As a veterinarian passionate about practical veterinary education and student debt, I have supported the brand new Midwestern University’s Veterinary College that opened this Fall in my backyard of Glendale, AZ. A piece of me, however, is apprehensive about the future of this student class (annual tuition is $52, 400excluding living expenses) and this new generation of practitioners, as we try to navigate the seas of exorbitant student debt coupled with stagnant salaries. Even scarier, is that these challenges could be heightened by research that indicates we may not need an ever-increasing number of veterinarians.
I recently had the opportunity to meet and network with Dr. Justine Lee, DACVECC, DABT, and creator of Vetgirl.She is truly a female, entrepreneurial veterinarian advancing our profession in all the right ways. Meeting her at AVMA Convention, along with the WVLDI workshop the day before inspired me to start an interview segment to my blog. I was hoping it would be less work than original material. Instead, I found myself editing and rejoicing in the abundant material her career provided. As a result, the first Veterinary Brainstorm Interview with Justine Lee will be broken into 2 parts:
There have been many changes and challenges over the last few weeks at my clinic. Possibly the most important one is that after 22 years my clinic supervisor and partner in crime decided to pursue a different veterinary opportunity. He was loved by the team and extremely knowledgeable and helpful. His decision came as a shock to the staff, doctors, and the entire company.
When he told me, I was speechless. I kept wondering if I can lead this team on my own. Who will make the schedule, helped monitor controlled drugs, and the list went on.
We were also due for a quarterly team meeting. I decided to have the meeting without him, leading our clinic all by myself.
Of course, my manager wanted to observe the meeting and then meet with me. Nervous and frazzled, as I am before every team meeting (no matter how much I prepare), the meeting was a success. Multiple people noted the dynamic change in staff morale and enthusiasm. Employee engagement and clinic pride is at an all time high. I feel liked, trusted, and respected. After the meeting some of the staff mentioned what a nice meeting it was, even without my cohort, their chief, as he was nicknamed.
In veterinary school aka “the ivory tower,” we are taught what is termed the “gold-standard” of veterinary care. It includes complete diagnostics (blood tests, imaging, etc) to try to reach a diagnosis and consider all medical possibilities, while initially ruling out the most common diseases with the least invasive diagnostics. Where vet school fails is teaching students (most of whom will become real-world practitioners), how to develop an alternative plan when clients choose not to, for monetary or other reasons, perform all available diagnostics. Continue reading Veterinarians: Are We Salespeople?→