Concurrent MSSW/VSW Graduate
Mackenzie is originally from San Diego, and received her Bachelor’s Degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Mackenzie has always been interested in veterinary medicine, and has worked in animal hospitals since she was a teenager. She made the move to Knoxville for the primary purpose of pursuing a career in Veterinary Social Work. She enjoys being a human liaison between pet parents and their vet team, as well as providing emotional support for veterinarians and staff so that they can continue to give their patients the best possible care. Mackenzie received her MSSW from the University of Tennessee in 2016. Now that Mackenzie has graduated, she intends to move back to Colorado where she plans to pursue a career in Veterinary Social Work. She has a specific interest in developing wellness programs for veterinary professionals. Mackenzie has two feline roommates, Henry and Wesley, who are kind enough to allow her to live with them.
Q. What was the most beneficial part of completing the VSW-CP?
I appreciated the variety of topics that were covered. Even though my focus was more on compassion fatigue and working with veterinarians, I believe that the education on topics around animal assisted interactions really rounded out my ability to be the most effective veterinary social worker.
Q. Is your career different than what you expected when you were in the VSW-CP?
A little bit, yes. I had hoped to work in a veterinary hospital where I could assist veterinarians and hospital leadership with creating wellness programs. However, my path shifted more towards consulting and lectures/presentations to hospitals and groups.
Q. What lessons has your work taught you?
Everyone has their own view of mental health issues in veterinary industry and what it takes to address those issues. Not everyone is going to agree with the individual-centered (client-centered) approach. I have found the best way to reach those who might not agree with my approach is by really reaching an understanding of their perspective. Maintaining an openness to the unique perspective of someone working in a veterinary hospital has really helped me bridge that gap.
Q. Do you have any long-term goals or dreams?
I hope to create a wellness program template for veterinary hospitals to implement among their staff. I want to create a program that hospitals large and small could utilize and customize to best fit their needs.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring veterinary social workers?