Stephanie Timmons: UK – Class of 2013
Principal Veterinary Surgeon at VetsNow
Why did you choose to study at The University of Edinburgh?
I was born and grew up in Edinburgh and was always aware of the excellent reputation the university held, in particular the Vet School. My father and grandfather were both Edinburgh Dental School Alumni. Originally I envisioned moving away from Edinburgh as I felt that part of the experience of going to University was to be away from home. At the time of my vet school application, I secured a work placement in the Edinburgh Equine Hospital and was there for a week. The staff and students were all so welcoming and that changed my whole perception about staying in Edinburgh. In reality, being an undergraduate in Edinburgh was completely different from growing up there and it did feel like I was in a new city and experiencing many new things.
How did the R(D)SVS contribute to your career choices?
The R(D)SVS gave us a very varied and broad education in all areas throughout our training, and particularly in Final Year our rotations exposed us to many specialties and allowed us to experience these first hand. I think this was an excellent way of teaching as it gave us an idea of what could potentially be the next stage in our career and where our interests lay. It is difficult to know early on what you want to do in your career and I changed my mind throughout my undergraduate studies due to exposure to lots of different areas of the profession.
What is your present occupation?
I am the Principal Veterinary Surgeon at VetsNow in Liverpool, and work in Emergency and Critical Care. After a year in General Practice I decided I wanted something more and wanted to challenge myself so did the Cutting Edge programme with VetsNow and have been working in ECC ever since. I am currently studying towards further qualifications and doing a Postgraduate certificate in Emergency and Critical Care.
Did your EMS placements help you in determining the field of veterinary medicine you wanted to pursue professionally?
I did a lot of very varied EMS placements in both large (farm and equine) and small animal practice in the UK and USA, and within these areas did a variety of general and specialist work. I had a real passion and interest for orthopaedics as an undergraduate (and still do) and in fact Emergency and Critical Care was not something I could see myself doing. It was only until I started practising that I realised how much I enjoyed it. I think it is difficult to know 100% what area of interest you truly have until you are making decisions, forming treatment plans, diagnosing conditions and being responsible for the patient yourself.
The R(D)SVS gave us a very varied and broad education in all areas throughout our training, and particularly in Final Year our rotations exposed us to many specialties and allowed us to experience these first hand
Can you tell us of any personal or professional achievements in your career progression?
I am now the Principal Veterinary Surgeon of a busy Emergency/Out of Hours clinic and have been for the past year. I am currently studying towards my postgraduate certificate in Emergency and Critical Care. I passed the NAVLE exam in addition to my finals in my 5th year of University and did 3 months’ worth of EMS in a small animal Hospital in Arizona as part of my elective in Final Year.
If you could offer some advice to prospective students what would it be?
Use your EMS as an opportunity to travel the world, see new places and meet new people! This will not only give you excellent clinical experience and potentially open up future possibilities, but also allow you to experience the world and develop essential life and social skills which will aid your career as a Veterinary Surgeon.