Meet a Relief Vet – Dr. Ericka Carroll

Is there anything that dogs love more than peanut butter?  One of the most essential tools of trade, this edible icebreaker has a permanent home within Dr. Ericka Carroll’s supply bag.  Whether in California, Pennsylvania, or New York, this freelance consultant, relief veterinarian, and previous Veterinary Corps Officer for the U.S. Army brings more than just treats with her.  To learn more about the tips and tricks she can bring to your practice, read on and send her a message!

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What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

I am a curious person by nature and become bored easily. I love that as a veterinarian there are so many options within the profession, not only in terms of animals to work with, but also different career paths. I knew it was a profession that had what it takes to hold my interest long term. I also love puppies and kittens.

What roles have you had within the veterinary profession? How about outside of this industry?

I have had a few!  I was a Veterinary Corps Officer in the U.S. Army, an associate in general practice, and I just completed an MBA and interned with various start-ups in the veterinary space.  In addition, I was a writer for Clinician’s Brief and VetPrep, and I continue to be a freelance consultant to various start-ups in the veterinary industry.

What made you switch to relief practice?

Since I have been on the business side of the profession for a few years, I love relief as a means of keeping my clinical skills sharp. It also provides me rich, first-hand perspective to better serve my consultant clients.

What is your most memorable relief job?

I brought video streaming into one practice to allow clients to see their pets and interact with me since the practice was curbside due to COVID. The clients really enjoyed it, and it shaved a lot of time off the workflow.

How do you feel that relief practice supports the veterinary profession as a whole?

I think it really allows associates, medical directors, and clinic owners to take a much-needed break.

What are your favorite things about being a relief vet?

Aside from my answer above, I love that I get to help other vets take a break. Often, I fill in so that my colleagues can take a vacation, get a day off, go to a CE.

What are your least favorite things about being a relief vet?

While necessary, my least favorite part is having to adapt to different PIMS (practice information management systems)!  I am also curious about how cases turn out and sometimes miss having regular follow up to learn from.

What do you look for in a practice when deciding to cover shifts for them?

I honestly try to be flexible and do not have too many deal breakers!

What supplies or equipment do you bring with you on the job?

Good shoes, stethoscope, my VIN log-on info, copies of my state and DEA licenses, a jar of peanut butter (to help warm up to my canine patients), and a bag of candy for the staff!

Have you picked up any unique practice tips while being a relief vet? These could be related medicine, workflow, practice organization, or anything really.

I cannot think of any at the moment, as I have only been at this a few months!

What advice would you give new relief vets? (Alternatively, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about being a relief vet?)

Be flexible. Know what your ”deal breakers” are, and let the smaller things go.

How has the global pandemic affected your relief practice?

I have only been a relief vet during COVID, so I do not have a pre-pandemic basis for comparison.

What states are you licensed in and/or states you are working to obtain licensure within?

CA, PA, NY

Aside from English, what language(s) do you speak?

German

What are your hobbies / passions outside of work?

Vegetarian cooking, running, traveling.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Not that I can think of!

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To learn more or contact Dr. Ericka Carroll click here.

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