Symposium Speakers

Dr Nadine Hamilton

Psychologist and Author

Dr Hamilton helps veterinary professionals get on top of stress and conflict to avoid burnout and suicide, and also works with practice managers and owners to increase well being, productivity, and retention in the workplace.

After failing every one of her exams at high school she decided to join the workforce at the age of 15. While she has always been passionate about animals, she learnt very early on that she was way too queasy to become a veterinarian – plus she didn’t think it would be possible because of her failure at high school. She knew there was ‘something’ about euthanaising pets that would be very distressing for veterinary professionals, and in a strange twist of fate, found herself researching this in-depth at doctoral level…

Way back in 1996 when she was searching for her ‘calling’ and had decided to apply to study Psychology at university, one of her cousins tragically committed suicide. It was at that moment she knew she wanted to work with people who were suicidal, however, she still had that yearning to be involved with the veterinary industry. A chance encounter with a locum veterinarian at her local veterinary practice around 2006 was a pivotal moment – when the veterinarian mentioned the high suicide rate within the veterinary profession. That was all the motivation Dr Hamilton needed to get proactive and do something about it!

Since then Dr Hamilton has successfully completed doctoral research into veterinarian wellbeing, and is the proud founder of the “Love Your Pet Love Your Vet” charity, in which she partnered with Royal Canin to raise awareness about the issues within the veterinary industry. She is also completing PhD studies to further research stress, burnout, and suicide within the veterinary profession. Dr Hamilton works tirelessly to advocate for veterinary wellbeing and the paradigm shift she believes is needed in order to facilitate positive change within the profession.

Dr Hamilton is the author of “Coping with Stress and Burnout as a Veterinarian”, published by Australian Academic Press and released in February 2019.

Dr. Nicole McArthur DVM

Veterinarian and founder of Not One More Vet

Nicole became a second-generation veterinarian in 2001 upon graduation from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Over the course of 18 years, Nicole has enjoyed working in various fields including dairy practice, small animal GP, small animal emergency as well as small animal relief.

In 2014, Nicole was a part of a group text that discussed the death of Dr. Sophia Yin. The honest and unfiltered conversation that ensued helped Nicole to realize that veterinarians needed a space to discuss the wide range of emotions that they feel on a daily basis.

She started a secret Facebook group called ‘Not One More Vet’ and added 25 classmates and colleagues whom she knew would ‘get it’. They invited their friends and in 5 years, the NOMV  little group has grown to over 18,000 veterinarians worldwide. Her goal is lofty and it is one that is hoped to be fulfill in Nicole’s lifetime, and that is not one more vet is lost to suicide.

Nicole is married to a cow vet (yes, they met at Davis) and they have two beautiful daughters who, of course, love animals. In fact, one is threatening to become a veterinarian. They live with many cats, dogs, chickens, a duck, a parrot, a hamster and a chinchilla. Life in their home is never dull and it is always covered in fur.

Dr Vanessa Rohlf

Consultant specialisation in human-animal interactions

Dr Vanessa Rohlf, is a consultant, counsellor and educator to those who work with and care for animals. She has a PhD with a specialisation in psychology (human-animal interactions), a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology and has blended her knowledge of human psychology and human-animal interactions in a number of previous roles over the last 20 years including veterinary nursing, psychology lecturer at Monash University, and researcher at the Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne.

Vanessa is a certified compassion fatigue therapist and educator and has additional qualifications in mindfulness and animal bereavement. She is a member of the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology and an adjunct research fellow in the School of Psychology & Public Health at La Trobe University and regularly presents her work in peer reviewed journal articles, as well as international and national conferences.

Vanessa works with a range of animal care industries including animal shelters, veterinary clinics, zoos, and research facilities. She also regularly provides individual counselling and support to companion animal owners and professional animal caregivers from a range of industries.

Dr Emma Whiston BVSc (Hons) CHPV

Veterinarian and founder of ‘My Best Friend’

Dr Emma graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1993 and subsequently commenced small animal practice. She is a 2nd generation veterinarian and had a very happy childhood surrounded by lots of pets assisting her father Dr Nigel Clayton. Despite having his excellent veterinary genes and access to his kind mentoring over the years, unfortunately, she has been touched many times, by colleagues’ mental health challenges, as well as her own.

Emma’s expertise lies with end of life care. This includes in home euthanasia, geriatric medicine, pain management, palliative & hospice care. In 2004, Emma established Australia’s first dedicated in home euthanasia service called ‘My Best Friend’. In order to provide pets and their families with private, peaceful and dignified care, in home during the last stages of their time together.

Emma is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) and in 2017 after much study & travel to the USA Emma graduated as a Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Veterinarian with the IAAHPC.

Emma also lectures Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing students at Melbourne Polytechnic as well as assisting veterinary clinics & hospitals to improve and update their End of Life Care protocols.

Emma is passionate about improving mental health and reducing the associated stigma. In her quest to support others, she is in turn supported by her husband and practice manager Greg Whiston.

Dr Tim Adams BVSc (Hons) MBA


Tim has worked in a broad cross-section of roles within animal-related organisation including practising veterinarian, communications, retail, events, non-profit, welfare, membership associations and most recently at Guide Dogs Victoria. In addition to the animals themselves, Tim has always had an interest in the relationship between people and animals and the effects that each can have on the other – sometimes positive, sometimes not.

Tim lives in Melbourne with his wife and two daughters, and a range of companion animals.