Anna Blackburn recently joined our Small Animal Surgery team as a veterinary assistant, but she ultimately has her eyes set on becoming a veterinarian herself. From Pateros, Washington, she earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from WSU and is currently working toward a Master of Public Health from Eastern Washington University. At home, she has a pair of cats, 14-year-old Taco and 5-year-old Odin.
What is your typical day like at the VTH?
A typical day in the small animal surgery department entails setting up the operating rooms for our surgeries. We often have multiple surgeries throughout the day. During surgery, I make sure the surgeons have the instruments and implants they need. Between surgeries, I transition rooms for any surgeries to follow by replacing trays and instruments on tables and sending soiled equipment down to central services. At the end of the day, I pull instruments and surgical trays for the following day, clean the operating rooms, and put away materials orders or sterilized instruments.
What made you want to work in veterinary medicine and at the VTH?
I worked in private practice for two years, and I wanted to diversify my experience, so I applied for an opening in small animal surgery.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my current job is witnessing the life-saving surgeries we perform here that are not done in a general practice setting. The cases I’m used to seeing referred to specialists, I now get to see in the hospital as they receive surgery not performed in the clinics I have worked in.
What are your career goals?
My ultimate goal is to pursue a DVM. In five to 10 years, I hope to graduate from veterinary school and begin practicing as a licensed veterinarian. I am passionate about the concept of One Health and how this relates to veterinary medicine and the welfare of both domestic animals and wildlife.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I volunteer two nights per week at Blackbird Ranch, locking up and feeding all the animals on site. Currently, I spend most of my time outside work on school, as I pursue my master’s degree. However, I do enjoy hiking, camping, reading, and playing board or video games with my closest friends.
What advice would you give to pet owners?
The best advice I can give pet owners is to partner with their local veterinarian(s) to seek the best lives for their pets! Your veterinarian has your pet’s best interest at heart, and they are eager to educate you in any way you need/want. Our favorite clients are those who are interested in learning more about how to care for the animals in their homes to the best of their abilities. To be the best advocate for your pets you need to be open to learning and adapting with them and their needs!