The Written Word – Spreading Ideas & Changing Lives
When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing. —Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
As you can see, I have decided to begin my first editorial with the words of another. There’s so much to say, yet so little that comes to the fore when tasked to write something meaningful. This has always been a challenge for me and remains so right now when allowed to document my thoughts about taking on this new role as Editor in Chief of Today’s Veterinary Practice.
It’s certainly an honor to become part of this established journal and, indeed, of the NAVC. It’s daunting and exciting to see where we can take the journal, ensuring that it continues on its path of disseminating high quality and up-to-date information, while trying to keep it fresh and relevant in today’s world.
Making It Meaningful
The challenge is to make the written word meaningful in a world that currently seems to throw such continual shock, sorrow, and fear at us. How do you make a paragraph strike at the core of someone’s day when there is so much more to their day than reading the thoughts of others?
Here lies the charge of the modern day educational journal, which can offer so much to help others. With the wealth of informational conduits available, standing out from the crowd as a journal can become nearly impossible. However, we must aspire to this objective to ensure that what is read is not only meaningful and helpful, but reaches those that want to read it!
Our Role as Veterinarians
To determine what information is meaningful is tough in any walk of life but, for us as veterinarians, we must not forget how meaningful we are. This is not to say that we must ponder the meaning of life every day and evaluate our role in it, but it is perhaps to say that we should take regular stock of our value as a profession and, on an individual basis, our value as people in other’s daily lives.
As veterinarians we probably don’t have as much opportunity to fill “a dying man’s days with a sated joy,” but we have ample opportunity to help the owners, or indeed family, of ill or injured pets as well as bring some type of comfort and peace to the pet itself. When we give an account of ourselves and the meaning of what we have done, we should not discount this part of our job.
In this shocking and upsetting world, we should credit ourselves with being able to bring some joy to those that we can make better and some comfort to those that we can’t.
Just One Thing
How does this relate to the journal? Well, being honest, it is a stretch, but maybe the relevance of what we do and what we read is about perspective, and how we use it for the better of us all. Reading one fact or tip within the pages of this journal that helps improve what we do with one patient is invaluable.
So I see my role now more clearly—to make it possible for every reader of this journal to receive that one thing that can potentially change the life of one animal and its family. This could be a lofty goal or it, indeed, may be underestimating or undervaluing what we can bring to this world by improving our knowledge.
We may have a tough time changing the world that we live in, but we can change the lives of those that come to us for help and hope.
Among Like-Minded People
I look forward to this time ahead, am proud to be part of this journal, and am so happy that I have found a team of like-minded people among those at Today’s Veterinary Practice and NAVC. I’ll be looking to them and you—our readers—for continuous support and input. Enjoy reading!