Women ‘Slaying’ it in the Veterinary Industry

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min | Last Updated: June 14th, 2022

The veterinary workforce has backflipped – a once previously male-dominated profession now has more women occupying positions in vet practices around Australia.

What’s Changed?

What’s changed over time to shift this once male-dominated industry? Women in the veterinary profession are slowly becoming more empowered by their workplaces to grow their careers and focus on their family lives – and it’s about time.

In a study conducted by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) in 2016, 80% of vet science graduates and 60% of practitioners were female.
Following this, the AVA study conducted in 2018 found that most veterinary activities were undertaken by more women than men.

At Animal Emergency Service we have intentionally shifted the balance, with a number of women in key roles throughout our after-hours animal hospitals.

Passion – Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes with white dog‘Challenging’ is a word veterinarian and Bondi Vet TV personality Dr Alex Hynes knows well.

Dr Hynes is also a mother, and juggles life as a shift-working veterinarian, hospital Director, author and educator – all alongside her busy filming schedule and obligations for the hit TV series.

“It is challenging, but when you’re doing something that you’re passionate about and you’re supported by an amazing team then there is no limit to what can be achieved,” Dr Hynes says of working at Animal Emergency Service.

“There are a whole host of women in our hospitals juggling commitments just like mine, and not one of us is any different from the other. We all have special roles to fill in both our work and family lives, and I feel privileged to be in a position to be able to lead changes in our workplace in support of these roles.”

Dedication – Dr Brooke Schampers

Dr Brooke Schampers with brown dogSpeaking of supporting team members in their endeavours, Alex also mentors veterinarian Dr Brooke Schampers, who, just two years out of university, has launched her own e-book and toured the Caribbean to bring much needed emergency, professional development lectures, and CPR certification to overseas vets.

She quotes on her instagram @doctor_brooke: “I don’t believe in LUCK. I believe in hard work, dedication, passion and intentionality. Making a conscious decision each day to relentlessly work towards a goal… The position I am in, the vet I am, it’s not lucky, it’s focus, resilience and habit building.”

Work-Life Balance – Dr Ellie Leister

In every corner, women occupy important roles in the animal hospitals and Dr Ellie Leister, manages a team of 22 vets and nurses who staff the busy 24/7 Pet Intensive Care Unit caring for the most critical patients in the hospital.

Dr Ellie LeisterIn addition to the role of intensive care veterinarian, Dr Leister has produced numerous publications and conducted the largest ever case series to date in the well-respected Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, bringing new information to light about the treatment of tick paralysis in cats.

“We currently have a majority female team at the Pet ICU, and together we are on a journey to provide the best care for our patients. Yes, shift work is tough on the team, and so is rostering a 24/7 hospital,” says Dr Leister.

“Our team is tight-knit, and we are there for each other in the toughest of days, in both a professional and personal capacity. We are constantly working to improve the work-life balance of the 24/7 team.”

Making it Happen – Practice Manager Lisa Thurston

Practice Manager Lisa Thurston with catIf you’re not yet convinced that females in the veterinary industry are dedicated to advancing their professional careers while enjoying family life, Carrara’s Animal Emergency Service Practice Manager Lisa Thurston is a prime example.

“For 17 years, emergency nursing was my career. Giving up work when I started a family just wasn’t an option for me, even though it meant working night shifts with only a few hours rest before waking up to my twins and toddler,” Lisa explains.

“I had a turning point where I had worked a huge night shift and just as I climbed into bed in the morning and closed my eyes, I could hear shrieking and realised my twins were awake. When I opened the door to investigate, they had both pulled off their full nappies and had been throwing and playing in the content. There was poop everywhere, from the rails of the cots to the folds of their earlobes.”

After closing the door and sliding down to the floor to cry with exhaustion, Lisa made the tough choice not to phone her husband (who was away for work at the time) and tell him to get the next flight home.

“As I sat there, I thought, I have to get up and do this, because if I don’t, who else is going to do it for me? My mentality is that if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen, no matter what your career. If you want to be a working mother, make it happen!”

Interested in a career at Animal Emergency Service? Find out how to become part of the Animal Emergency Service family and explore current vacancies.

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