I was born/grew up in: Quispamsis, New Brunswick
I now live in: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Science, Major in Marine Biology at the University of New Brunswick Saint John
Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Aquaculture, Fisheries and Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Atlantic Veterinary College (Class of 2022)
What I do at work
I work as a receptionist at the veterinary teaching hospital at my college. This makes me the first line of communication for clients who call with animal emergencies or if they are looking for advice. It is my responsibility to gather the important information such as the symptoms, how long it has been occurring, etc. Then I pass this information to our emergency staff (veterinarians and technicians). This is known as “triage” (i.e. the patients with the most serious issues are seen first).
With two years of training in the field thus far, I know the types of questions to ask while I am triaging patients over the phone. I can then use the data to deduce possible causes for why the animal is in its current condition. This said, as a student and receptionist I am not able to provide full medical advice to clients. As a result, I am in contact with our emergency staff to try to determine the best course of action and whether the patient needs to be seen immediately.
This job does not require an extensive background knowledge in the veterinary medicine field. However, I find it has added great value to my current education as well to the effectiveness of the team overall. I am learning about these cases first hand while gathering patient history as well as current clinical signs and symptoms. Both of these topics are important parts of a physical exam and will aid in my competencies as a future veterinarian. Understanding the science behind the health conditions allows me to gain a more targeted understanding for the medical presentations and cases I am dealing with.
I am a person who has always enjoyed being involved and loves networking. In this job, I have gained more confidence in my ability to speak to clients especially during times of distress and fear. I also find it has carried over to my communication with members of our emergency team as well. Professionalism is very important in this field. Gaining the communication skills to perform as a vet halfway through my education is very valuable. It will likely pay off in the long term as well as the short term when I am conducting practical rotations with the same staff during my final year.
My career path is
I feel fortunate to have always been certain of my passion for animals and desire to become a veterinarian. This led me to apply for work and volunteer positions that I enjoyed. This also helped diversify my experience portion of my vet school application (e.g., zookeeper, aquarium interpreter, fish health technician, kennel attendant, etc.). It took 3 times applying, 2 interviews and 1 time on the waitlist, before I was accepted into vet school. I had begun planning my Plan B in the case that I was not accepted. This led me to explore aquaculture. As I look back now, I was happy to be waitlisted since my diploma added phenomenal value to not only my career path but also to my life. Take home: try everything and stay open-minded. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make a plan B and even plan C. Work hard and stay focused.
I am motivated by
As a future veterinarian, this position has provided me with an additional aspect of training that I wouldn’t otherwise receive at this point in my degree. This has made my current courses that much more practical and relevant. I have learned how to communicate professionally with clients and how to gather a history on their animal as well as current clinical signs. These are important parts in a physical exam of a patient. Therefore, I find it rewarding and exciting to be gaining this experience at this point.
Growing up I really enjoyed watching CSI and other forensic TV shows. I liked that they engaged in problem solving and would discover how to make the pieces of the puzzle fit. Similarly, veterinary medicine includes diagnostics and sometimes even forensic analysis. All of which fuels my internal fire of passion for this career! I have always enjoyed being in leadership positions. Leadership is important in this career in addition to the extensive teamwork that is required. Networking, communication, problem solving and animals…what more could I ever want in a career!
How I affect peoples’ lives
As the first person of contact for clients that are in distress, I have found great value in providing them with a sense of relief and comfort while gathering information that will best serve their animal. Contributing to bettering the health and welfare of our patients is fulfilling and gratifying. This is exactly why I went into this field and what motivated me to apply for this position.
Outside of work I
I love going on adventures, whether that be hiking or driving to newly explored areas. I’m into photography (@thevisualvet) so I often bring my Canon along. You can check me out on Facebook or Instagram. I really enjoy reading fiction novels especially with a nice cup of coffee. I am very social so I like planning get-togethers with friends!
My advice to others
Diversify your animal experience. Not only because it may look good on a résumé but also for the value it adds to your education down the road. Network and get involved in extracurricular activities. While grades get you an interview, it is your life experiences that will add promising value to your career regardless of which path you take.
- Literature and English language arts
- Brought people together
- Liked helping people
- Organized activities for my friends
- Was motivated by success
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Liked reading
- Always threw the best parties
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Always knew exactly what I wanted to do