Vets without boundaries. What’s with this name? No we are not trying to ride on the coat tails of the amazing organization Veterinarians without Borders (although we would love to work with them if only they needed a couple of washed up small animal vets). Vets without boundaries is a title that seems to “fit” on many levels. It examines the boundaries that have defined our lives and in particular our journey as veterinarians.
I was a always a “good girl”. I worked hard, got good grades, followed the path that I had decided upon (with a narrow minded focus) and made an effort to please family, friends and later clients. Simply put, I followed the rules. Nothing wrong with this, it got me to where I am today. The boundaries we live within and create for ourselves make the world feel more predictable, controllable and safe. But what if this is just an illusion. What if those boundaries are actually holding you back? What if you challenge those boundaries and flip the middle finger to societies definition of success? Where will that rabbit hole take you? You’ll never know unless you swallow your fear, set the wheels in motion and make a change. Maybe it will SUCK …. but maybe it will open doors you could not imagine.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should toss it all and live off the grid, where you “could find bear, beaver, and other critters worth cash money when skinned”. Okay, maybe certain members of this team might argue that living like Jeremiah Johnson would be well worth tossing it all, (and certain other members of this team might argue that living with Robert Redford – the 45 year old version – would also be well worth tossing it all) but back to my point. As humans, we need meaningful work, goals and a sense of purpose but we also need to ensure the boundaries defining our work and our life outside work, are healthy and designed to help us grow rather than hold us back.
Being a veterinarian has defined who I am for more than half of my life. A sobering thought. I was one of those freaks who wanted to be a vet from a very young age and outside of a short period where I felt I might make it as a fashion designer, (pretty funny for someone who spent years in rubber boots, coveralls with her arm shoulder deep in a cow) I didn’t deviate from this plan. For me, being a vet has been a great fit. I love critters (even the ones worth cash money when skinned – I just don’t agree with the skinning part), I love science and I believe in the power of pets, nature and those critters to heal our soul. But it is time to make a change. A change in how I use this veterinary degree and in how I live. The hope is, this will provide the space to find my passion again. The North American National Exam Board’s licensing process for veterinarians means our Canadian DVM degree is recognized world wide, allowing us to practice outside the boundaries of our own country. So there you go, Vets without Boundaries will also explore the veterinary profession outside of North America and our experience both volunteering and working around the world as veterinarians.
Finally, I am passionate about the people working in this industry. Our profession is facing some big challenges in the years ahead, rising tuition and debt loads for new grads, rising costs of running a veterinary hospital, social media and online bullying of veterinarians and their teams and the highest suicide rate among medical professionals. That’s right, vets have now surpassed dentists in our predilection for self destruction. The pressures on veterinarians and their teams are increasing and we need more cheerleaders and advocates. Those of us who escape from burnout and compassion fatigue have one thing in common, we have learned how to create healthy boundaries. So there you go, the final link to our blog name, Vets without Boundaries.
Thanks for joining us on this journey, may it inspire you to redefine your own boundaries!