We hear this all the time, right? In fact, they should reiterate this more during 1st year veterinary school orientation.
Well, here's an example of why it's so important that you:
A) Place nicely with others
B) Don't date or hook up with your colleagues
C) Don't burn bridges
D) Realize just how small the veterinary world is.
The VETgirl team was exhibiting at NY VET in New York City last November. We had hundreds of people visit us at our booth. Old colleagues, classmates, internmates, residentmates and even former mentors and faculty stopping by! Not only was it an amazing time to reconnect with old friends, but it was a great opportunity to introduce people to our online veterinary continuing education services. We're proud that only after 5 years, we're the #1 online CE platform with clinically relevant, practical CE in the form of podcasts, videos, real-life rounds and blogs.
At any rate, during the conference, I was doing my spiel to hundreds of people "Have you heard of VETgirl?" "We're more than just Facebook - we're a subscription-based online veterinary continuing education platform, blah, blah, blah." Well, as I was doing it to this one veterinarian, she stopped me mid-spiel and said "Did you used to work at Cranbury Animal Hospital?" My heart stopped. I had flashbacks of my first-ever-veterinary-volunteer-job during undergraduate! I was trying to gain hands-on experience to get into veterinary school between my freshman and sophomore years - this was in 1991, man! (Some of you guys weren't even born yet, yo). I replied "You mean with Dr. Johnson?" Quickly, I remembered her being one of the associate veterinarians (in truth, my favorite veterinarian to work with at this hospital). I wasn't even paid well for this job (shock.). I rode my dirt bike down the highway to get to this job by 7 am every morning, so I could get paid from 7-9AM to clean kennels. I then volunteered until 1-2 pm unpaid to gain experience. And it worked! I got into vet school, and that job taught me a lot... that I still remember to this day.
While Dr. D. may not remember all that she taught me, I still recall learning so much from her. Her gentle spirit. Her compassion for animals. Her treating the technicians well. Her ability to measure ocular pressures with those antiquated glaucoma scales - see below. (If you complain about your fancy tonopen, try using one of these, man).
I remember chatting with her about how long an additional four years of veterinary school would go (She said it would fly by). I remember her standing up to the boss and not doing ear croppings. I remember being bewuildered with her genius as she watched the visiting ultrasonographer interpret what was on the black and white screen. I remember restraining her own black DSHA and stating "vets pets are the most neglected" and beating herself up for missing the weight loss.
It may be 27 years later, but the impact of this veterinarian on my future, my career, my veterinary life still holds true. And to be able to randomly have her find me at an exhibitor booth as VETgirl made my year.
And that, my friends, is why we place nicely with others. Why we don't burn our bridges. Why we don't say mean things on Facebook and the internet. That we treat each one with compassion and empathy. Because the veterinary world truly is just that small.
Thanks Dr. D, for doing all that you do. I'm honored to have worked with you, and thrilled to have seen you so many decades later. #kindredspirit #respect #veterinarylife