Vet Futures students’ rallying call for One Health Week

Ginnie Baker is a third-year student at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. With a love of the outdoors and all things furry, she believes the future of the veterinary profession is entwined with human health and that of the environment around us. Ginnie is part of the Vet Futures Student Ambassadors’ team focusing on One Health.

Our plan is to get students everywhere talking about the links between animal, human and environmental health and how we can work together to improve the lives of all things bright and beautiful.

What’s your big idea?

Zoe Skinner, is a Vet Futures Student Ambassador from Nottingham University and has an interest in farm animal medicine, One Health and how new developments will shape the future of the veterinary profession. She describes the VF Student Ambassadors’ Innovation Team’s new initiative, designed to give more vet students the opportunity to get involved with veterinary innovation.

After lots of brainstorming, the innovation project team have come up with a plan to introduce a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition to UK and Ireland veterinary universities in order to help realise the potential in the next generation of innovators.

Shaping a future to share

Eleanor Robertson (pictured) is the Senior-Vice President of the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS) UK and Ireland and is currently in her fourth year at Liverpool University. With a passion for global health, having completed an intercalated masters in the subject at Maastricht University, Eleanor is interested in the vital contribution of the veterinary profession to a sustainable future.

The initiation of Vet Futures in 2014 was a cause of great excitement amongst the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS) committee, myself included. Why? Because as students, the future of the veterinary profession, we should be active in shaping it and championing the project through a myriad of various opportunities.

VNs looking to themselves for change

Daniel is Operations Manager at Dick White Referrals and a practising RVN. Daniel began his career as a Saturday receptionist at a small clinic and became a veterinary nurse in 2007, moving on to become Head Nurse at a large 24-hour veterinary hospital in East London.

Daniel holds the A1/V1 Clinical Coach qualifications, Level 3 in British Sign Language and is currently completing a Chartered Management Institute Level 7 qualification in Strategic Leadership. Daniel works across HR, strategy and development, facilities management, health and safety and leadership.

My current role is Operations Manager at Dick White Referrals. Starting my career as a veterinary nurse in a variety of roles, and moving to senior management positions, I have always been passionate about the profession and my role within it, but felt that the nursing profession was under-valued and lacked recognition for the important roles RVNs play. I also believed that this attitude towards RVNs restricted our full potential.

Sustainable businesses and user-focused services

Kimberley is a management consultant with global consultancy Accenture where she is a manager in the Healthcare Practice, advising on strategy and business change with a focus on digital healthcare innovation. At Accenture Kimberley works with a wide cross section of clients, from the NHS to medical software companies and private healthcare businesses.

Kimberley graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2010. During her studies she intercalated at the University of Edinburgh to complete a BSc in Microbiology and Infection, and undertook the ten-week Cornell University Leadership Programme through a Wellcome Trust Scholarship. Kimberley has experience of working overseas in a variety of roles including working with UNICEF, WHO and DFID.

We have always had to respond to change, both external and internal; it is not something that can be halted. So why address it now? The Vet Futures report highlighted, in no uncertain terms, that not only are we “cautious of change” as a profession, but the change that we are faced with has picked up momentum and is accelerating us toward a somewhat uncertain future.

Leadership

Huw is the Director of Clinical Services at The Pets at Home Vet Group (PAHVG), a role he took up in 2015 having been Head of Clinical Services since 2013. Huw graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2000 and went into mixed first opinion practice in Devon and then small animal practice in Swindon. Whilst in practice Huw completed a postgraduate diploma in companion animal behaviour counselling at the University of Southampton.

In 2010 Huw moved into industry as a Technical Advisor with VetPlus, and joined Companion Care Services as Commercial Manager in 2011. At PAHVG Huw worked on the integration of Vets4Pets into the Pets at Home Vet Group alongside Companion Care, and led the team that developed The Vet Report, providing an annual overview of pet health and welfare issues. Huw is a founding member of the Major Employers Group, a member of BVA’s Veterinary Policy Group, and a Veterinary Advisor to the RCVS alternative dispute resolution trial.

“As a keen supporter of the Vet Futures project, I was delighted to be selected to join the Action Group tasked with transforming the vision and ambitions of the report into ideas and initiatives that could be actioned in the real world. The report had identified gaps in the way our profession approaches the issue of leadership, so I knew that taking on this ambition would be a particular challenge.

The health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals

Mary is a veterinary surgeon working in Devon. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1998 and has eighteen years of experience, working in various roles in mixed practice, for an out-of-hours clinic, for a large group practice and as a government veterinary surgeon.

In 2014, Mary became a Postgraduate Dean for the RCVS, supporting recent graduates through their Professional Development Phase (PDP) and speaking to final year students and recent graduates. In 2015 Mary joined the board of Vetlife (previously the Veterinary Benevolent Fund), the charity that supports the veterinary community.

“It was with some trepidation that I attended the first Vet Futures Action Group meeting earlier this year. A bit like the first day in a new job. Will the others like me? How will my background equip me for the work of the Action Group? But these worries were short lived. I’ve enjoyed every minute of our meetings and have met some fantastic people

The next generation

Helena Diffey is the past President of the Association of Veterinary Students UK and Ireland (AVS). In this role she represented vet students on a range of professional forums and coordinates the central AVS committee.

Helena is in her fifth year of study at the Royal Veterinary College, having intercalated in Global Health at Imperial College, London. She enjoys the great variety within veterinary medicine, from lab work to surgery, and has a wider interest in epidemiology, neglected diseases, policy making and veterinary education.

“Only half of recent graduates say their career has matched expectations,” revealed a survey from the Vet Futures project in 2015. As a student on the verge of beginning my career in the veterinary profession, this was a pretty distressing statistic to find out.”…

Education, education, education

Liz is Associate Professor of Veterinary Education and Sub-Dean for Teaching, Learning and Assessment at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham. Liz graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2000 and initially worked in a number of assistant roles in mixed, small animal and equine practice in the Midlands. In 2006 Liz joined the University of Nottingham as a teacher and lecturer, whilst continuing in equine practice, before becoming head of teaching in 2012…

“My motivation to become a member of the Vet Futures Action Group was the desire to be part of something with a real potential to have an impact on the profession I love. As a teacher at Nottingham Vet School (but very much a general practitioner at heart) I am very lucky to be involved with educating the vets of the future”…

Veterinary students

Diverse and rewarding veterinary careers

Clare is a Senior Teaching Associate for curriculum and innovation in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, where she is currently chairing a taskforce to develop a curricular thread on professional skills throughout the professional veterinary course. Clare graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1996 and after completing an equine ambulatory internship at Millbrook Equine Practice in New York she started teaching on an equine studies programme and founded her own equine practice…

“I have wanted to be a vet all of my life… (well, apart from when I wanted to be a princess in my really early years!). But my identity as a vet has continued to evolve and change throughout my education and career. My veterinary career so far, then, has not been typical. But that is because, I would argue, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ veterinary career”…