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Bob Lester, DVM

Column: Creative Disruption

Dr. Bob Lester is a former practice owner and a founding member of Banfield Pet Hospitals and the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. He serves on the NAVC board of directors.

Dr. Bob Lester is a former practice owner and a founding member of Banfield Pet Hospitals and the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. He serves on the NAVC board of directors.

learning

Onward and upward

Creative Disruption

Forced to adjust amid the pandemic, we proved we’re capable of radical change. We can do a lot more, from pushing for portable licensure to embracing asynchronous learning.

Our profession, an industry known for its aversion to change, has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt, innovate and grow over the past few months. Historically, we’ve been the poster child for a belts and suspenders industry, one that’s exceedingly cautious, but in the face of crisis, we’ve learned much that will help us to […]

veterinary education

The post-COVID learner

Change is coming to traditional veterinary education. Colleges long isolated from each other would do well to share resources, expand online teaching, embrace distributive clinical training and even rethink admissions requirements. 

Published nearly a year ago, our article “What Vet School Could Look Like” — read it at bit.ly/VetSchool — speculated on the veterinary learner of tomorrow. While at the time we were encouraged by the early green shoots of change in veterinary higher education, our expectations were low, frankly, given the glacial rate of change in […]

veterinary nurses

Two out of three is bad

Creative Disruption

We have technology and wellness care down pat. So then, why are we so slow to empower veterinary nurses? They are capable of so much more. Doctors, it’s your move.

Meat Loaf the singer released his “Bat Out of Hell” signature album, the music of my youth, in 1977. (I know I’m old.) On the album was the power ballad “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” a great song and a sentiment I typically share. In the case of the pandemic, however, two out of […]

A long-term answer

Creative Disruption

Under a subscription wellness plan, pets and their owners return time and again. Ongoing preventive care is great for the patient, good for compliance and a net gain for practices and their teams.

Secret formulas have been credited with the success of many well-known companies. Think Coca-Cola, KFC, Google with its algorithm and maybe Krusty Krab with its SpongeBob SquarePants Krabby Patty. What otherwise would have been pedestrian brands with limited potential instead became household names. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could mix up a secret formula […]

commitment culture

What the corporates get wrong

Creative Disruption

Successful, happy practice is more about commitment than compliance.

Consolidation, a normal occurrence in successful, fragmented, healthy, profitable industries, has come to our profession. I would argue that the positives outweigh the negatives. That said, most corporates don’t get one critical issue. The dominant consolidators in our profession come from the manufacturing sector, specifically the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. In CPG, efficient, repeatable, […]

preventive care

Do we really want to postpone preventive care?

In these pandemic days, wellness visits might not be a priority, but the risks to animal health aren’t going away.

Like all of us, I’m following with great interest the changing landscape of COVID-19 and am especially appreciative of our associations’ continuously updating the profession and providing expert guidance. However, I’m troubled by the recommendation that we postpone preventive care. I’m struck by our profession’s long-term discounting of the value of wellness care. With tens […]

time

We can’t afford to wait

Creative Disruption

Virtual care and reinvention of the veterinary nurse will take our profession to the next level. The taxi and recording industries were asleep at the wheel at crucial moments in history. Look where it got them.

Consumers will get what they want, when they want it and where they want it at a value they deem appropriate, and with little regard for who provides it. For example, consumers desired a taxi service that was more convenient, tech-forward, clean and at a good value. Frustration with the taxi industry was rampant. Similarly, […]

learning

Always be learning

Creative Disruption

The path to enlightenment is paved with lecture halls and PowerPoint presentations. Or we can try something different. In the end, we need to be engaged, excited and current.

The continuing education myth is the fallacy that attending CE events keeps veterinary professionals current with contemporary standards of practice. Remember when your professor told you that half of everything you learn today will be obsolete in five years? Man, was she right! Lifelong learners, that’s what we all aspire to be. In fact, we […]

vet school

A shared journey

The evolution of veterinary education and successful practice requires open-mindedness and a willingness to change. Universities, employers and students all have key roles to play.

The cries from longtime practitioners and from the lectern at last summer’s AVMA House of Delegates meeting cast light on a startling accusation: New and recent veterinary school graduates lack practice readiness. The fingers are being pointed at academia and the students themselves. But, we ask, is that fair? We believe that U.S. veterinary schools […]

education

What vet school could look like

Four-year programs? No. Blockchain technology? Yes. Income sharing? Perhaps. We have a lot to learn about education and how knowledge is shared and absorbed.

How can we better prepare the veterinary student of the future, and do it more cost-effectively? Let’s get provocative and toss out 10 ideas for consideration, debate, improvement and adoption. We’re ready for the tomatoes to be launched. We don’t claim to have all the answers. 1. Hybrid Distributive Model In this model, which is […]

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