FECAVA Wise Nuggets – Dr Thomas Flegel

New FECAVA Wise Nugget is here!

Thomas Flegel, dr. med vet, DECVN, graduated from Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany in 1992. After spending a few years in different university hospitals as well in small animal practices in Berlin, Thomas became a lecturer in small animal neurology at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of NC State University in Raleigh, USA. It was followed by a residency in veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at The Ohio State University. Since then, Thomas has been leading the Service for Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Department of Small Animal Medicine of the University of Leipzig in Germany.

Here are a few pieces of advice that he shared with us:

1.What advice would you offer to the younger vets?

Stay open minded to everything, don’t just accept what textbooks or old guys like me tell you. Question everything and find new ways to move our profession forward. You are our future!

2. If you could change one thing in your career, what would that be?

I would keep an eye on maintaining hobbies and spending time on other things I am interested in. There is so much more exciting in our world than just veterinary medicine. I am not sure if work-life-balance is the best term to be used here, since it implies that both, work and life are equally balanced, which might be impossible for vets. However, reserving time for other things I am interested in seems to be important to me.

3. How should young vets approach their early career?

Let’s assume you have already decided to be a practicing veterinarian, that is the only side of our profession I can make any recommendation on…if any at all. Go to a place where you can rotate through different fields of a practicing vet to find out what suits you best, it might not be what you had in mind when you were a student. Try to visit or work at different places to make that decision! At some point, you will have to decide for some subspecialty. Depending where you are in the world, you may not believe that, but you will have to specialize…that is the direction our profession is moving. You may not have to become the extreme specialist with a tunnel vision that can only treat ophthalmological diseases of snakes anymore (😊), but you will have to specialize in one or the other way to be ready for the future!

Read more about the initiative here.


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