SA Division President's Update

05 Sep 2023
Sarah headshot.jpg

Welcome to this addition of the South Australian Division Newsletter.
In this, my first update as Division President, I’d like the convey the thanks of the AVA SA Division to Dr Adele Feakes, who has been our state president over the last couple of years. Adele did a huge amount of work as we worked on the review of the vet legislation, culminating with it being introduced to Parliament, and she did this while also completing her PhD. We wish her the best as she moves onto her next adventure.

In exciting news: The Veterinary Services Bill is currently being debated in State Parliament. The proposed changes to the vet legislation have a number of benefits to continue the shift to a more engaged and transparent veterinary board in the state. The AVA supports the Bill and is working with Hon. Nicola Centofanti MLC, a vet and Shadow Minister, to secure some additional amendments to the Bill before it is passed by Parliament.

I am delighted to take on the role as the new South Australian division president and I hope that during my time I can contact and gain feedback from as many of you as possible.
A bit about me, I am a graduate of the first cohort of the CSU class of 2010. My veterinarian husband and I are owners of two mixed animal practices. We also proudly share the role of parenting our 5 young children.

When I became a clinic owner in 2014, I can confidently say that I had no idea what I was doing. I thought that putting up signage, making a fancy logo and moving ABSOLUTELY everything from its original place would endear me to my new employees.... needless to say, it did not...

Fast forward 10 years, I have learnt a lot about change management, leadership, culture, values, and integrity. And the importance of supportive pathways, autonomy, and mastery for our team. We now enjoy a stable and well populated workforce of 30 thriving employees with 12 experienced veterinarians, for us that has come from trying to be good at what we do and accepting that nothing is perfect. We are more often seeing graduates and experienced clinicians, get caught up in trying to live up to societal expectations and place pressure on ourselves in our professional and private lives to live up to being “perfect.” We need to remind ourselves and each other not to let perfect get in the way of good.

I have decided to take on this role with the AVA because put simply it is not perfect.... BUT it is GOOD. It was easy for me to criticise when my membership with the AVA did not fit my exact expectations. But then I shifted my focus to see the bits that were good, I elected to see its possibilities for the future rather than focusing on MY perception of its past failures. Right now, in our profession when collegiality matters most, and the sharing ideas and reassurance is extremely important. We should utilise the group that we as a profession formed for this very activity and take advantage of what the AVA has to offer. The AVA to me presents one place where our incredibly diverse community can come together and learn from each other, I think the biggest challenge the AVA faces is being good enough for all of us, as our representation spans far and wide with so much variation in the I guess I am going to put the ball back in your court. I would like to challenge all of you in your clinics to elect an AVA rep, just like your first aid officer or the person that organises your social gatherings. Get your boss to give your rep 15 minutes in a day once a fortnight to see if there is anything the AVA is offering that benefits your team. I know right now many of you feel like you don’t have time. But this is everyone’s AVA so utilise it and milk it for all its worth!!

A packet of freddo frogs for the first team that send me one piece of feedback about how it goes using the website!! But most importantly let us know if you can’t find anything that represents the advocacy you need from your professional representative body. In the meantime, we are looking for someone passionate about policy or even someone like me with big opinions to fill a vacancy on policy council. This is a fabulous space to make an impact to a bigger picture. Please contact Graham Pratt if you would like to know more about this position.

Don’t forget to check in on your neighbouring clinics. In the next addition I hope to shed light on the topic of bona fide clients.

Warm regards