Learning and Helping at TVMA

I recently had the opportunity to attend the TVMA Annual Conference & Expo, here at the new Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex, which included lectures, workshops, a tradeshow, and committee meetings. As a veterinary student, I was privileged enough to benefit from this experience and was even able to help with the event.

On Friday, I was lucky enough to serve as one of the student representatives on the Bovine Practitioner Committee. A group of bovine practitioners meet at least twice every year to discuss issues important to their industry and make recommendations to the TVMA on issues that affect them. It was an eye-opening experience to see how these veterinarians interacted with each other, and I learned about emergent issues in the bovine health field that I was not previously aware of, such as an outbreak of fever ticks, the upcoming sunset review, and the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).

On Saturday, I assisted as a moderator in two Continuing Education (CE) programs. Veterinarians are required to earn a certain amount of CE credit hours each year to retain their licenses. This requirement ensures that regardless of how long a veterinarian has been out of school, he or she is still up-to-date on the current advancements in veterinary medicine. Medicine is a constantly evolving field, and clinicians want to make sure they are giving the highest standard of care based on what is currently known. Veterinarians never stop learning. I was able to benefit by listening to some of these CE talks and learn something, as well.

My first CE talk was on backyard poultry. I’m not really the biggest fan of most avian species. I had a pet cockatiel as a child that wasn’t exactly the nicest, and I think it turned me off birds a bit. Consequently, I have more of a gap in my avian knowledge than for other species and thought it’d be a good experience to learn more about them. I couldn’t have asked for a better speaker, as Dr. Patricia Wakenell, from Purdue University, put on not only a very informative lecture, but an extremely entertaining one, as well. She was a wonderful speaker and touched on a multitude of common infections found in backyard poultry. Between the factual information and her anecdotes, I greatly expanded my knowledge on avian health. During lunch, as a member of the Veterinary Business Management Association, I was able to network with some veterinarians who are looking for new associates for their practices in the near future. Afterward, I moderated a CE talk over oxygen therapy and fluid administration for veterinary technicians. This was useful for me, as I currently am taking anesthesia and will soon take surgery, and these are two topics that are critical to the success of many cases.

I’m so happy I took the time off from studying for my usual exams to attend this conference. I’m already looking forward to next year’s. There is a conference in September—the Southwest Veterinary Symposium (SWVS), which is a partnership between Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas—provides CE for veterinary professionals in the southwest region, and I am planning on attending that, as well. I’m so thankful for the many opportunities to learn both in the classroom and outside of it, and I can’t wait for my next one!