© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.
'Tis the season to inspire the future
A letter from Adam Christman, DVM, MBA.
Even with summer in full swing and practices facing their highest case volume of the year, it is never difficult to look to the future of veterinary medicine. How old were you when you decided you wanted to become a veterinarian? A survey conducted by Vet Set Go found that 65% of veterinarians were 13 years or younger when they decided to become a veterinarian.1
I remember being 6 years old, watching my dog receive his first physical exam. During the exam, the doctor let me auscultate my dog’s heart and lungs with his stethoscope. I remember listening to the beats and breaths and falling into a state of wonder and intrigue. What was the science behind the process? It was from that moment I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian, and I never veered off that path!
Moments like this can inspire our future generation of veterinary professionals. Do you remember being turned down for a summer job, whether as a kennel assistant, animal shelter volunteer, or farm worker? Shutting out a child from the fascinating field of veterinary medicine not only deprives them of an opportunity; it deprives our profession of future leaders.
Giving back to the community by inspiring children may be my biggest platform as a veterinarian. I love hearing children’s questions, laughs, and wonder about our profession. I remember a student telling us that veterinarians are “superheroes without the capes because you have the ability to figure things out without them talking!” Consider that statement for a moment and digest it. You feel may feel disenchanted, defeated, or frustrated sometimes, but remember your “why” in veterinary medicine. These children look up to us and may one day become our colleagues.
I have the honor of shouldering this responsibility alongside my dear friend of more than 25 years, Robert Mankowski, VMD, owner of Mount Laurel Animal Hospital in New Jersey. Each year, we put on a Vet Day for children who aspire to become veterinary professionals (veterinarians, veterinary technicians, etc). At our most recent Vet Day, which hosted more than 40 children in person and over 50 children virtually, we had the privilege of sharing our experiences and everything our profession has to offer. The fun day included “Pizza Party With the Docs,” where kids could ask us anything about veterinary medicine as we ate pizza together. We played games, including the famous Kahoot!, and were proud to see how much these children knew about animals. Afterward, we gave the children a tour of the veterinary hospital, and they immersed themselves in the experience. As my dear friend and colleague and the founder of Vet Set Go, Christopher Carpenter, DVM, MBA, shared with me, it is important to make it an immersive experience. It is one thing for kids to observe, but it’s a next-level experience for kids to perform physical exams and touch the animals. Participants took pictures and made memories, and students received honorary certificates for being a “vet for the day.” To sum up the experience, one departing child yelled out his window, “This was the best day ever!”
I strongly encourage you to invite children and young adults into your veterinary world. You will make an enormous impact. And if you don’t know where to begin, please look into the book Vet Set Go: A Quick Start Guide to Becoming a Veterinarian by Christopher Carpenter and Alison Landis Stone. This is a great resource to help your team easily implement an event for kids.
Now is the time to make change. The future of our veterinary profession lies with these children. Inspire, motivate, and create a meaningful memory with them today.
Vet Set Go, Merck Animal Health and VCA Animal Hospitals team up to launch “Become a Veterinarian Camp Contest 2022”. News release. Vet Set Go. February 21, 2022. Accessed July 11, 2022. https://bit.ly/3uFc52Q