Natalia Strokowska, DVM, MRCVS, Non-domesticated animal specialist, PhD Candidate at Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland. Business owner and entrepreneur. I teach Medical English to vets and students (www.veterinaryenglish.com) and organize exotic pet conferences and workshops (www.furryvets.com). I used to work and volunteer on five continents and visited 71 countries. I love travelling in the footsteps of animals and explore new places. I enjoy sports (cross fit, pole dance, yoga) as well as electronic and techno music (clubbing and music festivals). I love teaching others and share my experiences on my Instagram account @vetnolimits.
Why did you decide to become a vet?
Because I wanted to do a work that is socially useful and appreciated. The work that requires both intellectual and physical strength. I wanted to improve myself every day, never get bored and never be good enough to sit and say ‘now I know everything’.
Where did you study?
I was studying at Warsaw University of Life Sciences and I am currently during PhD program there. I liked the flexibility I had during summer and winter holidays – If I have managed my schedule and exams well I was able to go on travelling and volunteering for few weeks.
What does your veterinary work include?
I am mostly consulting, diagnosing and performing minor soft tissue surgeries in domestic pets. I hold a certificate in non-domesticated species, so I am always happy to see exotic patients referred to me. I enjoy all aspects of veterinary medicine – from diagnostic imaging, laboratory diagnostics to emergency and internal medicine.
Tell us more about your TEDx talks?
I was honored to be a speaker on TEDxWarsaw in 2014. I spoke about “Interspecies communication” and the difficulties of our profession. I wanted to show the audience the difficulties and highlights of our work. The stress we handle, compassion fatigue and terrible burden that some of us pay their life with. This is beautiful profession and way of living. It can be a great gift but also a huge responsibility to be able to finish and bring back new life.
How do you combine travelling and being a vet?
I have my own company in Poland teaching Medical English and organising conferences and workshops for vets, and I am finishing my PhD studies. I have enough time to locum in UK while having some free time between current projects. That’s how I can mix academic, professional and entrepreneurial career with one of my greatest passion which is travelling in the footsteps of animals. In 2 weeks time I am going on a mission to Borneo and Asia for over 4 months. I am excited!
What do you think about veterinary medicine becoming a female oriented profession?
Absolutely agree in terms of small animal market. Dogs and cats became extremely popular, and less physically demanding work with small animals opened new niche for women. We are hard working, extremely motivated and devoted to our work. Sadly there are few downsides of this phenomenon – women agree for lower wages, which destroys our work market dramatically (in Poland for sure), sadly many times I see women competing with each other rather than supporting themselves in teams, many times they have problems to say no and let the work drain them easily. It’s a straight way to burnout, especially when you don’t have any other passion than veterinary medicine.
Tell us more about your furryvets.com project?
This is our latest baby. This project is exclusively designed for exotic pet vets and delivers high quality and reasonable in price conferences and workshops. So far we organized first bunny conference, small mammal cytology workshops and in December we will have a great guinea pig congress – workshops, lectures and masterclasses.
Do you have any advice for the future vets?
Stay humble. There are always better ones than you, so be kind, thankful and learn from them with smile on your face. Don’t give up – I was also frustrated dozens of times while being in vet school. Genius is a person who works when other sleeps. It’s not a matter of how good are others – is a matter how much time they spent on studying something. When they rejected your CV think why it had happened. Ask your peers to review it, native speaker for grammar, watch tutorials on YouTube. And CALL them if they got it or if they look for volunteers/interns’ externs etc. Get the right e-mail address and personalize your message. Watch my YouTube VETNOLIMITS webinar if you still are not sure if your CV is good enough 🙂
What are your goals for the future?
I had a bet with my friend that we will visit 100 countries before being 50 years old. So far I am 28 and 71 visited. 😉 My goals are already happening. I would still like to live the life like now. Travel, develop myself, learn new skills, run my business, teach and be better every day. I would love to still show people that if we want something, press the reality to the limits and the magic will happen. There is always a time for work and pleasure. I love my work, but I am not maniac and I love my free time even more. I work to live, not live to work. And I would love to still have a choice – have this great sensation of freedom and being totally independent.
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Finally in the 3rd International Conference on Avian Herpetological and Exotic Mammal Medicine (ICARE) in Venice where I proudly represent my Alma Mater @sggw_wuls with our two posters – one in Baylisascaris case in skunk and second in computed tomography in dental disease in degus. Tomorrow will give a speech in radiology of MBD in marmosets. Spending a day in the small mammal session and listening the best specialists in the world talking about interesting cases, research, diagnostic techniques and technological advancements rodents and lagomorphs. So excited to be here and thankful to my colleagues without whom these presentations wouldn't be possible! Cheers and thanks to @exotic_vet_warchulska who is one of the co-authors and my colleague from uni for positive energy and scientific collaboration. #vetlife #research #studying #university #phd #phdlife #phdstudent #vetmed #vetcollege #vetstudent #parasites #prasitology #weterynaria #congress #venice #italy #happy #geek #proud #veterinarymedicine #exoticpet #exoticpets #poster #sggw
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