Dr Olivia James is one of the leaders in the field of equine dentistry. She is months away from finishing her diplomate examinations, which will make her a specialist, and the highest qualified equine dentist in the Southern Hemisphere. Olivia has worked in veterinary practices in regional Australia both in mixed and equine hospitals since graduating from the University of Sydney with honours in 2003. In 2010, when her second son was just one year old, she started her own equine practice, sold in 2018 to concentrate on her studies and start her current business, Australian Veterinary Equine Dentistry. In this role she travels across Australia to treat both first opinion and referral dentistry cases. She is also about to launch a very exciting new online education resource for veterinary equine dentistry.
Our conversation with Olivia covers a lot of ground. She gives us advice on starting your own practice and making it profitable, the importance of focusing on personal development, how to build of group of peers that inspires you, and of course she gives us some practical tips on how to raise children while starting a new practice, studying and even specialising.
Please enjoy, Dr. Olivia James.
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Since starting the podcast we’ve had some amazing feedback from some of our listeners. I love hearing about how other people are inspired by our guests, but one question that pops up time and time again is some variation of: “I don’t feel like I can focus on my career, because I have young kids.” And I totally agree - I often feel torn apart in the tug of war between career and parenting. So here at the Vet Vault we’ve made it one of our missions to speak to vets who are finding ways to create fulfilling careers, while still being engaged parents and husbands or wives, and to ask them how the hell they do it.
When we started asking around for some guest ideas of people who seem to have solved this problem, our guest for today was one the first names that popped up: Dr Abbie Elise Tipler BVSc, MANZCVS (Surgery) is a small animal surgeon. She graduated from Massey University in 2005 and soon after graduation discovered her passion for small animal surgery. This took her to London where she worked for several years in a combined general practice/orthopedic referral practice. In 2011 she moved to Sydney and sat her ANZCVS Memberships in Small Animal Surgery and in 2016 was elected as head examiner for Memberships in Small Animal Surgery for the ANZCVS.
In 2017 she founded the Small Animal Surgery Discussion Page for world-wide surgery discussion which has over 6500 Veterinary Members. In 2018 she was the recipient of the ANZCVS travel grant for services to the Surgery Chapter. She has been actively involved in charities such as Pets in the Park, Elephants Rhinos People, Greyhound Rescue and Cantoo. Currently, she is a second year surgical resident at Veterinary Specialist Services. She lives in Saint Lucia with her husband and two young children.
Join us as we find out from Abbie how she managed to create a rewarding career despite the commitments of raising a young family. She tells us about her journey into residency in what is a very competitive environment, how to not limit yourself based on other’s expectations of you, how to go from a nervous surgeon to a total surgical boss, and much much more.
For this episode we're trying something new. We've had so many valuable insights from our guests that we thought it would be well worth it to review some of our favourite bits. Join us as we dig deeper into the topics that we think can make a big impact on your career.
In this episode we explore some important themes from Dr Oliver Liyou, our guest from episode 4. Oliver shared some hard-earned wisdom that can be career-, or even life-saving . If you missed Oliver the first time, or if you need a refresher, please join us as we review Oliver's 7 rules for surviving veterinary science.
When we started organising this episode with our guest he was neck-deep, or shall we say shoulder-deep, into clinical cow practice. However, the last few weeks have seen some major changes in the life of Dr. Cody Creelman, Cow Vet.
Up until about 3 weeks before we recorded this episode Cody Creelman was a veterinarian, multiple practice owner, and digital storyteller based in Alberta, Canada. Cody shares his story in real-time on social media by creating entertaining and educational videos of his daily adventures. With over 20 million video views, he has created a very loyal following of ranchers, veterinary professionals, and the general public, and it's easy to see why: his videos are tonnes of fun, and his can-do positive attitude towards work is truly inspiring.
So it was a total shock to his fans (and to anyone trying to research him for a podcast!) when he announced that he was quitting clinical work and pursuing new adventures.
Join us for an insightful conversation about change, passion, fun, fear, and to hear what the future holds for Dr Cody Creelman. Enjoy!
Dr. Justine Lee, the one and only VETgirl, is best known for the hugely popular on-line veterinary education resources that she produces through the vet girl on the run website, podcast, and pretty much anywhere where you find your continuing education.
Currently, Dr. Lee is one of approximately 450 board certified veterinary specialists world wide in emergency and critical care, and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She is also board-certified in toxicology and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. She’s been published in numerous veterinary journals and books, and has been aired on radio and television to promote preventative medicine, animal health, and the overall well-being of pets.
Justine is the author of two humorous pet reference books, entitled It’s a Dog’s Life… but It’s Your Carpet and It’s a Cat’s World… You Just Live In It, and has co-edited and co-authored Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Small Animal Toxicology (Wiley-Blackwell 2011). She is one of the editors for the Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Emergency Medicine textbook. (Elsevier 2013).
She has been a regular recipient of Speaker of the Year Awards for her talks on emergency, critical care, and toxicology, and she was the co-host and veterinary analyst on Nat Geo Wild‘s Animal ER LIVE. Dr. Lee still works as a criticalist at Animal Emergency & Referral Center, a specialty referral hospital in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. And because she wasn’t quite busy enough, 3 years ago she became a mom. So how in the world does she do all of this?!
Join us in our conversation with this whirlwind of efficiency and impact as she shares with us her ideas about career, parenting , money, time management and much, much more.
I’ve been a big fan of guest for today’s episode ever since seeing him deliver a keynote speech at a big-ticket vet conference. I knew immediately that I wanted to hear more about what he had to say. His message resonated strongly with me personally, and with the entire audience of vets there that day. It’s a message that we here at the Vet Vault think will be very valuable to all of you, our listeners, so we were thrilled when he agreed to spend some time with us.
Nigel Marsh is a Management consultant, communications specialist, author and entrepreneur.
He is best known for his creative pursuits. As well as the author of three books – Fat, Forty and Fired, Overworked and Underlaid and Fit, Fifty and Fired-Up – he is also the co-founder of Earth Hour and the founder of the Sydney Skinny. Fat, Forty and Fired is currently being developed into a major TV series. He also has a hit podcast of his own called 'The Five Of My Life.'
The other side to Nigel’s career is his 30+ years experience in the commercial sector. Over that time Nigel has worked with a huge variety of organisations. From the highest profile (McDonalds, Canon, Pepsi, P&G, Virgin, Mars, Fiat, Colgate), to national governments and local enterprises. Whether dealing with big business issues or social engineering, Nigel has provided strategic counsel and impressive results in almost every category imaginable.
Highly in demand as a public speaker Nigel travels the globe regularly giving speeches to major corporations on both his business and personal views. His TED speech on work/life balance remains the most viewed ever given outside of America with well over four million hits.
And this, dear listeners, is why we are talking to Nigel on our veterinary podcast: because us vets are not always that great at finding that elusive work life balance. We’ve had some interesting discussions with other guests on this podcast on this topic: what is work life balance, does it even exist, and is it something that we should be pursuing?
So we’ve called in the big guns: please join us in this highly insightful discussion all about balance and finding meaning in your career with one of today's leading thinkers on the topic.
Most vets would agree that excellent communication skills are one of the most important tools that we need to develop for a happy veterinary career, and it's a topic that we've always wanted to feature here, so we were thrilled when one of the leading minds in veterinary communication training agreed to join us on the Vet Vault.
Cindy Adams is a Professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Calgary, where she teaches in the Clinical Communication and Professional Skills programs. She works to improve communication practices in veterinary medicine and education. Professor Adams has developed evidence-based communication curricula and methods for teaching, learning and evaluating communication skills across North America, UK, and Australia. Today her work forms the basis for communications skills training in many leading vet schools. Her co-authored book: 'Skills for Communicating in Veterinary Medicine,' was released in 2016 and has earned widespread recognition in veterinary medical practice and education around the globe.
In this episode Cindy tells us why we really need to increase our efforts in improving our communication skills, how to rapidly gain client trust, and how to set yourself up for the perfect consult. I guarantee you that this is not just for new grads: it doesn’t matter where you are in your vet career - you are bound to learn something new here.
We talk about agenda setting, listening, perceptual skills and how to have those difficult conversations about money, and Cindy answers a few burning listener questions about tricky communication situations.
Make sure to check out the show notes for the resources that Cindy mentions in the episode. There’s some very useful information on talking about money, discussing medical errors and how to run internal training programs for better communication.
One of our criteria for selecting guests here at the vet vault is to find people from across varied and interesting parts of our profession to showcase all doors that can open to you with your veterinary degree. Well, today’s guest is the poster boy for veterinary career diversity!
Dr Guy Weerasinghe has covered more ground in the veterinary profession than many of us will do in a lifetime. He’s been in diary vet in New Zealand, a small animal shelter vet for the RSPCA - Australia’s largest veterinary charity, he’s worked in government doing field surveillance and policy, and has spent time in general small animal practice.
During this time he gained a masters degree in Veterinary Public Health, and then became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine: in other words - he’s a certified Veterinary Public Health specialist.
While he was doing all of this he co-founded an online employment agency, served as the President of Australian Veterinarians in Public Health, was a branch president for the Australian Veterinary Association, co-authored the AVA’s official position statement on climate change, and became a regular speaker at a range of global conferences on the subjects of zoonoses and preventative medicine.
A career like this does not go unnoticed, and Guy was elected as the World Small Animal Veterinary Associations’ young veterinarian of the year for 2018.
He is currently a veterinary officer with the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy under the Department of Agriculture - in other words: he’s a Veterinary Public heath government vet, and, to top off a big decade, he became a dad 18 months ago.
All of this in less than 10 years! As you can imagine - we had a lot to talk about.
Join us to hear about how to take off your blinkers to be able to see all the opportunities that are out there for vets, about how to recognise your limitations and identify your skills, and about the joy of dealing with clients, even when they don’t like you!
Guy also tells us about the pathway into a career in veterinary public health, and of course what life as a government vet is like, and much much more.
Please enjoy - Dr Guy Weerasinghe.
We’ve always known that as part of our guest list we wanted to talk to vets from outside of clinical practice to provide us with some insights about parts of the profession that neither of us knows anything about. When it came to choosing who we should interview from the world of industry, today's guest was at the top of both of our lists.
Dr. Mina Hamilton is a smiling bundle of energy and enthusiasm who took her talents out of clinical practice and into life as an industry vet a few years ago when she decided to work for one of the leading pet food companies. When you watch Dr. Mina doing her thing at work you’re immediately struck by how much she makes it look like a lot of fun, which is exactly why we wanted to talk to her. We wanted to find out if it really is fun, and dig a bit into the whys, the hows, and the pros and cons.
Our conversation with Mina covers a wide range of topics. We talk about how you know whether or not a job is for you, about making the decision to stay or go in your job, and how to approach leaving when it is time to move on. Mina tells us what she loves about life as a technical vet, about the skills she’s learned in her role, about how to break bad habits, why holidays are so important, and much much more
James Greenwood is a practicing veterinary surgeon living and working in Bristol in the UK. Originally from a farming family in Yorkshire, James inherited the family trait and devoted himself to a life spent in the company of animals. Since graduating from Bristol University in 2007, James has worked in mixed, equine and then for the last few years in companion animal practice.
Throughout his life he has shared his passion for science with his passion for art. Although taught originally to paint, James’ creativity has developed into a deep love for ceramics. He was invited to compete on the first series of BBC2’s 'The Great Pottery Throwdown’, which led to further television work, including the hit CBBC children's television series 'The Pets Factor'. He has also developed his own ceramics business, writes for various platforms and delivers talks on how his passion for science and art have influenced his life.
Gerardo spent the day with James and Oliver, the famous one-eyed Labrador, in their home. We had a great time picking his brain about his early work experiences, about finding himself out of his depth and dealing with imposter syndrome, and how he tries to achieve that ever-elusive balanced life. He tells us how he took stock of his career and how he made veterinary science work for him. We also talk about competence, confidence and courage, his life as a TV vet, and the absolute necessity of having things in your life that you love doing.
We had a lot of fun recording this episode, and I think you’ll have the same experience listening to James’ with his infectious enthusiasm.
Please enjoy - Dr James Greenwood.
Dr. Rob Webster is an emergency and critical care specialist and one of the founding members of Animal Emergency Australia, a group of emergency clinics in southeastern Queensland.
Outside of his clinical and leadership roles within the practice he has also trained and mentored large numbers of vets and vet nurses, inspiring them with his boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm.
We pinned him down in his garden in far northern Queensland to see if we could extract some of that wisdom for our own good and yours, and he did not disappoint! We cover valuable ground, such as how he approaches challenges in the face of fear and uncertainty, despite feeling completely overwhelmed. He gives us his views on charting a career path, on whether to specialise or not. Rob even gives us a few study tips and tells us what he thinks one of the best things is that you can commit your time to, and on why you should always listen to your mother.
Please join us in this fascinating conversation with Dr. Rob, and be inspired!
Professor Jill Maddison is currently Professor of General Practice, Director of Professional Development and Director of the BVetMed course at the Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom. She is actively involved in undergraduate teaching and CPD at the RVC in the areas of small animal medicine, clinical problem solving and clinical pharmacology.
She has lectured extensively around the world on clinical problem solving, small animal internal medicine and clinical pharmacology. If you’ve ever listened to one of her lectures you’ll know that she is the epitome of clear-minded scientific thinking. And if you haven’t had the privilege of hearing her speak - well, luckily she’ has a book just for you: Jill is senior editor of a book called Clinical Reasoning in Small Animal Practice, a must-read for anyone in practice. She’s also published over 60 refereed papers in veterinary and medical journals and is the senior editor of a previous book, Small Animal Clinical Pharmacology.
To keep in touch with the realities of private general practice she consults at a local veterinary practice and at the RVC’s first opinion practice, the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital.
In this episode we talk about clinical vet work for a change: Jill talks about some common mistakes that many vets make when it comes to clinical decision making, and why curiosity and thinking skills are more important than knowledge and facts. Jill gives us her insights about the value of internships and tells us what her favourite textbooks are for everyday practice.
Please enjoy - the queen of small animal veterinary medicine - Professor Jill Madison.
Our guest today is a successful businessman who, in his free time, likes to put on a skin-tight black neoprene suit and use his special skills and unique equipment to save lives. No - it’s not Batman, but it may as well be.
Dr Craig Challen has become an Australian icon for his role as a rescue diver in the Thailand cave rescue that captivated the world in late 2018. For his efforts in the rescue, Craig was awarded the Star Of Courage award in Australia, nominated as a Companion of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn in Thailand, and, together with his dive partner, as the joint Australian of the year for 2018/19.
But long before any of this happened, Craig was an accomplished veterinarian and business owner. He had built and run a successful group of veterinary practices, while also quietly becoming one of the world’s most highly qualified cave divers. It's an incredible story with a very, VERY happy ending, and we are thrilled to have Craig share it with you.
In our conversation, we dive deep into the world of veterinary business. Craig shares with us from his wealth of experience tips that vary from how to be a good employee, all the way to building a multi-practice business. Listen out for his 4 step formula to dealing with complaints towards the end of the episode. We talk about career plans, fear, self-confidence, doing hard things, and Craig gives us his take on the challenge of living a balanced life.
But first, we kick off deep underground in a cave, somewhere in Thailand.
For this episode we are fortunate to have with us a young vet who is contributing more to the veterinary profession in her relatively short career than many of us will do in a lifetime. Dr Paula Parker was the president of the Australian Veterinary Association for 2018/19, and is the youngest person ever to be elected to this position. When she is not leading the team that makes major policy decisions and guides the future of our our profession both in Australia and internationally she works as an emergency vet in a practice in the Gold Coast, Australia.
Our chat with Paula unearthed some very practical tips and tools for every day life as a vet.
I personally found the discussions about productivity, mental resetting and transitioning, and how to get past no especially useful. We also cover a wide range of other topics, like the pros and cons of rural practice, how to deal with being the ‘new vet’, especially the new ‘girl’ vet in a farm practice environment, controlling the controllables, the value of serving on committees and other organisations, and about vomiting for fun... Paula addresses a huge issue for many people in our profession: money - how to think about it, how to talk about it, and how to make it.
We trust that you’ll find this conversation as inspiring as we did.
Dr Nadine Hamilton is a psychologist, but she’s not just your everyday psychologist - she’s OUR psychologist. After nearly 35 years of experience in a variety of industries she is now a leading voice and helping hand for the veterinary profession. Through her practice, Positive Psych Solutions, she works exclusively with vets, helping them to be the best they can be for their patients and themselves.
However, Nadine was not satisfied with small scale solutions: her recently published book “Learning To Cope With Stress And Burnout As A Veterinarian’ is already proving very useful for many in the profession, and will undoubtedly become a vital mental health resource for vets around the world.
Dr Hamilton is also the founder of the “Love Your Pet, Love Your Vet’ charity, which aims to raise community awareness of the shadow side to the veterinary profession, as well as reducing stigma for those working in the industry about seeking help when they need it. Her work with the charity has brought some of the challenges that vets face to the attention of the general public through some very successful media exposure.
As can be expected from someone with Nadine’s background, our discussion with her provides some fantastic insight into the state of mental health in our profession, with some very practical advice on building and maintaining resilience, and on how to speak up and find help when you are going through tough times.
Please enjoy this conversation with one of the leading minds in veterinary mental health today - Dr Nadine Hamilton.
In this episode we speak to a vet who, in his 26 years in the veterinary profession, has experienced some fantastic highs , but also some of the very darkest lows. His journey has taught him crucial lessons on how to not only survive, but thrive in this sometimes challenging profession of ours, and we are very fortunate that he is happy to share those lessons with us with such honesty and openness.
Dr Oliver Liyou graduated from the University of Queensland in 1993 with first class honours. He is the principle veterinarian and owner of Equine Veterinary Dentistry Services, which he started in 2002. He lives and works in South Grafton, northern NSW in Australia on a property with horses, cattle, and his family.
Since 2002 Oliver has co-ordinated and hosted equine dentistry training workshops for vets from all over the world. In 2007 he was the first Australian vet to sit and pass membership exams in Equine Dentistry. He has authored several scientific papers and lectured on equine dentistry throughout Australia and internationally, and regularly publishes articles to raise awareness of welfare in horses. Oliver has also co-designed several equine dental instruments, including the porta safe stocks trailer. (EVDS.net.au.)
But it’s not all been smooth sailing for Oliver. Since graduating as a vet 25 years ago he has survived all of the following: lasting almost 10 years in his first business that he started the day after graduating; a suicide attempt in 2005; a divorce 5 years later; narrowly avoiding bankruptcy, and a business partnership dissolution soon after that.
Despite these setbacks he has emerged happy and balanced, with a good business, and still remains positive about life, his career and the veterinary profession overall.
This discussion is essential listening for many of us. We talk about what success as a vet looks like, the paradox of being exceptional, the importance of learning to say no with a smile and why it’s important to sometimes be shit at stuff.
Oliver talks candidly about his suicide attempt - how to recognise the warning signs that you are in trouble, his journey beyond that period in his life, and how to protect yourself against things ever going this far. He also shares with us his his eight tips for surviving veterinary science.
Please join us, in fact - I urge you to join us, in this ultimately uplifting episode with Dr Oliver Liyou.
When Gerardo first suggested today’s guest to me I must admit that I was slightly sceptical. If our aim with this podcast is to pick the brains of successful people in the veterinary profession to see if they can share some of their acquired wisdom with us, then surely our guests will need years of experience? Or so I thought. Let me assure you that you do NOT need years of experience to have serious focus and have the right mindset.
Dr Brooke Schampers is an emergency veterinarian in Brisbane, Australia - a career that she chose very deliberately, and pursues with passion and positivity. She shares her challenges and what she is learning on her very popular instagram account - doctor_brooke, inspiring and helping thousands of others in the process.
We talk about getting your attitude right to work undesirable shifts, practicing and projecting confidence when you’re not feeling all that confident, how to deal with being a fresh faced vet - in other words how to ensure that clients take you seriously if you look very young, and how to improve your communication skills.
Brooke gives advice on picking and pursuing your dream job, with tips on how to get that all important foot in the door.
No discussion about emergency work would be complete without stories of triumph and failure, and how to deal with the demands of a job that can be very stressful. We’ll discuss some great ideas on how to keep your mind fit to fight another day.
We also delve a bit into the world of social media - the how, the good and the bad.
No matter where you are in your veterinary career - this conversation is guaranteed to motivate and inspire. Please enjoy, and don’t forget to stay tuned for your homework assignment for the week at the end of the episode.
In today’s episode we chat to a vet who in her relatively short career has managed to encourage and inspire tens of thousands of vets through her popular veterinary instagram account, louisa_the_vet. After our interview I can count myself as one of the many people who have benefited from her infectious enthusiasm.
Dr Louisa Graham is a UK based small animal veterinarian. Because of a childhood that she describes as “surrounded by animals” she always knew that she could only ever be a vet. Since qualifying she has worked in small animal practices across the UK as both practitioner and in managerial and mentoring rolls. She has continued her education while working, gaining a certificate in advanced veterinary practice in small animal medicine after a few years in practice, and at the time of recording she was just about to make a move to a new practice York where she’ll continue her veterinary journey.
We cover a lot of ground in our conversation with Louisa, discussing topics like how she stays motivated, the struggles she faced during her early career, why a good support network is so important and what that network looks like, especially in your first job. And on the topic of first jobs - we talk about finding that right first job and what your future employers care and don’t care about.
Louisa gives advice about managing your expectations, becoming a ‘mini-specialist’, avoiding what she calls ‘the comparison trap’, maintaining perspective and most importantly about having fun.
Please enjoy this conversation with the effervescent and all round lovely Dr Louisa Graham, and when you get to the end - keep listening for our surprise bonus section.
In our first episode we take 30 minutes to talk to each other so you can get to know your hosts a bit better and find out what our podcast is all about.