There are several lessons that cross over from our personal lives into veterinary medicine. I am going to go full-on nerd here. But some of the greatest lessons that I have learned in life came from superheroes. Whether they were in comic books or on the silver screen, we all want to be something bigger than ourselves. We want to make an impact. This week we lost the legend behind Marvel comics, Stan Lee. He inspired and provided entertainment to millions. So I present to you the five lessons that Marvel taught me about veterinary medicine.

Heroes are everyday people.

We often forget that most superheroes were not born, they were made. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spider-Man. Steve Rogers was enhanced by a serum to transform him into Captain America. Although science has shaped many comic book characters origin story, it did not define them. They were superheroes because they had the heart to go out there and put good into the world. They took action. All of us in the veterinary field get up every day and make a difference in our patient’s lives. It’s our passion and our mission. It lives in our hearts and we act upon our skills, knowledge and superpowers to heal those in our care.

Control Your Temper.

Our field is high stress. We have so many tasks coming at us that it can feel overwhelming. Then you add on angry clients, clinic dynamics, long days and no lunches. Who wouldn’t lose their temper at some point? Mild-mannered Bruce Banner when pushed too far can turn into the Hulk. Roaring and raging, he can destroy the very world around him. He had to learn to control and harness that power. We do, too. We can’t let our bad days control us. We can’t be a raging Hulk in the clinic and then expect it to be forgiven when we revert back to our alter ego. Our tempers have consequences. Don’t take bad days out on your team.

There are endless versions of the universe. Pick yours.

When we live in our little clinic bubble, we often forget the world of opportunities out there. Marvel had several versions of the universe, all with different outcomes and characters. I don’t expect any of you to time travel here. But if you are unhappy in your current clinic situation, realize that there are so many other opportunities to change your personal universe. Find your version of the world that makes you happy. Don’t stay stuck because you are afraid of change.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Uncle Ben

As superheroes in the veterinary world, we sometimes forget the power of responsibility. We know we are responsible for the lives of the sick and wounded that come into our clinic. That’s a given. It’s not a responsibility to take lightly. But realize the impact of empathizing with your grieving clients. Realize the importance of working together as a team. The value in saying kind words to one another. More importantly realize the responsibility you have to take care of yourself. You are a superhero. But don’t make yourself a martyr. Practice kindness and compassion whenever you can.

“Be the best you that you can be.” -Captain Marvel

We never stop growing, learning and evolving. Don’t become stagnant. Do not ever feel that you have arrived and learned all there is to learn. Keep learning. Share your knowledge with others and help them find their superpowers. Advocate for your patients, the profession, your team and yourself. YOU have the power to make a difference. Never forget that and use your powers wisely. Own the powers and talents that you have.

In closing, I would like to thank Stan Lee for the decades of entertainment and showing us that heroes are out there. For showing that the only limits we have are the ones we’ve created for ourselves. Never forget that all of us have the potential to be our own superhero. Excelsior!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial team.


Jade is a licensed technician of 9 years who lives in Port Orchard, Wash. She enjoys emergency and critical cases, dentistry and creating a bond with her clients and team. During her off time she is busy keeping up with her two crazy Basenjis!