“I definitely think that going to these conferences and meeting with all these different doctors from all over the country shows that PetIQ has a niche to fill in the preventive medicine world.”
Conference season is on the horizon, and it can be hard to plan how to make the most out of each conference. PetIQ’s own Dr. Friend and Dr. O’Connor share tips on maximizing your time at veterinarian conferences.
What are the benefits of attending veterinarian conferences?
From continuing education (CE) courses to the exhibit halls, conferences have a lot to offer. For a newly graduated veterinarian, conferences can provide you with an opportunity to network and gain valuable experience from members of the veterinarian community. For established veterinarians, continuing education courses can keep you up to date with developments in the field. And for everyone, the exhibit hall provides the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners, learn about employment opportunities and share insights.
How do you make the most out of CE courses?
Try to focus on CE courses that are relevant to your clinical setting. While it may be tempting to try to attend every talk you can, there simply won’t be time — and you should make sure to save plenty of time for exploring the exhibit hall and networking with other veterinarians. Taking notes is a vital skill. Even if you don’t find you have time to refer back to them, taking the notes will help the information sink in. Our veterinarians also recommend attending CE courses on practice management, even if you aren’t in a management position currently. CE courses are a great way to gain knowledge that will help you develop your career, and practice management is an essential skill for that and can help you develop skills to organize and motivate your colleagues.
Additionally, consider taking some courses that focus on work-life balance. These courses can help keep you and your team motivated and provide wisdom on navigating demanding clients or stress management issues. At PetIQ, we care about veterinarians’ work-life balance and encourage them to make it a priority to take these CE courses to gain the skills they need to make their dream job a reality.
How should recent graduates and current students approach conference season?
Don’t worry too much about CE courses at your first conference. As a recent graduate or student, you’ve had plenty of lectures and talks in recent memory. Of course, if something catches your eye and you have the time for it, stop in at a CE talk, but your big priority at your first few conferences should be networking and learning more about the veterinary world. Spend plenty of time in the exhibit hall, chatting with experienced veterinarians and learning from companies and practices about how they operate. This way, you’ll be able to gain valuable wisdom and experience from established veterinarians, expand your professional network early on in your career and learn more about the kind of veterinary practice you want to work for.
For recent grads and current students, the exhibit hall is as great a source of knowledge as CE courses are, so make sure you spend plenty of time there. If you’re having a great conversation with an experienced veterinarian, don’t abandon it to go to a CE talk. With many of the bigger conferences, you can purchase materials and conference proceedings for the CE courses, but you don’t have the option to catch up on a missed networking opportunity!