Posted on September 19, 2012
Recent veterinary graduates, employers, and college deans convened this summer during the AVMA Annual Convention in San Diego to identify the components necessary for success during a veterinarian’s first year in small animal practice.
Approximately 10 individuals from each group participated in the invitation-only roundtable forum, titled “Educating and Employing Successful Graduates,” hosted Aug. 6 by the AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee. The concept for the forum was raised at the second AVMA-Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Joint Economic Meeting during a conversation on veterinary student debt.
“The basic idea is that in order for recent graduates to earn more so that they can pay down their debt more quickly, they need to be able to generate more revenue for the practice in which they work. The critical time frame for enhancing this productivity is the last year of veterinary school and the first year of employment, and this is the focus of the roundtable,” said Dr. Link Welborn, chair of the Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee.
The forum was limited to small animal practice because it represents the largest segment of the veterinary profession, Dr. Welborn explained. Similar roundtables for other segments will be considered if this initial project is successful, he added.
Forum participants agreed that veterinarians beginning a career in small animal medicine will be most successful if they are equipped with the most relevant skills and competencies, are able to create a profit for their employer, receive a sufficient compensation package, and are capable of promoting the value of the veterinary profession.
Input from each of the three groups at the forum will be used by the AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee to develop and publish materials in three categories: employer expectations for recent graduate skills and competencies, opportunities for local employer-educator partnering to optimize the student-to-employee transition, and mentoring guidelines and resources for employers.
The groups will continue working through the fall with a goal of creating a progress report by late November.