All posts by Michelle Larsen, DVM

A Conference Can Reignite a Passion

As an industry veterinarian, I attend many veterinary conferences. After the buzz from the first Veterinary Innovation Summit (VIS) in 2017, I eagerly signed up for the 2018 VIS. My experience was anything but disappointing.

The summit is designed to provide ample networking opportunities among large industry partners, entrepreneurial startups, key opinion leaders, and practitioners in an interactive, intimate setting.

This year there were three major themes:

  • Patients Like Us
  • The Human-Animal Bond
  • The Future of Practice Models and Ownership

Each theme is supported by group Ted-talk like presentations, followed by breakout sessions. Some breakout sessions involved telemedicine companies pitching their product or service, some tried to solve issues of incorporating new technology into practice, while others introduced brand new topics to veterinary medicine, such as blockchain and on-demand veterinary services using smart speakers.

I submitted a topic two weeks prior to the conference for an additional networking opportunity on a crowd-sourced topic, (in other words anyone willing with a good topic can speak at the conference). My topic, How to Simplify Telemedicine Practice, attempted to answer the important question of how to demonstrate the value of telemedicine to general practitioners.

Leading this discussion raised some answers and more questions, and the veterinary innovation council is open to hearing our suggestions. We must start answering these questions regarding new technology that our clients expect. If we do not, we risk our profession getting dragged along with the innovators, instead of creating solutions to our current problems or client and staff demands.

As I learned at the conference, innovation is only important if it is adopted. Innovation is only adopted if it can create value.C8Lt2ZTUwAI7cZJ

For those that are interested in being the change we wish to see in our profession, I highly encourage you to attend next years Veterinary Innovation Summit. I hope to see you there.

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Reflecting on 2017 and 2.5 years-Part 1

It has been so long since I used this site and blog that it took me 10 minutes to remember how to log in (thank goodness for Chrome passwords). In light of the time lapse, I will devote one post explaining that (if anyone cares), but the reason I decided to write today was to reflect on 2017.

2017 was no ordinary year for me personally or for the world politically. It went by extremely quickly and tumultuously, but with any year hopefully we learn and grow.

While a lot of my personal growth happened while I took an unplanned hiatus from this site to focus on personal matters, 2017 was the year I learned what being a parent and a partner means. On December 13, 2016, I became a mother to my daughter, Leah. I had dreamed of that moment for years and due to infertility, never imagined that dream would come true.  The first few months of 2017 were a blur of survival and sleep deprivation for everyone, with the steepest learning curve you can imagine. But I learned that nature takes over when you need it the most, and when you least expect it.

I learned what the human body is capable of and it is a miracle, even if it has happened billions of times before.

I learned to love in ways I never imagined possible and to experience feelings that did not exist within me for 37 years.

I learned how to forgive and unconditionally love my mom, now passed 6 years.

I finally and truly learned the meaning of “every day is a gift.”

I learned that I need at least 6 hours of sleep, but preferably 8-10 or I am inpatient, angry and not my best self.

I learned that I want to be my best self.

I learned that being a parent is my most important job, however, I still love veterinary medicine.

I learned that life is about falling down and those hard times because those are the times we grow. When we get through those and view them from the other side, it makes that other side feel ever more spectacular. That is what courage and vulnerability are made of and why they allow us to truly live this life.

I learned if you truly, truly want something with all your heart and devote your resources, you can achieve IT- whatever IT is. You may fail or fall down, but know something amazing is awaiting if you continue to follow your heart and gut to the other side.

For me and my family 2017 was a culmination of beauty, miracles, and gratefulness after 3+ years of grief, anger, darkness, and uncertainty. I know the darkness will come again at some point, but now I can truly enjoy the beauty that is my life and know when it comes that it will change and shape me in ways I get to decide.

2018 will be about exploring my place in veterinary medicine and actually taking the risks I need to get there. After all, I know something majestic is waiting for me on the other side.

 

AVMA Guest Blogger

The following is a link to my most recent blog post on AVMA@work on behalf of the AVMA Future Leaders. I have been missing from the website for health reasons as well as personal concerns. Have no fear I have several other posts in the works…

One veterinarian explores professional wellness

Meditation-Silhouette

The Vet School Scam Part II: Potential Solutions Brainstormed

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As my website name is Veterinary Brainstorm and the prior post brought up some terrific discussion, I will dedicate the following post to some proposed, potentially controversial solutions in a brainstorming format. Please take a moment to refresh yourself with Part I. Please note, I may or may not agree with these ideas. They are simply compiled from studies and discussions within the industry, and are listed to inspire more ideas, not to argue about what’s right and wrong.
During my VPI lectures to veterinary students across the country, I discuss ways to help our stagnant salary, which is currently reliant on discretionary income, meet the challenges of our exponentially rising student debt incurred by ever-rising tuition costs. The dilemma for them (and myself) is the debt is fixed, but we can alter our salaries in the short-term.

So the brainstorm session will commence focusing on 2 pieces of the puzzle:

  1. Student debt: How do we control it?

  2. Veterinary Salaries- How do we increase it in a socially responsible way?

Continue reading The Vet School Scam Part II: Potential Solutions Brainstormed

The “Vet- School” Scam

Atlantic

As a veterinarian passionate about practical veterinary education and student debt, I have supported the brand new Midwestern University’s Veterinary College that opened this Fall in my backyard of Glendale, AZ. A piece of me, however, is apprehensive about the future of this student class (annual tuition is $52, 400 excluding living expenses) and this new generation of practitioners, as we try to navigate the seas of exorbitant student debt coupled with stagnant salaries. Even scarier, is that these challenges could be heightened by research that indicates we may not need an ever-increasing number of veterinarians.

In Atlantic’s September 2014 Education Issue, “The Law School Scam, examines the crisis in legal graduate education. My jaw dropped as I read this article and realized that this is not a veterinary or law school issue; this is a graduate education in America issue. However, if the legal profession (where I wrongly assumed everyone makes six figures) is burdened, where does that leave veterinary medicine, the lowest paid health profession? Continue reading The “Vet- School” Scam