One of my favourite idioms is ‘if you want something doing, ask a busy person’. Well there’s busy, and then there’s organising an international, online, 24 hour veterinary education event whilst balancing 3 part time jobs! My poor husband has been living off pot noodles for months now (just kidding - he’s an excellent cook and is very sympathetic to the cause, luckily for me!).
So how does working on WikiVet LIVE! fit into life as a practising vet you might wonder? Well there is a surprising amount of synergy between my various roles. I am the head vet at large and very busy RSPCA Wildlife Hospital, and through this role, run an exotics and wildlife clinical rotation for final year vet students at the University of Liverpool. This has provided me with invaluable insight into what clinical vet students in the UK look for in their extra curricular resources. Running weekly teaching seminars and face to face training with the students has been invaluable throughout the organisation of WikiVet LIVE! These have served as wonderfully informal weekly focus groups, and the students have helped to generate ideas and suggestions for the event at every step of the journey. Hopefully having input from students will mean that the event appeals throughout the student population and isn’t just something that we as their teachers ‘think’ should appeal. Of course I take the opportunity to tell them all about the event every week, and seeing their enthusiasm and genuine excitement when they hear about WikiVet LIVE! has been really encouraging - and at times when we were left wondering whether we could pull it off, they convinced me it was all worthwhile.
As may be evident from my roles within WikiVet and WikiVet LIVE!, I am passionate about veterinary education. My particular field of interest is exotics and wildlife and I make an effort to involve myself in teaching and training in all of my roles, both with undergraduates and qualified vets and nurses. I am involved with the clinical teaching at Nottingham Vet School, both the exotics elective placement at Chine House, where I work as a part time exotics clinician, and their emergency and critical care teaching through a part time role at a Vets Now emergency clinic. I also run regular CPD events and training sessions both for students and vets in practice, and through this have developed a good understanding of the coordination required for smaller scale training events - although nothing could have prepared me for an event as big as WikiVet LIVE!
Since my first veterinary job, working in East Africa and developing a ‘students as global citizens’ module at the Royal Veterinary College, and subsequent regular ‘busman’s holidays’ working all over Asia and Africa, I have always felt a strong responsibility and desire to be involved in international collaborative learning. WikiVet LIVE! Is a wonderful opportunity and an excellent way for me to involve myself in veterinary education and international outreach and collaboration whilst also giving something back to the vets of the future, especially those who may come from schools with fewer resources to hand
The round the clock nature of the event (and we are starting to realise how ambitious a 24-hour congress is for our first foray into the world of webinars!) is going to make for a long night. However, the saviour of the busy person is multitasking. Whilst the event has been designed specifically to appeal to students - both clinical and preclinical, I am fully planning on racking up 24 hours of high quality CPD, much of which will be very relevant to my work in practice - two birds with one stone (probably not a phrase I should be using as a wildlife vet!).
Time management is definitely an area that I have had to work on over the last year - not only is there a lot of work involved in coordinating WikiVet LIVE, but there is the added complication of working with three regional teams from around the globe, meaning middle of the night and early morning committee meetings, and waking up to a full inbox every morning. Speaking of which - it is pinging again now…