Meagan Gonzales is a 2nd year veterinary student at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas, USA
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to attend one of the most revolutionary international veterinary student conferences - WikiVet LIVE! As a member of the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) for the past 2 years, I was super excited to be able to further connect with so many incredibly talented international veterinary professionals and expand my personal knowledge of the veterinary field.
First, let me touch a bit on the platform used - Adobe Connect. I have never used this platform before, and considering my laptop is from 2009, I was a bit nervous that I would have technical difficulties. Luckily, this was not the case. During the lecture streams, you could hear the speakers clearly, follow along with their PowerPoint presentations on the screen, ask questions in the chat section, and use easy tools to notify the speaker of issues, such as speech speed or volume. Hosting an online conference is a huge task to take on, but WikiVet did a fantastic job mediating any and all issues that arose by moderating every session.
Although I was not able to attend all the speaker sessions due to work, I was able to tune into a few. One of the lectures I attended was “Crisis management in anesthesia - what can we learn from airline pilots?” by Colin Dunlop and Nathan Koch. His lecture outlined a side-by-side comparison of anesthetic protocols with aviation protocols. I think it was interesting analyzing the views of a professional from a different field of study and being able to relate that to the veterinary field. I would not have normally thought of the aviation field as having any similar aspects to anesthesiology. In the airline industry, they were able to drastically reduce the accident rate by following a standardized protocol. One aspect of this protocol included having one person read the tasks while another person confirmed that they were done. This makes sure everyone knows what is going on and reduces the chance of one person missing something. As veterinary professionals, we know that there are many risks involved with anesthesia, including those due to staff oversight or error. If we were to adapt some of these aviation techniques, we might be able to help reduce some of those risks. It can help us be more vigilant at monitoring and be able to notice warning signs quicker. Like they said in the lecture, “Just because we have been doing something the same way for years does not mean it is the best way or the correct way.”
Another lecture I attended was “Rhythm and blues: A story of arrhythmias and cyanosis” by Maureen McMichael. Unfortunately, I tuned in late in the lecture stream for this one so I missed most of it. From what I did watch, I was very impressed. I thought it was super cool that they showed ultrasound views of the heart to show how cardiac arrhythmias looked in real time. As a second year veterinary student who finds it difficult to accurately hear and diagnose such arrhythmias, I found this lecture very helpful. I especially loved the fact that she used interactive polls throughout her presentation so that we could get a chance to test our knowledge.
Overall, I really enjoyed this conference. I was able to go and come as I pleased and tune in at times that were convenient for me. I was also able to watch while in my pajamas in the comfort of my own home. As a person who often feels uncomfortable when having to dress in business apparel for conferences, the no dress code option was a big plus for me. I would highly recommend attending WikiVet Live! in years to come!