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An opportunity to step into her boss’ shoes led Dr Nicola Pattison to Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) in New Zealand and she’s never looked back.
The New Zealander signed up for an MVM course at Massey when the owner of the vet clinic in Victoria, Australia, asked Dr Pattison to take over while she was overseas.
“When my boss went to the UK for three months and asked me to cover for her while she was gone, I thought I’d better do an orthopaedics course so I could fix broken bones,” says Dr Pattison.
She initially chose the orthopaedics course at Massey as it appeared to offer the best value and gave her the opportunity to return to her Kiwi homeland, but ended up enjoying the experience so much, she went on to complete the MVM.
“I did the soft tissue surgery course, followed by neurology and an epidemiology course. With an interest in farm dogs, I then did a dissertation on working farm dogs so I could complete the whole thing.
“With Massey, you’re actually working towards a degree, not just a certificate, which increases the course’s value. You can do one of the courses for about the same cost as attending a conference, and you get a lot more out of it,” says Dr Pattison.
As a busy working mother with a young family, she appreciated the flexibility Massey University offered.
“I gave birth to two children while doing it, already had a two-year-old and was working part-time.
“When my third child came along, my husband was working as a fly-in fly-out oil field worker and I ended up in hospital. It was a fairly hectic time in my life, but I was able to work through it with Massey’s help, and complete the course without too much drama,” says Dr Pattison.
The educators and support team at Massey University were another plus.
“All of the admin staff are really good and I couldn’t say enough great things about my supervisor.
“She was always available to me during my dissertation, and made extra time towards the end of the year so we could analyse the data and work on statistics together. They really do go above and beyond,” she says.
Dr Pattison also valued the hands-on nature of what the Massey MVM offers and says, “This is for real world vets, you’ll learn stuff you can take into your practice and use straight away on a daily basis.”
She has since gone on to buy the country vet clinic in the town of Casterton in Victoria in January 2017 and attributes the postgraduate degree in helping to give her the confidence to do so.
“Without question, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now without the MVM. It gives you the confidence to step outside your comfort zone. It’s made me a better vet. The MVM has been brilliant and even though I’ve finished the degree, I’m probably going to do more courses in the future, just for fun,” says Dr Pattison.
Find out more at massey.ac.nz/mvm