HR Update

Dr. Susan Arnold in her office reviewing the scan of a dog's brain
Meet Susan Arnold

“It’s a calling. I didn’t really think about doing anything else,” said Dr. Susan Arnold of why she chose to be a veterinarian.

Her first job was a dog walking business that she started at the age of eight. “I actually made a lot of money!” From there she worked at pet stores and an animal hospital before going to vet school, though she briefly considered pursuing a career in human medicine.

In her work at the U of M’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), she has opportunities to improve animal and human health through her research. “I can take the Campus Connector to the East Bank to work with [Medical School] clinicians,” she said. “Veterinarians, researchers, and human physicians all come together to collaborate in an environment that I know I wouldn’t have anywhere else.”

Susan cites teaching students as another benefit of working at an educational institution. “Sometimes I wonder when meeting with a student, ‘Am I sitting with the next big name in the field?’,” she said. “Students and residents are a brilliant force to keep us up-to-date on the latest technologies and research.”

College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Culture

Tight crop headshot of Dr. Susan Arnold with lilac flowers behind her

“We have a culture of ‘yes’,” said Susan. “We find a common goal and figure out how to do it.” When asked for an example, she shared the story of Moose, a German shepherd facing acute paralysis and having trouble breathing. “We brought together [experts from] neurology, emergency and critical care, anesthesia, and nutrition to provide diagnostic testing and support through his disease crisis.”

Susan also appreciates her relationship with leadership. “I receive strong support from my dean, department chair, and associate dean for clinical affairs. Leadership [at CVM] is very approachable.”

Working With Veterinary Technicians

“A lot of our technicians have a VTS [veterinary technician specialist designation] or are extremely experienced,” said Susan. “They add a valuable perspective to the care team.”

The veterinary technicians also allow veterinarians to focus on their specialities. “They’re really good at technical stuff,” said Susan. “I can ask a tech to do a complicated urinary catheterization on a female dog, and it’s going to be done without a problem.”

Other Benefits of Working at CVM

“We get to bring our pets! I have never worked a day in this office without Farley,” Susan said, gesturing to her dog at her feet. “It’s a great benefit to not worry about leaving an animal at home for too long. Plus, we look after each others’ pets. If I’m in surgery for hours, my vet techs make sure to take Farley out.”

Beyond animal-related benefits, Susan uses the dependent care FSA (flexible spending account) to help pay for childcare costs.

Location is another key bonus to working at the U of M. “We’re in a big city, we have an international airport. I like to say that there’s something for everyone and everyone for something.”

Favorite animal to work with? 

“I like performing exams on cats. Their diseases are not as well described as dogs’, so there are more opportunities to explore diseases,” Susan said. Also, she likes the challenge they can present. “They’re fun little space aliens.”  

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