Friday, September 16, 2016 - Sarah Bishop
The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has unveiled MumsVet, a groundbreaking new online information and support network for equine veterinary professionals who are balancing work with parenthood. MumsVet is the brainchild of four equine vets who have all encountered first hand the hurdles and headaches associated with juggling the demands of equine practice with family life.
Females now account for 76% of new graduate intakes and currently 55% of equine practitioners are female. Personal expectations are changing, with many vets now wanting greater commitment to family life and a better work-life balance. A debate at last year’s BEVA Congress saw 92% of voters agreeing with the motion Does equine practice need to change to become more compatible with family life? MumsVet has been created ‘by equine vets for equine vets’ to help redress the work-parent balance and eventually to transform the profession’s inherently traditional structure.
The nature of equine work presents different challenges for pregnant women and working parents. Lone working, often out of hours in potentially dangerous environments with unpredictable patients, and the paucity of trained support staff in an ambulatory setting are specific challenges to equine vets both male and female. Add pregnancy into the mix and the challenges suddenly increase even further. The absence of a single, authoritative site for referencing relevant information invariably has led working parents to seek the advice of colleagues, friends and family, often with a potentially precarious reliance on anecdotal information rather than broad opinions or facts. MumsVet changes all that.
MumsVet is a one-stop shop for information and support for BEVA members who are facing pregnancy, parental leave and returning to work as a parent. It was an idea borne out of need by its founders Carolyne Crowe, Lucy Grieve, Vicki Nicholls and Hannah Yeates and is supported by other co-opted BEVA members. All four founders are high achievers in the equine profession as well as being either hands-on parents or experienced with working with pregnant colleagues. The site includes:
• Regular blogs
• Podcasts – ideal for listening to when travelling
• Feature articles, real life stories and opinion pieces
• Career options
• CPD, webinars, workshops and journal clubs
• Links to pertinent articles and news
• Useful links
Vicki Nicholls, incoming President of BEVA, said: “I love my family AND my job, I love being a vet and a mum, and I feel fulfilled doing both jobs however stressful that juggling act becomes. MumsVet will help other people in my situation realise that we are not alone – we can all learn from and support each other to help the profession work more effectively for us and us even more effectively for the profession.”
Sarah Gasper, a working mum, equine vet and BEVA member co-opted onto the MumsVet working group continued: “Mums and Dads can work, we just need to figure out effective logistics so we don't lose this wealth of experience. I want our profession to progress but we need to harness this experience, not shut it out."
Ben Sturgeon, hands-on father, equine vet and a member of the working group added: "MumsVet provides a frank, honest and open platform to gather information, air your views or ask for advice. As a Dad and vet, accepting that problems exist, the need to talk, and having the courage to discuss in a non-judgmental setting helps give perspective, understanding and guidance on how to move forward constructively."
BEVA members can join MumsVet at https://www.beva.org.uk/Home/Careers/Mumsvet
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