It’s no secret that science and medicine are very competitive industries. Veterinary schools have an acceptance rate of 10-20%, and it seems to get lower each year. If you aren’t aware of how you compare to other students, don’t worry! Many veterinary schools statistics so you can see how you compare among your peers. The environment is ripe for competition, and this pressure has led to an overall decrease in well-being for students and veterinarians. Feelings of imposter syndrome, inadequacy, and inability to measure up are common among students. However, competition is undoubtedly a double-edged sword, and there are certainly times when it can engender success. Historically, competition has been viewed as a great driver of advancements and forward progress. However, there are many environments where success is dependent on the collaborative efforts of many. Charles Darwin explained, “It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” Personally, I have seen great value when individuals come together to learn in the classroom, effectively treat in the clinic, and to better animal health worldwide.
Currently there are many initiatives to increase inclusivity and diversity in the classroom. Veterinary medicine has historically been a predominantly narrow demographic. Bringing in students of more varied backgrounds allows for all students to learn from one another and widen our level of understanding. While I may not inherently know the challenges that come from someone of a different background, learning side-by-side I can gain new perspective. This can help me see problems in a different light which is not only insightful while studying in the classroom, but is especially important in veterinary medicine as we undoubtedly serve a diverse clientele.
My hope is that these experiences will allow me to remain open-minded to uphold a workplace standard of acceptance. As a student, I feel the most supported in clinics where there is a safe learning environment. I’ve seen this resonates with the entire team. There’s nothing like seeing a clinic team working together like a well-oiled machine when the clinic is busy. In these times when there is a lot of stressors, having your team to depend on is vital. I witnessed this recently during an externship when two wounded dogs from a recent fight came into the clinic. There was only one surgical suite, so only one patient could be operated on at a time. In addition, we had only one vet on site, so every member of the team had to work together to monitor and care for each patient. It was clear to me that the collaboration of the team and willingness to work together despite stressful circumstances led to two positive patient outcomes.
While at Zomedica, I have seen the impact of collaborative efforts that cultivate partnerships with the veterinary community. By providing a place for veterinary professionals to connect through the Voice of the Vet™, Zomedica is bringing together unique perspectives to shape the future of veterinary medicine and diagnostics.