As newly graduated veterinarians, we possess an eagerness to practice and take on cases that is akin to a child with a brand new bicycle. Getting up for work every day is a joy, not seen as simply a job, but a new opportunity to help animals and their families that love them, while embracing the challenge to utilize our intellect and training to achieve this to the best of our abilities. Following the first couple of years after having seen many of the same kinds of ailments, disease patterns, and of course, having administered countless vaccines, and only being stimulated with novel and challenging cases on occasion, that initial excitement begins to give way to the feeling that being a vet really is a job after all. Rather than wake up every morning with an eagerness of a new graduate, one simply says, "I have to go to work." I do not care how ambitious, focused, grateful, or compassionate one may be, no one, including myself, is immune to these feelings. The good news is that there is a cure.
I just returned from the North America Veterinary Conference (NAVC) in Orlando, FL, a yearly conference like others of its kind, consists of symposiums and seminars offering the latest and greatest diagnostic and disease management techniques. On a social level, the conference offers functions and receptions to re-connect with old classmates, while forging new networks with other veterinarians. There is a great big exhibit hall that enables us to browse new products and equipment, offering the potential to carry the best products and replace dated equipment.
All of this serves to keep us current with the best tools and knowledge to optimally treat our patients. Learning once again makes us excited to forge ahead and apply new skills and knowledge, and watch our patients reap the benefits. Seeing old classmates reminds us of a time when we endured being stressed out, broke, and tired all the time, guided solely by the notion that one day we may be able to have the career of our dreams. It is like being reborn again as newly graduated veterinarians, only far more experienced, but no less excited for and grateful for what we get to do.
My batteries have been recharged once again for yet another year. Whether it is this conference, the Las Vegas conference, or any other, I plan to keep my passion alive by attending a conference every year for as long as I practice veterinary medicine. I deserve it, my staff deserves it, and most importantly, my patients and clients deserve it.