Farm vet Emily Craven is thriving in her role as ruminant clinical director at Oakwood Veterinary Group and has not allowed autism to hold her back.
Here, as we mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Emily reveals the support she’s received from VetPartners to enjoy a flourishing career….
I love my career as a farm vet and I am very grateful to VetPartners’ support for helping me to carve a role that I enjoy.
We all have different skill sets and enjoy different parts of the job, but I feel that it’s the benefit of working as part of a larger group that enables us to focus on the aspects we enjoy most. It allows us to work with colleagues across the business to develop areas of interest.
For me, that has involved doing a lot more of the health planning side of my role at practice level and also being able to explore further areas of learning and research because I am not someone that thrives on the unknown (most likely linked to my autism).
Not only has VetPartners encouraged me to continue my learning and to develop my career, they have also been extremely supportive of me as someone who has autism.
I don’t feel that it has ever been an issue anyway as within VetPartners everyone is treated as an individual. We are not all expected to fit into the same box. We are encouraged to follow our passions with other like minded members within the wider group.
I have been extremely lucky within VetPartners as they have supported me in extra learning as well.
Before Covid hit I completed my Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) but had always wanted to learn more about welfare and ethics. An idle google search and a few emails at the beginning of lockdown showed that I could do a Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law with the University of Edinburgh.
I knew I wouldn’t cope well with too much time on my hands if workload dropped with lockdown, so I enrolled in haste with VetPartners support.
It turned out that the workload didn’t really drop at all but I’m still enjoying the course anyway and have been very lucky that the company have given me an enhanced CPD budget to pursue it.
I was lucky enough to win the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Young Vet of the Year award in 2019 and this wouldn’t have happened if my supportive boss hadn’t taken the time to write the entry citation for me. It’s something that I hope I can pass on to others and enjoy seeing vets grow and develop through VetPartners.
An important part of working at VetPartners for me is having a wide network of colleagues to talk to. On a basic level this can be as simple as going online and asking for advice with a case you are dealing with.
Rather than the handful of colleagues in your own practice, there is access to hundreds of other vets. This huge pool of knowledge in turn helps us provide the best possible service for our clients and their livestock.
Not only is this wider contact with colleagues from throughout VetPartners personally supportive but it can also lead to exciting developments like Project FEET. I have been leading this through being the Mobility Special Interest Group lead, and thanks to support from CEVA animal health, we have gathered evidence among colleagues about lameness in dairy cows which we are hoping to publish. This is a process that I am really enjoying and isn’t necessarily a skill or task that I would have been able to enjoy without the support of VetPartners.
Emily Craven joined Oakwood Veterinary Group in Norfolk as the ruminant clinical director in 2019 following six years with Westpoint Farm Vets, which is also part of VetPartners. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her horse Tim and is a qualified athletics technical official, judging at a far higher level than she ever managed to compete at!
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