I just returned from the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas that offered 4 consecutive full days of veterinary continuing education. Continuing education is the ongoing course work that veterinarians must complete yearly in order to keep their professional veterinary state licenses current. Every state has their own requirements regarding the number of hours necessary to keep licenses active. The great part of the continuing education requirement, however, is that veterinarians generally love this aspect of being practicing veterinarians.
As veterinary students, we are inspired by learning veterinary medicine and surgery from its most basic components to its most complex, progressing into clinical training and along the journey feeling ourselves gradually transforming into doctors of veterinary medicine. The prize at the end is achieving our dream of seeing to the health needs of animals and making a meaningful difference in the families that love them. While veterinary school clearly does not come without varying degrees of stress, it is among the greatest experiences of most of our lives.
As we ease into the actual career of veterinary medicine and become increasingly busy with cases, it really is quite remarkable how quickly our dream starts to morph into a job. Stress of difficult cases, unhappy clients, negative interactions with staff, and student loan payments over time take their toll emotionally. This meme below sums it all up very well:
One of the most exciting aspects of the veterinary profession, however, is that it is always changing for the better with new treatments, equipment, and diagnostics that make our ability to treat disease and injury increasingly efficient and effective over time. The the pinnacle of veterinary continuing education, the veterinary conference, provides a venue of several days of course work and exhibit halls to absorb new information and research and see the latest and greatest equipment available. Veterinary conferences also take place in enjoyable venues like Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and even overseas, enabling a bit a fun in the evenings.
Being in the same place with thousands of other veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary industry professionals is also inspiring and reinvigorating. With the inevitable networking that occurs, we are reminded that we generally all share the same moments of elation and triumphs, frustrations and grief. It establishes a greater empathy for one another and helps us to see other veterinary clinics in our area less as competition and more as fellow professionals engaged in the common goal of helping animals and the people that love them.
Thus I always return from conference re-energized, grateful that I get to be a veterinarian, and ready to do what I got into the veterinary profession to do: save the world one pet at a time!
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.