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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dr. Bern, Jr.?

My daughter is a chip off the ol' block in many ways.  She has my sarcastic sense of humor, likes the same foods that I do, and is into monsters and spooky stuff as much as I am.  But one of the biggest similarities is her interest in animals and veterinary medicine.

Nothing grosses her out.  When I was teaching Anatomy & Physiology she would come with me while I set up the labs and would be excited to put on gloves and touch sheep brains and eyes.  She sees the pictures of surgeries I put on this blog and says "cool!" while my son and wife are gagging and quickly looking away.  She loves animals and gets upset when people don't treat them right.  And she is convinced that one day she is going to be the next Dr. Bern.

In one way I love this idea.  I enjoy sharing medicine and animals with her and look forward to the day that I can let her spend a day at work with me, watching surgeries and seeing what a vet really does.  One of my vet school classmates was the daughter of a vet and planned on taking over her father's practice one day.  I've heard many stories of families who have several veterinarians in their lineage and it's something to be proud of.  There's also something that tugs at the heart about having someone follow in your footsteps.

On the other hand I see great struggles in the future of veterinary medicine.  As I've discussed a few times in the last several months, the financial prospect for new vets is increasingly difficult.  It's getting more difficult to find well-paying jobs to even survive the crushing debt load.  I know how hard it is make it into and through vet school, with much blood sweat and tears.  I don't want her to put all of that time and effort into it and then not be able to support herself.

But I shouldn't worry too much yet.  She turns 10 next month, so I have over a decade before this is a realistic option.  A lot can change in that time, from the state of the profession to her own interest.  In the meantime I'm going to enjoy having a child with whom I can share my job and interests.