Anthony is the CEO of Alpha Vet International and is a veterinary dermatologist. In 2010, he started The Webinar Vet, which is the largest online provider of veterinary CPD in Europe. In this episode, we talk about Anthony’s journey, current aims, his thoughts on learning in a post-COVID-19 world and why sustainability should be at the top of your agenda.
As a futurist, he saw a huge gap in the market where hours were spent on travelling to in-person conferences, especially when one would spend more time travelling than the duration of the event itself! Back then in 2010, the internet was around, but webinars weren’t quite as well known nor had anyone seen the sheer power and benefit of what it could offer.
Fast-forward ten years later, webinars and zoom were of essential nature in the COVID-19 pandemic!
With Anthony starting out as a vet, his interest in dermatology meant he studied specifically in this arena, became somewhat of an empiricist and had a scientific approach. But that meant life-long learning and it would soon become obvious, that path that drove him to become the founder of Webinar Vet.
“I think that was the making of me, because leaving university in some ways, I think I’d come out as an empiricist, so somebody that tries things, and if that doesn’t work, try something else.”
What does post-COVID-19 learning look like?
In this episode, we acknowledge that zoom fatigue is real and after two years of non-stop online screens, and virtual events, it’s fair to assume that online CPD won’t be as popular or at least there might be a lull.
Anthony addresses this and understands that inevitably, individuals are keen and pleased to meet up in person, socialise, go to congress events and do in-person learning again. But online continued professional development (CPD) remains and a balanced mixture of both is key for the optimum learning experience and development of skills.
“One of the statements I often make is, I’ve been preparing for the pandemic the last 10 years. I just didn’t realise it. I think a lot of people, at the time, hadn’t digitally transformed, we obviously had the advocates and early adopters until it became mainstream. But ultimately, you need to be a digital business. The virus just exacerbated this. And I think, for the convenience, people will still continue to use online and technology, more and more – it’s easy, accessible and less costly.”
Continuing to embrace online learning
As clinics open up and things balance themselves out with an in-person and online mix, it’s useful to remember the variety and abundance of subjects to learn about online. Anthony reminds us,
“On our site, there’s a wide range of subjects. When you follow the curriculum for five years to get through vet school, you then continue to set your own agenda for learning once you qualify.”
This is evident through other prominent educators, such as Dr Alex Hynes, who founded The Vet Success Academy. In our interview with her, she also outlined the practicality and how useful it’s been for professionals to access both clinical and non-clinical training. Whether that’s to brush up on your client communication skills or to refer to training videos that will help you perform certain surgeries better and refine your techniques.
Often, platforms like The Webinar Vet and The Vet Success academy offer the breadth and depth of varied subjects and access to high-quality speakers, educators and consultants from across the globe.
The power of learning and courses you can pay attention to in 2022
Anthony suggests continuing with clinical training and confirms how useful it can be. For example, a vet had a case with a cat where there was difficulty in controlling its diabetes and by using the catalogue of courses available on The Webinar Vet, he was able to take plenty of notes from some of the courses in 2-3 hours. This allowed him to implement things that he could do better in his practice. As a result of learning and reflecting, the cat then received appropriate treatment and became a stable, feline diabetes patient. Andy says:
“To me, that’s the most significant thing, you know we do what we can with CPD, but unless it changes what we do in the clinic, it’s really not worthwhile. We also have an obligation, not just to do clinical training, but also do those things that help people with their mindset and daily encounters.”
The advice from Anthony is to:
- Learn one thing from the webinar, course or conference that you can take into your practice and improve matters.
- Take the mindfulness course and training which has been one of Webinar Vets most popular courses ever and look at things like Dealing with Chronic Pain/ Imposter syndrome etc (thousands of vets and nurses have watched it).
- Be solution-based, not problem-based. Find ways to use the information to your advantage and enact small changes which can make a big difference.
Being at the forefront with sustainability
At Covetrus, we are committed to finding and working with those who are engaged in environmental, social and governance efforts, particularly in sustainability. With advice from Gudrun Ravetz at Vet Sustain on how to have a greener practice, Anthony also weighs in:
“The Webinar Vet has recently become a green accredited business. Sustainability is one of my passions and of course we’ve taken various steps such as taking millions of miles off the road and airwaves by doing webinars. As part of the accredited, we’ve had to measure our carbon in our offices and we encourage the landlord to convert to renewable energy, which has a benefited everyone. Then we start to see energy security and offset that carbon and waste and so on. Plus we plant trees every time someone becomes a member at The Webinar Vet.”
As he continues his conversations, Anthony’s dedication to sustainability and being “greener” clearly shines through. He gives many more examples in-depth in the interview and you can view content from the sustainability summit held in January 2022.
Ultimately, Anthony’s position, as a learning from the pandemic, is to have a collaborative mindset and be an advocate for more equality and female power.
“The likes of Angela Merkel and the President of South Korea have some of the lowest death rates in their countries and obviously I don’t want to assign things to different genders or cite that as the reason but it’s known that women are often much more collaborative and much more likely to listen properly. The key is listening and all humans and industries should be more like that. You should be listening not only with your ears, but do so, with your eyes, mind and hearts. All your attention goes to that person, don’t think about your next clever remark.”
His top four takeaways for clinical staff include
- Continued gratitude that will help keep stress at bay – focusing on the good moments with the animals, key wins and successes.
- Whilst time is limited, try to sit down and take a good history as simple things can be missed – like scabies – and it can easily be treated! Better than misdiagnosing or making it more complex than it needs to be.
- Never stop learning – it’s more rewarding and feels good when you commit to being a life-long learner. You are worth all of that, and you can feel much more confident as a problem solver.
- Sustainability is more likely to save you money than it will cost you! It’s a win-win for all, the planet, the people and everything in-between.
Tune in to learn more!