In this Alumni Spotlight we caught up with Amanda Lockard, graduate of the Veterinary Assistant training program who currently is employed at Wedington Animal Hospital in Arkansas.
What where you doing prior to enrollment? What made you enroll in school?
Prior to enrollment I had just finished high school. My entire life I had known I wanted to work in veterinary medicine. I even had a newspaper clipping of a Great Lakes advertisement saved. It was so old it had turned yellow by the time I was able to attend.
Where have you worked since you graduated and where do you currently work? What is your title?
Before I even graduated from Great Lakes, I was hired at Camboro Veterinary Hospital and worked there for over 5 years as an OPVN (Outpatient Veterinary Nurse). I recently moved to Arkansas and have been working at Wedington Animal Hospital for a little over a year now. At Wedington Animal Hospital I am a Certified Veterinary Assistant, and about 7 months ago I was also promoted to Shift Leader.
What types of things do you do there day to day?
Each day brings something new, but on a day-to-day basis I perform many of the same tasks. These may include performing treatments on hospitalized patients, helping the doctors in exam rooms, drawing up vaccines/injections, performing venipuncture and running lab work, taking radiographs, placing IV catheters, assisting with surgeries, filling and calling in prescriptions, discharging surgery or drop off patients, and even medicating any boarding pets.
What do you like about your career?
I absolutely love performing venipuncture and placing IV catheters. But most of all I enjoy nursing patients back to health. Being there for each patient and making them feel loved and comforted while they are sick. I also enjoy the fact that each day is so different, you never know what may walk through the clinic doors and that keeps things exciting.
What did you like most about attending Great Lakes? What did you like most about the Veterinary Assistant program?
All of the teachers were very knowledgeable, and more than willing to help. What I loved most about the veterinary assistant program was the fact that it is hands on. I learn best by being able to perform a particular task on my own. Being able to have small rodents in our classroom, bringing in our own pets to practice on and even visiting the local animal shelters to perform such tasks helped me a lot.
What are your career goals for the future?
I would love to become a certified veterinary technician in the future. I am currently enrolled in the Veterinary Technician program through Penn Foster. Having been working in the field for 6 years is definitely helping me with these online classes. There are no plans to ever change my career path, I couldn't imagine doing anything else that could possibly bring me as much joy.
What advice can you give current students and new graduates that can help them be successful?
The best advice I can give is to have a positive attitude and be confident in yourself. Put your all into your schooling and learn/do as much as you can when given the opportunity. Stay on top of your school work and try to always attend class. If working in veterinary medicine is truly your passion, it will drive you to want to learn everyday and enjoy what you do. Finally, don't ever be afraid to ask questions because veterinary medicine is always changing.