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Ep 24: Instilling Wellbeing in Vet Medicine With Dr. Marie Holowaychuk

Episode Details

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Veterinary specialist, speaker, consultant, and mental health & wellbeing advocate, Dr. Marie Holowaychuk, joins host Brendan Howard in this week’s episode of the Veterinary Business Success Show. 

Dr. Marie’s pathway into veterinary medicine started at a young age. She grew up working in her mother’s clinic in Canada, and before being accepted into veterinary school, had already worked as a kennel cleaner, receptionist, technician’s assistant, and veterinary assistant! However, despite her upbringing in general practice, Dr. Marie always felt like she had a calling for more. 

After graduating from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon in 2004, Marie moved to the USA where she discovered her love of emergency and critical care. Following this passion, Marie went on to qualify as a board-certified specialist in small animal emergency and critical care from North Carolina State University in 2008. This love of emergency medicine, combined with Marie’s passion for teaching, led to her accepting a teaching position as the Assistant Professor of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College. Marie stayed in this role for 5-years before moving to Calgary in 2014 to continue to practice small animal emergency and critical care whilst also locuming and volunteering on several committees.

However, despite doing what she loved, Marie still found herself burnt out. After getting into a car accident, Marie realized she needed a change. Instead, Marie put more of her energy into her personal and professional wellbeing. She obtained her Compassion Fatigue Training from the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Social Work, completed a Mental Health First Aid Training with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and gained her 200-hour yoga teacher training qualification. 

Now Marie is on a mission to change the pathway in veterinary medicine by raising awareness about mental health and wellbeing within the profession. Listen in to learn a little bit more about Dr. Marie Holowaychuk and how she could give you the tools to develop your wellbeing. 

Outline of this episode:

  • [01:23] The episode begins with Brendan asking Dr. Marie how she ended up in veterinary medicine with the career she has now. 
  • [05:06] Marie discusses her parents’ practice. 
  • [06:11] Brendan asks Marie if her parents displayed stress in a different way than she does and if this influenced her journey in veterinary medicine. 
  • [09:22] Marie discusses the impact having a car crash had on her and how it helped her self reflect and realize she needed a change. 
  • [12:27] How Marie’s car crash influenced her to change her speaking topics from academic subjects to wellbeing-related topics. 
  • [15:03] Ad break – sign up to our Leaders community. 
  • [16:02] The episode resumes with Brenan asking Dr. Marie how she handles ‘push back’ from people feeling unable to look after their own wellbeing. 
  • [20:59] Brendan asks Dr. Marie what she says to clients that struggle with feeling guilt around saying no or taking time off. 
  • [25:05] How does Dr. Marie help veterinary professionals that are burnt out? Can they come back from it?
  • [28:10] Marie discusses what has helped her mental health and how this can be different for everyone. 
  • [30:35] The episode wraps up. 

To access the extended bonus version of this episode, sign up to Leaders – a program aimed at veterinary leaders, practice managers, and owners – that will not only transform you as a leader but will help your practice flourish. 

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