Shaping Veterinary Medicine through Collaboration

Story by Jeff Studer, DVM, DACVO

Oklahoma State University’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is a special place where collaboration leads to fulfillment of our mission each and every day. That mission: Shape the future through discovery, education, and unparalleled veterinary care.

Not only are we shaping the future of the veterinary profession by training practice-ready veterinarians and specialists alike, but we are also shaping the future of our patients, clients, and veterinarians across the multi-state region who partner with us to provide cutting-edge care for their patients.

So what makes us different? Many things are unique about us, some of which are clearly evident such as the size of the building, the size of the team, and the fact that we see almost every species on earth. But the thing that really sets us apart is our integral collaboration.

We collaborate with family veterinarians as an extension of their practice. We may have a specialized piece of equipment or the specialized training that their patient needs. Our structure keeps us ready for emergencies 24/7, 365 days a year, which allows family veterinarians to have some well-deserved (and often hard to come by) rest and relaxation.

We collaborate with each other. While in most animal hospitals, it would be unusual that an animal patient (pet or livestock) would have a team of no fewer than five veterinary professionals, but that is the starting point at our hospital. The primary team includes a board-certified veterinary specialist, a fourth-year veterinary student (who in just months will be a fully licensed veterinarian), a veterinary technician (equivalent to a nurse in human medicine), and typically an intern and resident (both of whom are veterinarians seeking post-graduate training, in most cases leading to specialty board certification). In addition, many others are often called on for each patient.

Our team consists of almost 30 board-certified veterinarians in 14 areas of expertise, ranging from anesthesia to zoo medicine. These experts in their fields sought at least four extra years of rigorous specialized training following veterinary school and successfully completed the board-certification process.

An extremely poised and advanced team of veterinary technicians and assistants provides nursing care for our patients and support for our doctors. Not only are we the home of the most registered veterinary technicians in our state, but we are also leading the way of the future with five veterinary technician specialists who have undergone extensive specialized training in their areas of expertise. Our patients may have more than 20 veterinary professionals collaborating to ensure the best possible outcome.

Many other team members are equally vital to the unparalleled veterinary care we provide, from our compassionate receptionists to those who keep everything operating smoothly behind the scenes.

Lastly, we collaborate with other medical experts around the globe to discover diagnostics and therapies that may benefit both animals and humans alike. Due to the vast array of training experiences of our faculty and staff and collaborative relationships with other institutions around the world, we are able to participate in shaping the future for all.

We believe that this collaboration is vital to our success. Success to us is the ability to be innovative world leaders in healthcare, research and professional education — right here in the middle of Oklahoma.

About the Author

Jeff Studer, DVM, DACVO is a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist and the director of the Veterinary Medical Hospital at the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine.