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Becoming a regional representative

27 Nov 2019 | Emma Callaghan


Emma Callaghan tells us how she came close to leaving the veterinary profession but found motivation and purpose by becoming a BVA regional representative.

Becoming a regional representative Image

Close to leaving the profession

Two years ago, I was working as a locum vet and it would be fair to say I was somewhat lacking in direction in my career. I had been working in small animal practice since qualifying in 2004 having always dreamed of becoming an equine vet. Life had taken its twists and turns, and I found myself wondering what I could do to really enjoy my job again.

I was exploring my options which included thoughts of emigrating, specialising, and I even had come very close to leaving the veterinary profession altogether to pursue a postgraduate qualification never to return.

At that time, I had been fortunate to become involved in the charity The Vet Trust, which provides funding to vets and nurses for CPD and hosts an annual conference in Stirling. Through this volunteer role I had been introduced to Kathleen Robertson, the regional representative for BVA Scotland at the time. Kathleen had mentioned the BVA vacancy and so I decided I had nothing to lose in applying.

Learning about BVA's work

I had become more and more aware of BVA's work and I felt motivated to get involved, and hopefully feel part of a wider movement to work towards improving animal welfare matters, in particular, those visible in small animal general practice. I was impressed by the work of BVA to tackle issues of relevance to the whole profession and it appealed to me to think that general practitioners could input a voice from the coalface.

Getting involved with BVA and being elected as the Scottish regional representative has been the most incredible opportunity for me and I can say that it has in fact been career, and probably life, changing. I have met so many interesting, kind, and encouraging people. From the very first meeting at Mansfield Street, where the regional representatives had our first training and induction, I felt welcome. It would be easy to feel intimidated during Council meetings with so many knowledgeable people in the room, and I did at first, but I realised that we all have a role to play and it is important for general practice vets to have their views represented. It has been my privilege to attend Council meetings and speak on behalf of the members in Scotland. In addition to attending Council I have also had the opportunity to speak at local Young Vet Network events and attend working groups as a BVA representative.

It has been humbling to see how hard the staff at BVA headquarters work on behalf of the 18,000 BVA members: people who are not vets or nurses, and yet the care, attention to detail, and energy they put in to working on our behalf has been one of the real pleasures of my experience as a regional representative. This drive has also encouraged me to contribute and helped me to feel that I am part of a bigger picture working for a better profession and to champion animal welfare. Learning about the different species groups when reviewing BVA position statements has also helped to remind me of my days at vet school and why I wanted to be a vet in the first place.

A life changing move

Having found myself lacking direction just two years ago, I am now happily staying very much in and part of the veterinary profession and I have BVA to thank for much of that. I would really like to encourage anyone interested in applying for the regional representative positions, it really could change your life.

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