Staff Spotlight: Brittany Patrick
October 18, 2023
When did you join the veterinary college?
I started at VMCVM in May of 2019 with the surgery department. I supported both the orthopedic and soft tissue services and I loved the people I worked with, but my ultimate goal was to eventually migrate over to the anesthesia department. I was able to make the transition to anesthesia in November 2019 and the rest is history! Anesthesia is my passion and teaching is truly fulfilling.
What is your role at the veterinary college?
I work exclusively in Anesthesia. We are considered a support service within the hospital, meaning when other departments, i.e., orthopedics, oncology, neurology, ophthalmology, ER, large animal surgery, etc., need a patient anesthetized for a procedure or surgery, they come to us! We provide general anesthesia for a wide variety of species from dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, and llamas, just to name a few.
Our role as nurse anesthetists is to administer safe and methodical general anesthesia for these patients, providing them with appropriate monitoring, analgesia, and sometimes prompt stabilization to achieve a balanced anesthesia experience from start to finish. We are a small, but mighty team of 6 LVTs that work under the guidance of our anesthesiologists, acting as an extension of themselves, allowing for multiple cases to run at once. We work directly with the vet students, teaching and helping them to develop their own anesthesia skills, expand their knowledge base, and encourage confidence.
The best part of being at VMCVM...
The best part of being at VMCVM is the expansive knowledge bank and encouraged growth. Working as an LVT at the collegiate level has really opened my eyes to all the things we are capable of as veterinary nurses. I have felt an overwhelming amount of support from our anesthesiologists to pursue higher-level skills which has resulted in greater job satisfaction. I am very intrinsically motivated by my job and being able to provide our patients with the best anesthetic care is very fulfilling. This passion for learning and teaching trickles down to our students. When they see that we are excited about a subject and eager to teach, they recognize we are invested in their futures.
At the end of the day, we are “raising veterinarians.” They are a direct reflection of our successes and our shortcomings. We want them to ascend to greatness, find happiness, and most importantly, love healing animals.
Best advice I've gotten...
Don’t wish for it, work for it.
How would you capture the essence of your work in a newspaper headline?
"Anesthesia: Your Educated Drug Dealers”
My hidden talent...
I can eat an alarmingly large amount of food in one sitting.
A person who has inspired me...
My father. Although he has left this world, he is very much alive in my head and in my heart. His kindness and selflessness were unmatched. I find inspiration in him every day.
Can you share a memorable experience or story from your time working with animals?
My career with animals did not actually start with domestic dogs and cats, but with wildlife. I was lucky enough to spend the first half of my career working with a large variety of exotic and native species before arriving where I am today. One of my favorite animals was an orphaned North American river otter who was deemed non-releasable by the state of Florida. Because of this, he was raised in captivity, and I was lucky enough to be his caretaker. I named him Pippin and we spent the better part of a year working together before he reached sexual maturity and was ready to be integrated in with other otters. He was a huge part of my life and a wonderful ambassador for his species. It was a time I will cherish forever.
What do you find most inspiring or fulfilling about working with students and helping them pursue their careers?
It is very fulfilling to see the growth students make between the start of week one, day one, to the end of the block, only a short 3 weeks later! Students, like all of us, learn differently, so sometimes we have to find the ways that speak to them. But when a concept comes together and they start to critically think, it always brings a smile to my face.
One misconception that all students seem to have is?
One misconception that students seem to have is that anesthesia is scary! Anesthesia is like any other discipline. You’ll never know everything, and that’s ok. It requires study, practice, and application, and the more you do, the less scary it will become. Just remember to breathe!
If I had a superpower, it would be...
If I had a superpower it would be to fly! Not just to levitate or fly like Superman, but to have big, beautiful, black, bird-like wings! Although, they might get in the way when doing anesthesia!
If you could magically grant an animal the ability to talk, which one would you choose and what do you think it would say?
Immediately, without any second thought, my own dog, a husky named Achilles! He is my heart dog. He has seen me through all of my 20s and halfway through my 30s. We have lived my entire adult life together, always my sidekick, always happy to see me. I want to listen to everything he'd have to say! We would have endless things to talk about.
A cause I'm most passionate about...
Wildlife management and conservation. Back in 2011, I spent my first few months after college graduation working at a cheetah wildlife refuge in South Africa. They specialize in cheetah rehabilitation and conservation with additional focus on other species including vultures, brown hyenas, and African wild dogs. They provide medical care and rehabilitation to injured and orphaned wildlife and also have a huge educational outreach. They work with local farmers to provide them with Anatolian Shepherds that guard livestock, in an effort to minimize negative human interaction with the big cats. They also travel to schools and local villages to educate the public and promote co-existence with Africa’s wildlife. This organization was truly inspiring and really jumpstarted my passion for wildlife rescue, rehab, and conservation. I still support them to this day.
Favorite way to end the day...
Kisses from my dogs, hugs from my husband, a hot meal, and a cold, preferably alcoholic, drink!
Top of my bucket list...
Currently at the top of the list is to see the Northern Lights!
My favorite quote...
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us."
"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
If you could communicate with animals for a day, what would you ask them?
This is a tough one! I have always wondered where great white sharks disappear to and where they breed. It is still a big mystery in the scientific world! I would also love to speak to orcas..so many questions. I also wouldn’t mind having a conversation with my chickens.
How many pets/animals live at home? Can you tell us about them?
I have 2 dogs:
- Achilles, male husky, 14 years old, turns 15 years young on January 21, not a typical husky, acts more like a cat, I’m the only human he really likes, worships the sun, will snatch food right out of your hand if lowered past the “husky half-line” (this is your waist…never hold food below your waste), loves face rubs, judges you, has my whole heart.
- Rambo, male mix breed dog, found wandering the streets in Floridia where I am from, literally the best dog ever—never gets in trouble, sweetest thing to all creatures, happiest when receiving constant pets, just wants to be where you are, Achilles’ emotional support dog, lover of car rides and food—would literally be a 9/9 BCS if dog food was not regulated by owner.
Chickens: at this point, they are just pets because they haven’t laid an egg for an unknown amount of time.