportive degree adviser at Pacific, Pam Lopez. I found a local veterinarian in Forest Grove who allowed me to shadow him and help at his practice. Through Dr. Sid's staff at Pacific Ave. Veterinary Hospital, I found an equine veterinarian that I shadowed, too. Both of these experiences showed me what to expect and gave me hours of experience in veterinary medicine.
What was your experience in veterinary school?
I struggled while I was in veterinary school. I never truly mastered how to study the incredible volume of material. I constantly think of the information presented in veterinary school and trying to assimilate it with standing under a waterfall catching the leaves of information as they rush past my outstretched hands.
Did you take advantage of any helpful resources (resume-building assistance, mock-interviews, internships, etc.) that helped you get to where you are now?
I did a mock interview at the career development center. I felt well-prepared and was ready for an interview for veterinary school. I was offered acceptance without being interviewed. I remember the questions from the mock interview and probably utilized how to answer them when I interviewed for my first job as a veterinarian. I know that I draw on similar questions when I help interview potential support staff.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
All of the learning opportunities are what I enjoy most. My [animal] patients, my staff, my boss, my clients are all constantly teaching me something new. I like having the skills to be so many things in one -- a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a pharmacist, a dentist, an internal medicine doctor, and more!
What are the main challenges you face in your job?
People management is one of the biggest challenges I face. This includes my clients/pet owners, my staff, and my boss. I cannot treat my [animal] patients the way that I want to without having their owners say yes to my treatment plan. I cannot be efficient with my time without relying on my staff to answer phones, fill prescriptions, monitor anesthetized patients, and administer treatments. Office culture in any business is dictated by the leadership. I can make suggestions to my boss, but ultimately he chooses the office culture.
Do you have any specific career goals or plans for the future?
I am currently working on a certificate in veterinary acupuncture. This includes small animals as well as horses. Acupuncture feels like a way to help all animals, including human animals, and to heal in a way where traditional medicine falls short.