This week’s Uncharted Member Spotlight features Dr. Jessica O'Neill! Jessica is a small animal veterinarian from Louisiana and has had a lot of experiences outside of the veterinary world that she has brought to her career. She's excited about empowering her staff, and the support she has found in our community. Read on to learn more about her!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Jessica O’Neil from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am a 2006 LSU graduate (Geaux Tigers). I am a junior partner at a 3 FTE companion animal practice just outside the LSU campus. I’m an extroverted introvert. I love being around people but it wears me out. I love my profession but it has definitely knocked me around a bit through the years. I love fishing, though I don’t go as often as I want. I’m also a mom, a step-mom and a wife.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
When I found Uncharted I had been in a burnout phase and I was looking for the inspiration and motivation that is usually renewed after any CE meeting. What I found was SO much more. I’m pretty shy typically and especially so around people I see as more successful, more learned, etc. I wasn’t expecting the sense of community that comes from going to a meeting and meeting people in real life that you “met” on the internet. I also wasn’t expecting to feel close enough to these people that I have no problem reaching out to any of them for advice or with questions.
What are your 2 favorite groups in the Uncharted Workplace community and why?
Sorry that this is a lame-o answer. I like the General group overall but my favorite is the meeting-specific one. Especially in the month leading up to the conference when everyone is getting geared up to go. It sets the tone for what is to come.
Who is one of your favorite people you’ve met through Uncharted and why?
Jamie Holmes is my favorite person! I asked her for help keeping me accountable for my plan when I went a little emotionally haywire. She didn’t even know me but was invaluable to me. Now we have become “friends on purpose” and talk every few weeks and mostly NOT about veterinary medicine.
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
Empowering the staff. I have been trying to do this more and moreover the last 2 years and it has been really good for me. I am learning to let go of some control (especially when it comes to returning phone calls that my technicians are capable of doing). And I am trying to protect my time; both away from work and in the exam room.
What is your end-of-workday guilty pleasure?
Have you ever worked outside of the veterinary field? What was it like?
I had many jobs through school but they were part-time and just a means to an end. Here is a list:
– Lifeguard/camp counselor of a summer camp. This was SO fun.
– Worked in accounts receivable for an engineering firm. I filed charts… that's it. Also, I’m dyslexic, so I’m pretty sure I did a lot of misfiling.
-Worked for the State of Louisiana for a summer in high school. I typed their entire training manual into Microsoft word because it had been created on a Mainframe computer and the files wouldn’t transfer. Within the next year, the scanner that could recognize text was invented and could have done in 20 minutes what took me 3 months.
– I became the “marketing” person for a wholesale sign company while in college. I created their catalog in Microsoft word. I was the only person in the place who could use the program. I was also responsible for manually faxing the newsletter (that I created) each week with their specials. I had to type in each number for about 100 places. It took 4 hours. I tried to explain that there was software for this but they didn’t go for it.
– I worked for Poultry Science as a student worker at LSU. I cleaned the quail room and worked with chickens. My boots always stunk and I’m pretty sure people avoided sitting next to me in class after I had to clean the quail room.
Where is one place in the world you would love to see?
Egypt. Australia is high on the list.
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
Work on establishing healthy boundaries and helping everyone in the clinic do the same.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Jessica by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!