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My Veterinary Story – by Dr. Brooke Schampers

Grants for Heartworm Research
Grand Opening of a Veterinary Heart Center

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a vet, and somewhere along the lines I just never changed my mind. I was the crazy kid that would beg to pat the neighbor’s dog and chase after every stray animal and return them home. It was the dream that drove me, I started working in clinics as a kennel hand and nurse during high school and met some incredible professionals which only intensified my passion. puppy hug

corgi hugTime has flown by, I studied veterinary science at James Cook University in northern Queensland. Originally from Brisbane, I moved to Townsville straight after high school – to a university of country kids and the daily temperature was always 30 degrees Celsius. It was five years of stress and tears but amazing memories. Vet school certainly isn’t easy and although people warn you of the challenges, nothing quite prepares you for the pain of studying for eight weeks straight – 18 hours a day in the lead up to exams. No one warns you that even though you had straight A’s in high school – failure is common in veterinary science because vet school is HARD. I slowly learned that just to pass is an incredible effort, and failing one quiz is ok. I learned to forgive myself and alter my mindset to focus on happiness and balance rather than punishing myself for not getting 100% on an exam.

Vet school afforded me incredible experiences from spending two weeks on a dairy farm with my best friends for traveling to America doing six weeks of emergency and critical care externships in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Evidently, I have an addiction to the ER life.

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In the second year, I was fortunate enough to spend a few days doing a placement with Dr. Alex Hynes and Dr. Gerardo Poli at the Animal Emergency Service. It came at a time where I was unsure of the kind of vet to be – large/small animal or research – the list is endless. Within half an hour, I had this feeling in my core that emergency medicine and critical care was exactly where I wanted to be. There was something about the adrenaline and unpredictable nature of ER that captured my heart. So every holiday, I returned back to AES for more experience and at the start of the final year, Dr. Alex asked if I would like to do an internship with her on graduation.

puppy recovery It was a huge leap of faith, and many people warned against doing an emergency internship straight after university for the fear of being overwhelmed, too focused, not having enough background experience or having a poor life balance. I can honestly say I have never once regretted my decision. I am so fortunate to work with an incredible team of people who provide support 24/7 and perform at the highest level of medicine and surgical care.

samoyedSure, there are downsides including a high rate of euthanasia and long hours if you have a busy shift. But the good aspects far outweigh the bad and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I work three to four night shifts a week and spend my spare time writing patient stories for the Animal Emergency Service and as part of my internship, there are weekly tutorials with Dr. Gerardo Poli. Other than that, I love being at the gym and am addicted to weekly brunches which do my bank account no favors. I find time to sleep in between everything and I love that I can share my veterinary experience via my Instagram. Hopefully, I can inspire and assist other veterinary and vet tech students on their journey.