Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The musings of Dr Liz - Special vs Specialist

I am Dr Liz, and this series of my "musings" are just short (like me), sweet (not like me) musings.

And this musing is a little bit longer than most of them.

There are some days, if not months or years, when I wish that I hadn't spent the years studying hard at school to get into University, to enter a very difficult course, which is Veterinary Science, and then work my little heart out to graduate from that course.


  • Because to call myself a specialist, would see me lose my veterinary licence.
  • Because if I stop to help someone in an accident (and fortunately, have not needed to so far), would mean that I am at a higher risk of being sued if my assistance potentially makes things worse, or even if perceived to have made it worse).
  • Because I know that I was six years behind many of my high school colleagues in terms of income, and now that I am 47, I still have not caught up.

The thing that bothers me the most is not the lack of financial reward, or the risk of being sued - money does not drive me, and I would help anyone and everyone if I could... but I am upset that even despite all of the time I have spent with my own pets, the study I have done that involves dogs and cats, that I cannot say that I am a pet dog or pet cat specialist.

Yet... if I did not have a veterinary science degree, and thus, not a registered veterinarian,  but
was one very confident person, and in these days, internet savviness and gutso (or a great sales pitch and presence)  - I could legally call myself a dog specialist, or even more specific - a dog skin specialist or dog behavior specialist - and this is because there is no legislation against lay people calling themselves a specialist of anything (now I know the grammar is not correct in that statement ... to re-word it - a person without qualifications in anything animal related, can call themselves a pet care specialist, but a veterinarian cannot).

Even people with a Doctor of Philosophy in Architectural Design, for example, can call themselves a Dr, and if they also have an interest in animals, can call themselves "Dr Sam", talking about animal diseases, and you would automatically assume that they were a veterinary surgeon, who have worked and studied hard, and had the science behind them.

Anyone who loves animals, who always work in
their best interests (and not their own) in my view are special. You don't need a university degree for this, but you do need to be honest, and genuinely believe in the pet's best interest, which will not always be what is best for you.

But only those who have a University degree in Veterinary Science, and who have passed the extra examinations in a particular specialty, should be able to call themselves a specialist.

I am not a specialist, I haven't done the extra study - I have a beautiful family, and fantastic veterinary hospital instead.  But that does not mean that I am not special.