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Vets North; A Students Perspective

As usual, the supposedly relaxing holiday to Marrakech with my other half had been rather fast-paced, consisting of me racing around the souks and other tourist traps. To end this well earnt break we decided to catch a late night flight and slowly drive home from Gatwick the next day. Well that was the plan, until I decided to put a giant spanner in the works and require a lift to Manchester early the next morning - its a good job he is an early bird! Shockingly, we actually arrived early to help set up for the Vets North conference the next day and we got to work. Other than the excitement of a temperamental escalator and trolleys with rather resistant wheels, set-up progressed smoothly and by the end I was feeling hungry!

Ashley, Jess and Me looking.. busy(?)

After a thoroughly enjoyable evening of incredibly varied and inspiring conversation with fantastic company, the wine caught up with us and we retired to bed before an early start the next day. It's strange to think that the people I ate and drank with so informally, have and are influencing the veterinary profession we see today. I do truthfully hope to be one of them after I graduate. Not in any fame-hunting pompous or egotistical way, but, *cringe* I really do hope to 'make a difference'.

This year, talks were varied as always with running themes of dentistry, cardiology, ophthalmology, neurology and dermatology and seminars covering topics from wildlife and exotics forensics to animal behaviour. Delegate attendance had increased from last year and from chatting to a few passers-by it seemed a lot of people had returned with more colleagues!

The other two stewards with me, Jess and Ashley are also from Liverpool. We all realised that, with a number of Leahurst based lecturers in attendance, that we have probably had a sneak preview into our 4th year clinical course.. bonus! Hopefully we will pass.. Only being 2nd year now, we have still not covered much with regard to clinical disease - however progress has been noted! We did understand the basics of most of the talks which is not bad in my book! Granted a few long words and drug names went straight over my head but just give me 3 more years of Pharmacology flashcard hell and I'll have that down. That all being said, I'm starting to worry about how long the 'I'm only a __ year' excuse will last - can it be dragged out until 4th year perhaps? Hmm..

During the next few days, when we weren't immediately needed, we snook into a number of talks to terrorise the audience with the microphone for questions. I took some comfort from the fact that an approaching microphone terrifies others as much as it does myself - at least I am not alone in this!

Ian Ramsey held a number of different talks, mainly within endocrinology, which we found to be wonderful revision, but one also on antibiotic usage. I thought the fact that both Vets North and AWF provided similar talks very telling. AMR has been a major 'buzz word' for a number of years now (I know, my mum is an infection control nurse....). Both these programs are guided by feedback from the delegates, and both reiterate my lectures on antimicrobials, however the questions from practitioners highlight the change of attitudes and teachings. Something that really surprised me was just how much a 'predicted' poor owner compliance plays in the prescription of antimicrobials, something which needs to be changed. Have faith in owners, vets of the world and as the Beautiful South said - take a little time..!

But much more shocking than AMR is how Cambridge produces any non-ophthalmology specialists with David Williams as a lecturer? My local Vet is a Cambridge grad with a love of eyes and certificates too, so perhaps it is not that uncommon! I managed to sit in on a number of his talks and thanks to one of our wonderful lecturers, I could answer all of the questions (major ego boost)!

Unfortunately, I could only sneek in to see the exotics forensics seminar, ran by Prof. John and Margaret Cooper at the end however in a short 5 minutes, my Latin vocabulary had developed tenfold from my previous knowledge of 'vice versa' and the names of the Roman Gods. Simultaneously, it seemed, I also learnt a number of field techniques and the actual interesting function of a microscope! Faecal smears here I come..

So before you nod off, I will wrap it up and make a cup of tea. My couple of days spent with the Vets North team was great fun. I don't think there is anywhere else where dinner, with such an eclectic bunch of people, becomes such an amusing education! If only school was as much fun I might not have spent so much time outside the Head Teachers office!


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