Lacey Pitcher is a roaming RVN locum and works in a variety of settings including GP, OOH, charity and referral. Having founded Veterinary Pay It Forward in 2018, Lacey firmly believes in the importance of support and the acknowledgement of all staff within the veterinary setting. "We become stronger teams and healthier professionals when we empower each other".
Tell us about a daily habit or routine you practice that contributes to your productivity and fulfilment?
On a daily basis of a night time I write a list of 3 things I want to achieve the next day. This allows me some perspective and a chance to set attainable goals. Even if just small, it's an achievement that is planned.
What was a major setback that you learnt the most from, or actually turned out to be a success?
In 2018 I left a partner and home. I started from scratch and travelled the world. Having lost everything, I gained perspective about what was important and how much can be achieved with a little faith and stubbornness. For each time something went wrong that year, I added a country to visit. I practised better wellness and evolved as a stronger person - from having speech issues and being noise phobic to exploring the street markets of China and flying planes across the ocean in New Zealand. Sometimes, the only limit is what we believe we can’t achieve.
When you start to doubt your own ability, or are having 'a bad day at the office', how do you get back on track? Can you give us an example?
I am generally very self-critical and battle regularly with imposter syndrome. I can’t imagine a time when I won't, but I am now very aware of it and how it affects my perspective. If I'm having a particularly tricky period of doubt I like to reflect - "how far I have come in 6 month, one year and 5 years?". I have come so far, and in 6 months will do so again. It's easy to miss the light in things when the world feels a little grey.
What have you got better at saying no to? How did you realise this and how has it benefitted you?
I have got better at saying no to things which don’t enrich my life and to toxic people and situations. While there are often things we don’t particularly want to do, there are very few we NEED to do. I will no longer do anything I feel is ethically wrong and have learnt to discuss why I don’t agree - for example dew claw removal in practice. Sharing perspectives has broadened my knowledge and enabled me to empathise better.
If you could gift a book to all vets at graduation, what would it be, and why? (It doesn't have to be specific to animal health!)
This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay.
It’s a great book and although not about Vet Med it has many key parallels . It's easy, ready to pick up when you have time and balances the diversity of practice with its rollercoaster of emotions.
Tell us about something you are currently a fan of? This could be anything; a person,
trend, hypothesis, mindset, diet, activity, tech, hobby etc.
I am a firm believer in the laws of attraction. I put out into the world what I hope to achieve back. Kindness, positivity and enthusiasm have such positive impacts on how my day goes. I like to appreciate the small things. I surround myself with the types of people I'd like to become and am inspired by them.
What purchase of less the £100 has most positively impacted your life in the last 12 months?
A Freddie's Flowers subscription.
I locum throughout the country and once a month I get fresh flowers delivered. When I'm home, I am very very homely and love building a happy place. The flowers make me smile every morning while I dance around the kitchen with my dog. Such a small thing with such a positive impact.
What is the worst bit of advice you hear regularly in our profession? Why do you feel it is bad advice?
“It's ok not to be ok".
This phrase, in my mind, is very overused and actually fairly unhelpful. While I do agree that it’s ok not to have “good days”, I firmly believe we shouldn't be encouraged to stay there.
It is a phrase that is in no way constructive. As a profession we really need to change mindsets in order to continue to educate, facilitate and make a movement for change. We need to forward the battle on mental wellness within veterinary medicine. No one should feel they have little choice but to "not be ok”.
What advice would you give veterinary graduates about to begin their careers?
Never to underestimate the compassion and understanding of children and their ability to change your consult. Work with them and their imagination and don’t belittle them. Sometimes the hardest conversations are those with children but your words may shape their future.
If you could send a single text to every vet around the world simultaneously, what would it say? This can be one word, a message or an entire paragraph.
We are joined by more than simply post-nominals. Our professions are fuelled by tenacity, compassion and empathy. Look after each other.