Profile for Pain Awareness Month: Briony Alderson
September is Pain Awareness Month and the University of Liverpool Veterinary Alumni Association caught up with alumna Briony Alderson (BVSc 2000), Head of Anaesthesia at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital and Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Anaesthesia.
Did anyone inspire you while you were a student?
I wasn't inspired by any one person in particular, just how rewarding it seemed.
When did you know you wanted to specialise in anaesthesia and analgesia?
When I started as a vet I wanted to be an equine cardiologist; I was inspired by my A-level biology teacher who was passionate about the heart. I wanted to do anaesthesia and analgesia when I did my small animal anaesthesia rotation (although I was very bad at it!). It was the ability to make a difference to animals, combining this with physiology and problem solving that I enjoyed.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
My advice is to be brave. I was a very shy student and without encouragement from friends I never would have applied for the residency. I didn't think I was clever enough or could ever know enough to teach other people about anaesthesia and analgesia. So, have belief, even if you don't think you are good enough. If you have the passion and really want to do something, then you can.
What is your top tip for your fellow alumni this Pain Awareness Month?
My top tip for pain awareness month is that if you are a vet then learn how to do local blocks. If you don't do them already then start, and if you do then expand what you are doing. These make the most difference to our cases. If you don't know how, then feel free to get in touch with me (in the Small Animal Teaching Hospital at the University), or your local referral centre. They are generally easy to learn, safe, and make a massive difference. Another thing is to never underestimate the impact of stress and worry on the emotional component of pain, provide sensible sedation and think about stress free methods (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological).
How can alumni follow what you're doing?
Social media, including LinkedIn (I promise to get more active), or just get in touch at the hospital, all of us love chatting anaesthesia and analgesia!
Thank you Briony for helping us celebrate our alumni with careers in anaesthesia and analgesia for Pain Awareness Month.
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