My mother taught me many clichés growing up, one of them was “practice makes perfect.” I have applied this rule to many aspects of my life, and have passed down this belief to my daughter. In most cases this saying holds true, however, when it comes to being a doctor I feel that I will always be striving to be better, learn more and improve my skills. That’s why I think the saying; “Practicing Medicine” holds true. As a doctor, I will continuously be challenged to improve, and that’s one of the many reasons I love my profession.
This year marks 25 years since I graduated from vet school, so I guess I’m feeling nostalgic. I loved vet school, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, but the environment of learning and camaraderie with classmates was an amazing experience. I still clearly remember many firsts in my career. My first surgeries and the feeling of complete responsibility for my patient’s well being. To this day I am still in awe of the surgical procedures I perform and how I can affect my patients’ quality of life. I remember the first dog I had to put to sleep, and that service remains one of the most difficult but important procedures I do for my clients and patients. I remember the first emergency case I had to do on my own. This was when I carried a pager and I had to treat the patients by myself after hours.
So many things have changed since I graduated from vet school. For instance, vaccine protocols, advancement in the level of diagnostics available at general practices (ultrasound, endoscopes, digital radiographs), the priority on preventative medicine/wellness and the importance placed dental care to name a few. One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of the human-animal bond. Let’s face it; if people didn’t love their pets, my career pathway would have been completely different. I love to see the connection between people and their pets; it is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
Although I’ll always be “practicing to be perfect”, I’m at a place in my career where I feel I can give back to my profession and the community. It is great living in the community where I work; I am very lucky to have wonderful clients and co-workers. I enjoy being a part of the Farmer’s Market and am looking forward to the 2013 season. I am excited to participate in Tahoma High School’s Get Real Day to discuss veterinary career opportunities with the students. I also enjoy hosting high school students when they come to observe for a day. I think mentoring veterinary students and new graduates is my obligation, remembering the challenges I faced as a student and new practitioner.
I’m excited to continue this journey enjoying the time I spend with clients, co-workers, and patients.
Look for me at the farmer’s market and other events. If you’d like to have me present to a group, have any questions or have ideas for an article, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, another local vet, Dr. Steve Latimer, was my classmate, so congratulations to him for 25 years of successful practice.