Samantha Gabree: My Journey to MD
My journey to becoming a medical director was not a typical path. I graduated from undergrad at UMASS Amherst with a pre-veterinary science degree. I was accepted into Tufts Veterinary School after graduation and completed my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2017. I started working in emergency medicine in 2010 and worked at multiple facilities to gain hands-on experience during my schooling.
It was quite common, especially at Tufts, for recent grads to pursue an internship. More than half my classmates elected to pursue an internship for additional training, even if their long-term plan did not involve specializing. The other half elected to go into general practice.
I chose to go straight into emergency medicine and applied to emergency clinics all over the country.
Jobs After Veterinary School
My first job out of school was at specialty hospital in Pittsburg, PA as an emergency clinician. I gained exceptionally knowledge through daily mentorship. After 8 months, I was offered a position at the emergency facility in Massachusetts that I worked at during vet school.
Missing Boston, I elected to move back to Massachusetts and continue my career in emergency medicine at a new specialty facility. All the ER doctors at this hospital had the option to do their owner surgeries overnight, as there was no on-call surgeon. I gained valuable experience in surgery and was mentored by my medical director.
My Road Back to Emergency Medicine
After years in emergency medicine (and 8 months at the new job), a high caseload and long hours at the new ER, I elect to take a break from my emergency path and go into general practice. It only took 6 months in general practice to know that wasn’t for me and that I was really missing emergency medicine.
At this point, I was looking to switch jobs for the FOURTH time only 2 years out of school. I was still very much a new graduate and most of my classmates were still at their first job or in the first year of their residency towards specializing. I was worried if I would every find an ideal long-term job and began to consider just doing relief work.
How I Found and Ended Up at VEG
At this time, I found out there was a VEG being built just a few minutes from my general practice. I applied for a position through Facebook (the new hospital didn’t even exist yet) and was immediately contacted by recruiting. VEG Newton was already fully staffed but there were already plans in place to build a hospital in Boston in the next year.
In 2019, after a weekend in New York seeing all the VEG hospitals with the CEO, David Bessler, I immediately signed on as a traveling doctor for VEG. I traveled to and worked at multiple VEG locations. Within 6 months at the company, I was offered the medical director position at VEG Boston.
After 8 straight years of school, no internship, and 4 job changes in 2 years (with 5 apartment moves), I was finally at a company that represented everything veterinary medicine should be and given a job opportunity that I never even considered to be an option.
My Advice to Future Veterinarians
If there is one piece of advice I can give for anyone looking to become a veterinarian, it is that there is not one straight path to achieve it. Do not feel like you have to stay at a job is that isn’t the right fit or pursue an internship. Always go with your gut and what works for YOU as an individual. If you are passionate and dedicated to this profession, you will find your place in this field.
Being a medical director is beyond anything I ever expected less than 3 years out of vet school in my 20s. It is an absolute dream come true to be able to build and run a hospital in my home city and I could not be more excited for everything to come.
VEG is a network of Emergency Veterinarians located across the country. We are dedicated to helping people and their pets when they need it most. If your pet is ever in an emergency situation, use the link below to find our nearest location so we can get your pet the help they need.