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So Many Other Things: The Reality of Veterinary Practice - Part 1

Posted in So Many Other Things... @ Nov 29th 2018 - By Michael Weinhardt, Michael Weinhardt Photography
So Many Things The Reality Of Veterinary Practice Part 1

Holding a mirror to the veterinary industry to show the realities you work with every day.

I came across Michael Weinhardt's 'So Many Other Things' photographic essay and accompanying articles a couple of weeks ago. I was drawn to the honesty in his photos taken during the months he spent photographing events at Brudine Veterinary Hospital, and I knew I really wanted to publish and share them with the Vetanswers community.

Michael's aim was to produce a "...long-form photographic documentary that relates what working in a busy veterinary practice looks like - the highs, lows, challenges, day-to-day, unusual and extraordinary." I'm confident that as we publish each part of his project, you'll agree that's exactly what he has achieved.

I also believe that apart from the comfort you can take from possibly recognising yourself in these photos, the project is an important one to share with veterinary students and the wider community both of whom would benefit from discovering the joys and challenges that occur during 'a day in the life of a suburban veterinary practice'.  - Judy

Image above: 7:42 am. Long-time client, Louise Dobson, brings Rubi in for surgery today. 16 March, 2018. Brudine Veterinary Hospital, Charnwood, ACT.

So Many Other Things: The Reality of Veterinary Practice

- Part 1 The Introduction

It took me a couple of months at the Brudine Veterinary Hospital, a small/exotic animal practice in Canberra, to glimpse the essential truths of veterinary practice.

Although, reading James Herriot might have given a head start; in “If Only They Could Talk”, Herriot observes:

“If only vetting just consisted of treating sick animals. But it didn’t. There were so many other things.”

Those many other things exist ­­at the intersection of science and practice and human complexity, and successfully navigating them depends on many skills beyond just treating sick animals.

The development of those skills appears most intense during the first couple of years of work, as students begin their transition to practitioners. The learning curve seems almost vertical. There are many rewards, challenges and foundational experiences along the way. There are risks too, the extent of which is often discussed in conjunction with the statistic that the suicide rate among vets is four times higher than the general population.

How does anyone prepare for a job like that, especially young people who might study veterinary science or veterinary nursing based on good grades or a love of animals?

Work experience is considered important, if not requisite.

In the photographic world, work experience is roughly analogous to “embedding”, which gives photographers a deeper understanding of the subjects and their stories through proximity and time.

This introduction and the subsequent topics to be published accompany the photographic essay I shot and relate what I learned embedding with the staff and clients of Brudine, from December 2017 to July 2018.

7:27 am. Trainee Nurse Claire Goodlock (left) and Head Nurse Stephanie Robertson start work half an hour before opening to prepare the practice. 16 March 2018. Brudine Veterinary Hospital, Charnwood, ACT.

7:44 am. Dr Deborah Williams (Brudine Veterinary Hospital Co-owner) reviews the appointment schedule before 8:00am opening. 20 December, 2017. Brudine Veterinary Hospital, Charnwood, ACT.


Click here to visit the 'So Many Other Things..' Blog Category to read the rest of the series

About Michael - in his words...

I make long-form photographic essays that are faithful to my subjects and their stories.

I have spent a decade in the USA, Peru, Cuba, and Australia, covering stories about people whose lives I can't not be interested in.

Most recently, I completed a photographic documentary about the reality of veterinary practice, called SO MANY OTHER THINGS. It was shot over a year and released on September 24, 2018.

Previously, I spent from 2012 to 2015 documenting music and friendship in an Australian metal band, FRANKENBOK. 

Other stories I've photographed over the last 10 years can be found in my ARCHIVE.

Contact Michael via: Website -  So Many Other Things


Gillian Shippen @ Nov 30th 2018 9:58am
I look forward to more
Judy @ Nov 30th 2018 12:17pm
Thanks Gillian - I'm really excited to be sharing this series with our Community :)
lisa blair @ Dec 2nd 2018 6:57am
Thanks for sharing Judy, looking foward to this. I suspect it will have some important insights

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