Like most (all?) medical professionals in our state, veterinarians have a continuing education requirement. I’m not against it at all. It’s actually pretty staggering how much changes in the field from year to year. I’ve been out of school less than 10 years and I already feel like a grumpy old geezer when I go to these things- “Whaddya mean you’re not supposed to use steroids for trauma? In MYYYYY day, we slugged those guys with 2 bottles of solu delt! And they LIKED it!” (needs to be said in a Dana Carvey voice.)
On the other hand, it’s also kind of intimidating to sit there with your notebook and realize that all the stuff you spend sleepless nights committing to memory for 4 years is now invalid. I learned lots of great things about new anti-seizure medications; picked up a few techniques for dealing with fractious cats; spent an hour bemusedly watching a practice consultant unsuccessfully attempt to convince a room of 50 year olds that if they wanted to bring in the young uns, they need to stop paying for yellow page ads and start a Facebook page. He’s right, of course. I would venture probably 2 out of the 100 people in the room had a Facebook page, and maybe half of them knew what Facebook was, period.
I sat in on a surgery session, even though I hate surgery and try to avoid it as much as possible. I figure that is all the more reason to go and try and learn it a little better. The speaker was fabulous. He convinced me, personally, as though he were speaking DIRECTLY to me, that I could do a stenotic nares repair. I’m ready. It’s not a challenging surgery- au contraire, it’s actually pretty simple- but I worry about anything like the nose where your results will be staring you in the face every day if it is less than perfect. I am a huge surgery wuss. Learn by doing, they say. Next stertorous pug that comes through is All Mine.
I kept my ear open all weekend hoping to catch a hint of some debauchery- didn’t anyone go out drinking with the drug reps and end up naked in the hotel pool? I thought that’s what people did at conferences. Maybe that’s just in sales, though. The worst transgression I heard was a person who skipped out on the 3 pm lecture to go to Disneyland with her kid. What can I say? We’re a dull bunch. I was even worse- I holed up in my room at 6, ordered room service, and watched the So You Think You Can Dance results show. (Max got robbed, by the way.)
Lack of poor behavior aside, it was a very positive experience. It’s easy to get into a routine in this job, just like any other, and going to a weekend of learning is really re-energizing if you allow it to be. Of course, those who weren’t in the same state of zen snoozed in the back, and that’s OK too. Maybe they were hungover.