Tag Archives: Noah’s Ark

2006 Vet Motivation: MU [another blast from my past]

29 Jul

Please describe the traits that you feel will make you a good veterinarian.
Over 3000 hours in veterinary hospitals, has taught me the requirements of the profession. The work can be dirty and difficult mentally, physically, and emotionally, but I am prepared to demonstrate characteristics such as an analytical competence, athleticism, and rationality I have seen in my veterinary mentors. Teaching dance classes to all ages and working with children in my community, helped me realize dealing with the public is rewarding and at times challenging. My experience with my own pets and while helping at veterinary hospitals helped me understand that not all animals can be cured, but a veterinarian is committed to the welfare of each client. I posses the quality of compassion which enables me to euthanize a failing animal. I also recognize that for veterinarians the reward is not always in the pay but the satisfaction of working with animals.

Despite what some may consider the negative aspects of veterinary medicine, I love the profession and aspire to take an active role in it as long as I am able to work. I would be personally unfulfilled if I did not spend time in a veterinary setting. My favorite time during my volunteer stint was during the fast-paced summers, when we had to have the dedication and endurance to work extended hours in order to keep up.

I played sports throughout school and enjoy the physical aspect of veterinary medicine. I respect the combination of intellect and strength required of veterinarians and I believe I am capable of displaying both traits. The challenge of catering to many different species is exciting and I plan on ultimately owning a private practice in a rural area which caters to both small animals and exotics. My goal is to meet and exceed the expectations of the veterinarians who helped me get this far in reaching my dream of becoming a veterinarian.

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Explain why you selected veterinary medicine as a career choice.

I feel most rewarded when I am involved in the field of veterinary medicine. Helping animals, educating owners, raising the level of animal care in my home town, and improving the field of veterinary medicine by providing the highest standards of medicine are very fulfilling prospects. I entered the field at an early age, volunteering 633 hours at the veterinary hospital, which cemented my aspiration of being a veterinarian. Going to the clinic often, provided me with knowledge of the career and a sense of joy. I find great satisfaction in being at vet hospitals and got my first paid position as kennel help when I was sixteen. I have been honing my skills at veterinary hospitals at most levels and still love the work, animals, and the atmosphere.

I pursued as much animal experience as possible, often taking on extra projects. I was instrumental in implementing service learning for school credit in my county. I accomplished this by creating and presenting a power point of my time at Dayton Valley Veterinary Hospital to the school board. The presentation was well received and a member of the school board made a contribution toward my college fund. In college, I did an internship at Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital and presented what I learned to freshmen in the animal science department. I like teaching my peers what small animal practice entails and feel my passion for the career shines through and motivates others to pursue the field.

One of my most unique experiences during my paid interim was assisting with various surgeries. This unique opportunity allowed me to get a feeling for what it is like to complete a case from beginning to end. It was at this time that I knew I would not waver until I became a doctor of small animal veterinary medicine with an emphasis on exotics.

Veterinary Medicine is for Spoiled Rich Girls

23 Jul

I understand this title might be unpopular.  And maybe a little strongly worded.  But even the dissenters have to acknowledge there has been a shift in the career’s image and it’s central figure–the veterinarian.  OR, you may disagree and chalk this post up to bitterness.  Which, OK maybe.  BUT despite any residual bitterness at being thrown out of my career dream before I was even allowed to really get started.  And P.S. this is based on MY observations in Missouri a.k.a. ONE state, ONE university, ONE veterinary hospital (the only one I worked at with other college students) of many.  Some facts:

The days of the 40-ish+ male anti-social with people, practical with animals farm/ranch background dude are over.  Now, mooveterinary medicine is dominated by young females with mid-size town backgrounds, a cheery people-loving social attitude, and combined brains/compassion/MONEY.  This shift has come with the popularity of pets.  Where veterinary medicine in the days of James Harriot was agriculturally based and more about business then companionship.

-Veterinary admissions perpetuates the need for $$$$$$.  A parent or backer of some kind would give a huge advantage.  The 20-somethings I worked with and the 30-somethings I encountered during my years of work really presented this.  These college kids went to school full-time (tuition fully paid by Mommy and Daddy) and worked very limited hours (for drinking money).  The parents had bought and paid for the cars, paid their housing expenses, and some even helped out with living expenses.  In short, all these students had to do was get their 4.0 and show up to their weekend shift at work.  The entering vets came in with the intention of working PART-time schedules, and each one started their families in less then 2 years employ.  Also, they acted like princesses complaining if they got shorted on their lunch time or had to work a weekend.

-Look at just the fees TO apply to vet school.  First is undergrad tuition.  Vet schools look down at community colleges, because they think the classes are easier.  So in order not to look lazy, you have to go to a (more expensive) 4 year university.  Then, you have to pay $200 and up for standardized tests.  That is not including expensive study books, tutors, or classes on HOW to excel on the standardized tests.  Some kids pay for someone to help them write their essays, or for someone to edit the essay.  Then, every vet school requires an application fee of $40 and up.  And all schools charge a transcript fee.  It all adds up quickly.

-After the straight-forward fees are more costly obligations.  In order to succeed, a veterinary candidate has to be well-big head horserounded.  As a pre-vet student and veterinary-hopeful, I heard “well rounded” over and over.  They want leadership, volunteerism, evidence of team-work, experience. . .  That experience also needs to be in a variety of fields.  It’s not good enough to have thousands of hours in small animal private practice settings.  The committee wants to make sure you also have large animal experience, research, exotic, and equine.  Proof of all this well-rounded business is on the application.  There is unlimited space for activities  in all the above-mentioned categories and more.

–>What are the financial implications of well-rounded?  Well, tell me how to be a full time student (earning the necessary 4.0 GPA, no less) getting the well-rounded ducks in a row, AND working enough hours to pay tuition, housing, car, and living expenses?  I suppose it can be done, but it’s not super-practical.

-Participation in sports and clubs requires money.  Money for dues, uniforms, club-dues, travel, on and on.

-Vet schools give MOST points to observation hours, then to volunteerism, rewarding employment with the least points.  This is because they figure an observer is actually standing next to the vet engaging in active learning, while the other positions are starting to do the obligatory cleaning tasks of the vet hospital, so they are actually learning LESS about the career.  So not only do you have to get well-rounded experiences in multiple areas–you have to do it without pay.

-All this well-rounded stuff means dedicating TIME to said activities.  And that’s time away from earning money and time away from studying.  Which of course the committee REQUIRES a super-high G.P.A. so they don’t get sued for accepting a subjectively good candidate over a quantitatively proven one.

-So being well rounded costs money and takes away ability to earn an income.  I never did figure out how to earn enough Green Bluff 019income to pay my tuition and rent and other expenses, while pursuing as much diverse experience as possible, and still have enough time left over to study for As in my difficult classes.  Not having to work because you had some sort of financial help would have given me an advantage.

-Another side effect of garnering a well-rounded background?  The applicant is unable to stick with anything for very long.  If veterinary admissions rewards people with the most diverse experiences, which dictates that these people can never establish a long relationship with any one sport/club/hospital.  And I saw it over and over at Noah’s Ark.  In their senior year of college, these kids would sign up for a gazillion clubs and put the minimal effort into those.  Just so they could write it on the application.  The flakiest students that came in to the vet hospital for only a few hours a week over one year did the best with their vet school applications.  People like me, that were dedicated to one or two clubs and worked hard at one place, missed those crucial diverse experiences points.  Is that the sort of vet you want?  Flaky and half-assing thing just to write it down?

-Then, IF the applicant is actually admitted into a veterinary program, tuition is impossibly high.  And school keeps vet students so busy that they could not possibly hold a job.  Not for more than maybe 2 months of the year anyway.  Probably not at all.  And definitely not enough to pay rent, food, or other expenses.  You would NEED someone to help with expenses, or at the VERY least co-sign for a big loan.

-Then, the career outlook is bleak because so many veterinarians are graduating.  So if a job is found at all, it certainly doesn’t PAY enough to pay off the inevitable school loans.  Maybe it’s a good thing I couldn’t afford to go to SGU. Just look at this blog post:

http://sharonostermann.blog.com/2011/10/14/student-debt-in-u-s-now-exceeds-all-credit-card-debt-in-u-s/

-70% of my veterinary income?! How terrible to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet only to have to be on food stamps. . .  Highest debt:income ratio.  So there you see how a poor or even regular person would have a VERY difficult time getting in and getting through vet school and then practicing vet medicine.  And why–it’s the spoiled, idealistic, rich girls completing the program these days.

(Unlucky) 13 Years of Veterinary Assisting

10 Jun

It should be kind of a cool milestone, and it would have been if I was a veterinarian.  13 years paid and 5 additional years of (substantial hours) of volunteering could be very useful to draw upon.  As a vet those 18 years of diverse experiences could serve me well.  I’ve seen things that work extraordinarily well, and failures.  I know what like, what I can live with, and what I absolutely hate in a veterinary hospital and staff.

Yet I’m not exactly proud.  In all that time, I worked really hard, but made little educational or employment progress.  I’m still doing the EXACT same job I’ve been doing since my first legit hire.  Along with this, I have not had time to hone ANY other employment experiences to beef up my resume–I can’t wait tables, type or do office work, or labor in a warehouse.  I can’t get even the lowliest jobs because of my strict focus on veterinary assisting.  So now that I’m not going to be a vet–those years hurt me.

So that’s why this milestone is more of a bummer than a cool deal.  It just shows I’m stilted in life, and reminds me to keep working at a brighter future.  I need to get a job where upward mobility is possible.  A job that pays me the wages I deserve and treats me like the hard-worker I am.  And it’s just not this.  I want MORE, that’s all.  It’s OK for some people, but I am an achiever and I want to feel my work is meaningful and I am actually doing something–not just cleaning up after another person/people.

But not to get down on myself, the title, or my current station in life, a fun fact for every year:

Chapmans edit

13: Different veterinarians I have worked with (AT the hospitals where I was employed) over the years.  I liked the way four of them worked and liked six of them as people (outside of work).

Reunion tower dallas
12:  Years that I was able to take off/get vacation/trade/finagle my birthday off of work.  The other one was a Monday (of crowded summer boarding, bath day variety) and yes, I think working on your birthday SUPER-sucks.

NV Feb 2010 090
11:  Really fun and different days (I’m estimating) where the work day was slow so I was sent to Starbucks, got to wash someone’s car instead of working, or the hospital had some sort of snow day or power outage that brought everyone together.  A few of those kinds of days are neat!

Tiger Plaza
10:  Literally 10 rejections from veterinary schools during my time as an employee at vet hospitals–and largely due to focusing on work rather than keeping a 4.0 GPA.

AVH posse'
9:  Co-workers I actually liked (some outside of work, but not their work ethic, a couple both in and out of work, and 1 at work only).

edit more 2
8:  Major $$$ bonuses (over a thousand and more) during my employment [all from Noah’s Ark-thank you, thank you]

tiger by the tail edit
7: Years of higher education completed total, and while working.

Laurel's pics 136
6: The number of different PAYING employers (not counting observation work or working interviews in which case 3 more would be added to the list).

komodo 4
5:  Times I have been the recipient of a veterinarian’s lost temper (inappropriate tone, language, voice levels, and even thrown items once) during work, and in front of co-workers, though luckily not clients.

jaguar sick
4:  Times I’ve ever called in sick.  Pretty good for 13 years, I say.  The two at Noah’s Ark were on the SAME day–because it was a Sunday and we had to be there once in the AM to walk/clean/feed/treat and once in the PM and I was vomiting the whole day.  Vomiting from drinking un-refrigerated non-dairy creamer.  The other two times were to the same hospital. One was for Cool’s bipolar issues (she couldn’t be left alone that day) and the other was phony in order to go to the zoo, because I HATED that job and everyone there, and was about to have some sort of nervous breakdown. And no, I don’t regret going to the zoo on work time at all–though I was paranoid all day someone associated w/my job would see me.

NFL teams
3: Different states that I’ve worked in-Nevada, Missouri, and Washington.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
2:  Years that I was eligible for vacation days!  At Noah’s Ark I was able to take off and trade a chunk of days and visit Austin, TX and at Cat’s Meow the 2nd year I was employed I got a week–which I split up to take several small trips.

The Quad 2
1:  Missed college graduation (my own) due to being scheduled to work that Saturday.  And because a co-worker was also graduating that same day and SHE already took it off.

gray over shoulder

So there you have it.  13 factoids about my 13 paid years on the job.  And I truly hope to exit the field and enter into the speech & hearing sciences sooner rather than later.  Must.  Get.  The grades!

Hospital Policies

13 Jan

I have a lot of bad things to say about Mary Minor.  But I have to say her hospital policies were surgerysome of my favorite and probably THE most successful I’ve worked with.  And recently, I have been missing them, and fairly dismayed/frustrated/disgruntled that my current job doesn’t operate that way.  Because it would make things a lot easier–and better.

Despite being a total hard-ass with high expectations, things went well and I felt appreciated even though I (and everyone else) was under constant scrutiny to perform at the top-most levels of medicine.  Now that I’ve worked at several other places I try to recall how this was made possible.  Because apparently it’s a tall order.

Laurel's pics 135I think a lot of Mary’s work success (the first time I worked for her) was keeping staffing issues objective.  Mary did not give special treatment to anyone or only chastise non-friends at work.  Even though her best friend since high school was her receptionist and her wife was her tech–those 2 didn’t receive any benefit or scorn that the rest of us employees didn’t.  Side-note:  [And this only goes for the first time I worked for her–when I came back, she was unable to separate the personal from the professional, which caused much of our ugly breakdown.  Mainly her problem that I knew too much about her (dirty-dirty) personal, home-life, so she set out to destroy me.]

Everywhere else I worked ran into strife because the boss would favor an employee:  I’m looking at you, Jennifer, Dana (to a lessor extent), Heather, Brandon, and Kris.  And when the boss favors one employee, that person ends up with the best possible work schedule, and never gets in trouble–not like the rest of the workers.  So of course co-workers notice and get disgruntled with both the favored employee and the boss. . .

The high standard of medicine came before the scheduling.  Mary made it a top goal to provide Laurel's pics 265better then adequate care for every patient she had.  And we were busy.  But if we could not handle something at the highest level–we either took more time so we could, or said no and referred (in the case of no money, non-clients).  Mary understood that YOU (the business, the owner, the vet) train your clients.  The vet hospital requires certain things and you will establish a base of clients willing to follow those rules and guidelines.  Everyone who doesn’t fit your business-model will go elsewhere.  And even though we routinely told people no, we still had a huge following in the community.  And they were (mostly) the good kind of clients.  You shape your clientele  and your client make-up is what you’re willing to put up with as a business owner.

Other places where I have been employed would forget that the busier and more overwhelmed you are, the lower the standards are for each individual patient.  They would let the schedule dictate the standard of care, by squeezing in more and more.  So instead of having time to groom surgeries before releasing them, taking vitals on every animal that walks through the door, having a vet check the animal prior to giving a refill, etc. . . you just saw each animal as fast as you could, cutting corners to get on to the next in a timely fashion.  Which is increasingly slip-shod.

Bigger then that, Mary held the highest standards while keeping productive employees happy because she was all about teamwork.  She really emphasized that success of the practice was Laurel's pics 261dependent upon how the staff worked together.  She was fond of saying that we set each other up for success.  We had a triple check system.  I was never the only one getting yelled at.  If something went wrong–it was everybody’s fault.  Because in a team environment everybody (doctor included) should constantly be checking that things are getting done appropriately.  Also, we celebrated as a team.  Of course Mary had an ego like any vet and attributed most of the success to herself, as team captain, and key member of the operation, but she also understood she couldn’t have accomplished as much as she did all by herself.  If we had a record dollar day, everybody was congratulated for hustling a$$, everyone was commended for keeping up, everyone was given kudos by everyone.  And we did things as a work group.  When I went to college, Mary took the staff to Chinese lunch to see me off.  When the crazy short-staffed summer was over, she bought wine.  So you had motivation to work harder for your team.

At Noah’s Ark, we weren’t a team so much as a family.  The difference is in Mary’s work team, we IMG000had a clear goal and wanted to perform well to accomplish that goal.  At Noah’s Ark it was more of a camaraderie  and when that was impossible, tolerance to black sheep of the family.  A little less successful, but still more togetherness then most.  And we had a group Christmas party and went to the Gentle Doctors Benefit as a group.  So our employers made sure we had some fun together, not just the daily grind.

Most other vet hospitals have been fractured.  Everyone was out for themselves, and no talk of team or family or otherwise was mentioned.  I find this mentality most surprising the smaller the staff.  But a small group (forced to spend time together at work only) is different from teams or families.  In Washington, we did nothing for any holiday, and when we did (once), it was held over our heads as “our holiday bonus.”  At emergency, every hated everyone else and once your shift was over, people RAN out of there.  Not nice environments to have to spend time.  It makes it more of a grind, and I think affects general work and productivity.

surpriseSo despite Mary’s many (and accumulating) short-falls, she really did run her business most effectively, from the high standard of patient care, congeniality toward clients, speed of practice, staffing, and success in general.  She’s a (homophobic, lying, cheating, manipulative, selfish, on and on) $hit head, but she knows the story when it comes to running a vet hospital .  Even with our personal problems, I have to give her that.

Temptation

28 Sep

It feels just awful.

Fall is in the air.  Green Bluff Apple Fesitval with it llamas and you-pick produce are open and ready for me.  OktoberFests are beginning–I was invited to one and heard about two additional ones.  Hot air balloons–really?!  Invitation to pizza on the patio after work.  Fall brews are on tap everywhere.  I LOVE a festival!!!  There is running to be done–I want to set some PRs in this crisp air.  Horror movie marathons and pizza-baking need to commence.  Cool is ready to play.  I want to play!

And yet.

On Tuesday I have an Anatomy exam.  And I had to work all day today, half a day tomorrow, and all day Monday.  Which leaves the weekend to study.  And it makes me feel like I’m missing out.  Like I’ve always missed out.  When I worked so many hours, every other weekend, and all holidays at Noah’s Ark–I knew one day it would pay off.  When I worked on Chemistry pre-labs, physics practice problems, and balanced diets for Nutrition instead of going out with friends–I knew one day I could have all the fun I wanted.

And yet–I’m here.  I missed out, and yet I’m still back at square one instead of reaping the rewards of my hard work.  And I feel sorry for myself.  And tempted to blow off the hard-core studying I know I should do to get that SUPER-important A on exam 2, A+ in Anatomy, and that 4.0 GPA.  So instead of thinking about all the fun I’m missing this weekend, here is something to remind me of why school is so important:

This time is different from undergrad and pre-vet.

I will have tried my absolute best in this class.

I can draw on my anatomical knowledge in the future.

This will help prepare me for grad/doctorate school.

It will feel good to look at that exam and be confident that I know the answers.

Nothing feels worse then looking at a test and knowing nothing.

Except maybe looking at a poor grade written at the top of your test.

This way, I won’t always have to play catch-up with grades.

It’s MUCH easier to keep an A, then be on the stupid borderline.

My liver doesn’t need all that beer anyway.

I can always study my cheat sheets while taking a walk outside.

I’ll feel rested at work on Monday.

Fall is just beginning.  Even if I miss it–I get a Thanksgiving and X-mas break.

Not going will save money.

I can really succeed at this major in this school, if I put effort towards it.

An exam Tues allows me to get ahead the rest of the wk (when study time is built in to my schedule)

The festivals will feel better if I attend them after I’ve aced the test.

I can move someplace I truly like.

There will be countless festivals and concerts in Boulder.

I can get a job that is satisfying and that takes me places in life.

And I’ll have a better schedule.

One day I can sit back and relax b/c I’ll have made good money at a career.

So, it’s time for me to buckle down.  I can do it, because this is important to me.  I’ve rearranged everything in my life to put school first–so now I just need to do it.  Quit thinking about things I’m missing, and think instead of what a great opportunity and second start this is.  How this is my way out of depressing life circumstances.  And I really do want to do well.

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The Higher the Volume, the More Quality is Sacrificed

16 Sep

Yeah, I said it.  I’m a big believer in that statement.  In all areas:  The more time you spend exercising, the less time there is for studying.  The more you work on your car, the less time you’re spending with the family.  The more kids you have, the less quality time each one of those kids is allotted.  More clients that come in the door means less time for each individual animal.

I especially, think it’s true that quality of care begins to suffer when you can not, will not, or do not say no to people.  I’m talking about work at a vet hospital now.  People want an appointment on the same day they call, with all the high quality service and care available–and for free if they can get it.  That does NOT mean they should be accommodated on all those fronts.

I’m worried that saying anything about this makes people perceive me as incompetent at my job.  Which, in most cases, is NOT true.  I work as fast as I can and do a good job at what I attempt.  I would say the only way I could work any faster is to get to work an hour earlier earlier then I already do, take NO lunch at all, and stay late.  Which would stress me out!  I would hate that a lot.  I have many skills.  I really, don’t have to type all of them out for you.  If I did not have an appropriate skill set, I would not have gotten so many jobs at small animal private practices.  And I would not have kept those jobs.

It seems there is scuttle on all sides of my current job that people want MORE patients to care for:  The book-keeper implicitly states this by never saying no to anyone.  No matter how busy the schedule, how overwhelmed she (and we) feels, or whether it’s a never-seen-before client without money–they get in that same day most times.  The main receptionist wants concurrent tech appointments with the vet appointments, and the brand new assistant wants to do higher difficulty skills such as cystos and intibations (I don’t know how to spell that, obviously).

I feel like instead of trying to get MORE people in the door to our small-staffed, and limited size hospital, we should focus instead on improving our current standards of care.  We can always be better at we we are doing NOW.  And be better about the computer and maintenance items.  When we do not completely bleach out isolation, surgery, or possibly contagious cat areas EVERY time, I don’t think we should be bringing in MORE clients.  When we do not make confirmation phone calls, send welcome letters to new clients, and have all the inventory codes fixed in the computer system, I don’t think we should try to double book people.  When one person is trying to keep up on inventory, one on all the book-work, and the vets can’t keep their pile of doom–write ups and phone calls to a minimum–I don’t think we should add more volume to it.  It’s not that we currently do a BAD job.  But certainly things can be better, run more smoothly, and the standard of care can always be raised.  Always.

Plus, logistically, we could barely do any more then we already anyway.  Just for space issues alone: 2 exam rooms, 19 kennels (IF we rearranged 6 of them), one treatment table.  Getting more people in there would just be. . .  Worse.

Anyway, no matter my skills as an assistant–or I would dare say no matter the skills if even an LVT–we are not vets.  There is a reason vets have to maintain a license to practice.  The states set up education and career standards for good reason as well.  Vet school curriculum teaches and tests certain areas for the same well-thought reasons.  I don’t really think we techs/assistants should be doing the highly skilled tasks.  Confidence does not equate to skill.  And confidence does not automatically equal actual knowledge.  I (and the clients) like a very personally invested veterinarian who takes the time to look at even non-critical cases that do not specifically require their license.  It’s called personalized care–and that’s one of the best things about the veterinary field.  But you get a higher volume that emphasizes speed and business over the personal touch, and it turns to Banfield in a hurry.

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The All-Important Facebook Birthday Wish

8 Sep

It’s hard not to gauge this as the end all, friendship test.  You can’t even make the time to jot down a happy birthday on my wall, ON my actual birthday = you’re not worth MY time.

And that is soooooooo silly.  I know it is.  Especially (this is the hypocritical part) when I do not wish ANYone happy birthday.  Because I’m too lazy.  And everyone else does it so I figure it doesn’t matter.  And Facebook keeps moving those damn notifications and I’m tired of searching around for them.

But it makes me think twice when someone I thought cared about me doesn’t/didn’t.  Where was Sarah?  My very best friend just 5 years ago–when I lived in Missouri and before she got a BF.  Where were Dawn and Chelle, my first friends from elementary school, and closet friends at the end of High School?  Where were ANY co-workers from ever?  I worked with various people in the last 12 years and exactly 2 of them (and I have lots, and lots of work people on my friends list) wished my a happy birthday.

It just goes to show A)  Facebook is not a gauge of true relationship status and B) Give your time and energy to those that deserve it.

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