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student loan debt

Driven to despair

Are you struggling to pay off your school loans? An income-driven repayment plan can be a path to financial freedom for student borrowers — and possibly to loan forgiveness.

Your choice to become a veterinarian likely came at great cost. Veterinary students who graduated in 2017 with outstanding school loans owed an average of $166,714, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Compare that with a veterinarian’s median 2018 salary of $93,830 and your debt-to-income ratio is probably high. You might have trouble keeping […]

choices

Unintended consequences

Creative Disruption

You might be tracking the wrong key performance indicators. Try a few that focus on the pet, the owner and your employees.

Did you hear about Wells Fargo? For years, the company served as a role model in the banking world for exemplary customer service. Wells Fargo set a goal, or key performance indicator (KPI), to sell eight products to every customer. To accomplish this, they created the “Eight is great” motto, which incentivized employees to cross-sell […]

timeout

You’re not a babysitter

Practice Smarter

Practice managers are hired to manage. Often, the best approach is to direct team members to make decisions and resolve conflicts on their own.

Recently, while consulting at a veterinary practice, I saw the manager being constantly interrupted by team members. Many times, a line of people formed at the door. One team member was requesting a day off, another was asking for authorization to dispense heartworm medication, another was upset about how a co-worker had treated her, and […]

goldfish

Oh, how things have changed

Politics and Policy

The veterinary world looks a whole lot different than it did 15 years ago. That’s a very good thing.

When I first worked on veterinary and animal welfare issues, back in 2004, two things were clear: I’d move on to other venues when the microchipping coalition wrapped up and we abandoned the silly notion that microchips and scanners for identifying lost pets should use proprietary technologies. No chance of me becoming what my kids […]

diversity

Appearances can be deceiving

Diversity Toolbox

A professional look means different things to different people. Does your clinic’s policy reflect core values and a commitment to diversity?

Many years ago, my office initiated a dress code review. During our working group meetings, my male colleagues bemoaned how women could wear sleeveless shirts and sandals during the summer, while men were limited to sleeved shirts, neck ties and hot, confining loafers and Oxford shoes. Conversations quickly devolved into a gendered discussion about equity […]

hard times

7 financial foul-ups

Veterinarians make some basic errors when it comes to money in their pocket and in their retirement fund. Budget? What budget?

Whether you’re a seasoned multipractice owner or just out of veterinary school, personal financial mistakes can occur at any point of your career. Here are seven common errors, each of which can affect your financial well-being equally. 1. Not Having an Emergency Fund You hear the expression “rainy day fund,” but in reality what you […]

discrimination

The scourge of discrimination

Ugly acts of bigotry and intolerance are perpetrated by colleagues and clients. Learn what your practice can do to become more diverse and inclusive.

It was a typical day at the corporate veterinary hospital where Dr. Donna Smith had been employed for nearly a year. After seeing patients, Dr. Smith walked into a central treatment area and saw a noose fashioned from white nylon rope hanging from an overhead examination light. Dr. Smith, who is African American, asked the […]

crossroads

Telemedicine nears a crossroads

Politics and Policy

Much has been accomplished to this point. Now it’s time for lawmakers and state and national organizations to step up.

It’s time for a checkup. Not for my pets, but for a certain item called veterinary telemedicine. Every reader of Today’s Veterinary Business knows that you cannot attend a local, state or national veterinary meeting without seeing telemedicine on the agenda. It’s been that way for the past 2½ years. The NAVC’s January conference, VMX, […]

veterinary office

Pipelines and pathways

Diversity Toolbox

Veterinary professionals can do more inside and outside of the practice to expose young people to potential careers in animal health and plug the leakage of talented students to other industries.

Annual studies conducted by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges find that prospective veterinary students routinely express interest in the profession before age 10. In those 10 short years, they develop a love of animals and a desire to help them. The profession, however, can seem one dimensional to young people: Veterinarians take care […]

ocean

Come aboard!

Creative Disruption

The veterinary industry has a lot going for it, starting with the historic role pets play in everyday life. Staffing issues and the cost of care deserve attention, however.

Sailors are familiar with the phrase “fair winds and following seas.” The saying refers to ideal conditions for steering a ship. Our profession is enjoying both fair winds and a few rough seas. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about our profession’s tailwinds and headwinds. Ever the optimist, I’ll start with tailwinds, which in […]

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