Stay wild (about veterinary medicine)

August 1, 2017
Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM
Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM

Veterinary Economics

Dr. Ernie Ward shares his thoughts on how to achieve happiness and success and reveals how he can still be crazy about veterinary medicine after all these years.

The personal toll of a career in veterinary medicine on some has been all too visible recently, and CVC educator Ernie Ward, DVM, has been one of the most vocal veterinarians on the topic of taking care of yourself. Here's his take:

Be resourceful

If you're struggling, check out these resources on dealing with stress, burnout and time management.

Support is out there. Learn about the good that Not One More Vet is doing.

“For most of my adult life, I have centered on one thing: to improve the quality and well-being of the lives of the pets and the people that I encounter. Lately in veterinary medicine, we've been discussing some of the negatives-the high rate of depression and burnout, compassion fatigue-even suicide and substance abuse. All of that comes under what I'm so passionate about, which is your wellness. I will tell you right now, if you're watching this video and you're not really happy-I mean really, truly, deeply fulfilled by your job, by your family life, by your life in general-get help.”

But Dr. Ward explains that wellness isn't just about avoiding bad things-it's about fulfilling your purpose as a person and living life to the fullest. “I see too often people who are just shy of what they could be simply because they're self-sabotaging by not getting enough sleep, they don't have healthy relationships with those around them, they aren't nurturing or being nurtured or simply aren't eating right,” he says.

Watch the video to hear more of Dr. Ward's thoughts on how to achieve happiness and success:

Click over to the next page to learn the secrets behind how Dr. Ward remains enthusiastic after decades of practice …


If you've ever spent more than 30 seconds in Dr. Ward's presence, it won't surprise you to hear that he's frequently asked how he stays so energetic and enthusiastic after 25 years in veterinary practice. Luckily for us, he doesn't mind sharing his secrets:

1.“Have a daily ritual. You need to have some way to kick-start your day, whether it's with a run or weightlifting or a cup of coffee or sitting down and reading your Bible. … Have something that starts your day off in a positive way.”

2.“Without [hydration, nutrition and sleep], you simply can't maintain the enthusiasm and energy levels required to be an outstanding veterinarian, veterinary manager or technician.”

3.“Cultivate relationships around you. You need to have people in your life that you love and that love you back. People who push you and challenge you, but also teach you and nurture you. When you surround yourself with loving, creative, vibrant people, you become loving, creative and vibrant. I can't stress enough-that is really the secret to my success. That strong, solid family, that foundation of love and trust, that's what propels me.”

Hear more from Dr. Ward about why he's just as excited today about veterinary medicine as he was when he first started:

For much more on wellness, see Dr. Ward's "Fit to Practice" series at