Before starting her day ensuring the welfare of New Brunswick livestock, Dr. Nicole Wanamaker wakes up bright and early to care for her children and tend to her dairy farm.
Nicole is the Chief Veterinary Officer for the province of New Brunswick’s vet service. She works to protect Canadians by ensuring the health and welfare of our animals.
“As the manager of the provincial veterinary service, I want to ensure that New Brunswick animals entering the food chain are safe for human consumption,” Nicole says.
From cows to chickens, her team of 20 field veterinarians test and treat animals in every corner of the province. According to Nicole, having a provincially funded veterinary service is integral to rural farmers who otherwise may not be able to afford care for their animals.
She and her team make sure help is there when farmers need it and at a rate they can afford.
“As a provincial vet service, all of our fees are standard, be it driving five minutes from the clinic or two hours from the clinic, it’s still the same visit fee and hourly professional fee.”
On a daily basis, mobile veterinarians who treat large livestock experience an array of challenges.
“Some of the hazards that large-animal veterinarians face are things like getting kicked or bitten or shoved or pushed into things, as well as sharp injuries,” she says.
Nicole does her best to ensure her team has the resources they need to succeed, but being a woman in science and having a rigorous line of work can make it hard to build a healthy work-life balance.
PIPSC helps retain veterinarians in rigorous environments by bargaining for better salaries and more flexible work time to support members. According to Nicole, there is a shortage of Canadian veterinarians interested in working with large livestock. For this reason, it’s important that people in the field receive proper compensation, training and protection for their jobs.
“PIPSC has stepped in to make sure we have personal protective equipment, such as steel toe boots, coveralls, and has made us more aware, as veterinarians, about some of the hazards and working conditions,” she says.
Nicole is proud to be a PIPSC member and is proud of the great work she does bringing veterinarians from across New Brunswick together.
“What I’m most proud of in my career is the fact that, as I am now manager of the provincial vet service, I can connect veterinarians across the province and provide a service to livestock owners that is necessary and universal,” she says.
It's PIPSC members like Nicole who protect our public health and safety every day.