On 10th anniversary of joining Vets Now, specialist reflects on her journey from student to clinical leader

Amanda Boag is one of the most well-known faces in the veterinary profession.

Board certified in both internal medicine and emergency and critical care, she’s just celebrated her 10th anniversary as clinical director at Vets Now.

But her role here is just one of many hats she wears. Amanda also acts as a consultant for charity Pet Blood Bank, is co-editor of the BSAVA Manual of Emergency and Critical Care and is currently president of the RCVS. She is also a past president of EVECCS and ECVECC.

As Amanda points out in this interview with the official magazine of her alma mater, St John’s College in Cambridge, it was her exposure to “super-smart people” at university that inspired her to get to the top.

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What is your role at Vets Now?

I’m clinical director and have responsibility for the clinical and professional standards and clinical culture across 60 clinical sites, as well as representing the business externally and promoting emergency care as a career option for younger vets. The job is a real mixture of leadership, teaching and networking.

What led you to become president of the RCVS?

I was initially elected onto the RCVS Council by the profession in 2012 for a four-year term and stood successfully again in 2016. Once on the Council, I enjoyed getting involved with the issues facing the profession today, and so I put my name forward for president and was chosen for that post by my fellow Council members in 2017.

Tell me a bit about your memories of St John’s College in Cambridge — what stands out from your time there?

So much! It’s such an important period of your life, having six years at the College. The first three years when I lived in College were really quite different from the second three years when I was in a College house and much more focused on ‘being a vet’. I enjoyed the team spirit of rowing, although I was never very good and remember being told I needed to keep focused rather than watching the dogs on the river bank! I remember with great fondness lounging on the Backs after the exams in the summer, forgetting the large volume of information I had just crammed into my brain.

Image of Amanda Boag of Vets Now

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How did your years at St John’s prepare you for life as a vet?

The vet course is always going to involve a lot of learning of knowledge regardless of where you train, but the particular benefit of Cambridge was the supervision system, where you got to explore problems and think about cutting-edge developments right from the beginning of the course. That really prepares you for thinking through problems you come across in clinical practice, and also for being willing and open to new developments.

Did College life, and Cambridge, prepare you for your position as president of the RCVS?

The veterinary profession is a very special one with a unique place in society but we do tend to talk to one another a lot. Training at Cambridge, where you spend the first three years mixing with super-smart people who are going to go on to a myriad of other professions opens your mind at an early age to the value of many different inputs to the way we work.

Finally, do you have any time for relaxation? What is your way of ‘chilling out’?!

With two daughters, aged five and eight, and a husband who also has a busy job, there’s not a huge amount of time for relaxing. Taking my girls out for fish and chips on a Friday night at the end of a busy week, and sharing stories is one of my favourite times. I am also lucky we live in a beautiful spot in central Scotland, about a mile from any other houses, and so just arriving home, feeling the quiet of the countryside and seeing the hills, brings a great sense of well-being.