In this episode of the Inventory Nation Podcast, I am delighted and honored to be joined by Dr. Elan Armstrong. She has an incredible passion for vet med and in our conversation, she shares her non-traditional journey to becoming a veterinarian, the challenges she has faced and overcome on her journey, the importance of staying true to who you are, and blazing your own path in veterinary medicine.
Dr. Armstrong is a recent graduate from the veterinary program at St. George’s University. In addition, she is currently a candidate for a Master’s in Public Health. In our discussion together, “my story is very nontraditional before vet school. I was a stay at home mom. I have two children and I was living in Texas at the time, going through kind of a rough patch in my life with my marriage”. Dr. Armstrong has an incredible spirit of strength and determination; “when you’re filled with so much adrenaline and determination to write your own ship, get things on track and you have little lives to take care of. You’re not really thinking about how things are looking and how you’re going to get it done.”
HER ROAD TO DVM
For her undergrad, Dr. Armstrong majored in pathology and veterinary science and minored in French. After graduating, she decided to take a pause. After that pause, “right before I applied to vet school, knowing that I’m definitely going to get a, no matter what I actually considered again, human medicine. So it was to the point where I started taking some classes because I was interested in the physician assistant program.” After contemplating choosing veterinary medicine, nursing, physician’s assistant, or an MD, she decided on the dual degree program in Master’s of Public Health and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s.
BLAZING HER OWN PATH
“That’s one of the great things with vet med. I mean, it’s almost like a double-edged sword because, on the one hand, it’s great knowing that there’s so much you can do with your degree. There’s so much out there. You’re not necessarily tied down to one thing, but on the other hand, it’s almost overwhelming.” Going into vet school in the beginning, “I was set on biology and then making public health just kind of be like my foundation, but I was set on pathology. And then after some time, I got introduced to lab animal medicine. And when I realized that it kind of married, you know, pathology to clinical medicine to just research that blew my mind.” Currently, her focus is on small animal general practice as she enjoys the case, workup, and the clinical aspect of things.
FINDING YOUR VOICE
“I think the biggest thing I would say is to find your voice and do not be afraid to use it. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t feel like you have to conform to fit in. Don’t be afraid to stand out, you know, stay true to who you are, and stand your ground, speak up.”
Nicole is the owner and founder of Veterinary Care Logistics and the Veterinary Inventory Strategy Network. VCL was born out of the demand by several industry leaders to utilize her inventory system as a model throughout the country.
She currently lives with her four dogs, two rabbits, and a cat named Hei Hei in the beautiful state of Montana. When she's not being an inventory nerd, you can find her in the garden, enjoying the mountains of Montana, or swimming in the ocean.