Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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41 October/November 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM The science is compelling: Optimists are more likely to suc- ceed in the face of difficulty, be more successful in professional situations, and maintain higher lev- els of well-being and mental health during times of stress. Optimism is a choice. Choose optimism. In no way do I want to discount the issues our profession faces. They must be addressed — the well- being crisis, the cost of veterinary education, the enormous number of pets not benefitting from veter- inary care. That said, I still believe there's never been a better time to be a veterinary professional. Call me naïve, call me a Pollyanna, call me blind to the negative. I would argue that optimism is not about being blind to the negative. Optimism is about learning to see the positive and acting on the opportunities presented despite the negativity. In support of optimism, consider: The Big Trends Take a look at the data. Pet ownership is up, pet spending is up, pet lifespans are up, euthanasia is down. We're experiencing record investments in the pet industry. The bottom line is, our profession is growing two to three times the rate of the rest of the economy. The Pet Gen Millennial pet spending now surpasses that of the baby boomer. Millennials are getting pets sooner and spending more on them. Millennials are arguably more bonded to their fur babies than any generation to date. Gen Z is showing similar characteristics. Technology We are on the doorstep of a technological revolution centered on supporting the pet/family/vet- erinary connection. In just a hand- ful of years, we'll benefit from a dramatically different tech-enabled relationship with the pet families we serve. Did you hear that? That's the sound of current barriers to care beginning to crumble. Millen- nials will insist and we will deliver. Veterinary medicine's adaptation of technology and telehealth must evolve to meet the needs of our pet families. The Bond Society has never had a better understanding of the value of family pets. We now recognize that grandma is happier and healthier when she has a cat companion. Our children experi- ence fewer allergies and are more empathic when they have pet siblings. Human obesity's nem- esis is a simple dog walk; Uncle Jim recovers from his heart attack quicker. Simply put, the recipe for a long and happy life is to eat well, exercise and own a pet. Economics There are a ton of jobs for veterinary professionals today. If you don't like your job, leave. Be professional, fulfill your contrac- tual obligations, provide plenty of notice and leave. Great jobs are out there. Anecdotally, I reviewed a number of employment agree- ments for the recently graduated class of 2018. Job offers in the $80K, $90K and a few in the $100K range are the norm. Veterinary compensation is moving up finally. Veterinary Academia Have you looked at the new veterinary schools' curricula? They are dramatically different (and better, in my opinion) than those most of us experienced. Competen- cies that most highly correlate with success outside of the ivy-covered halls are being stressed in new core curricula. One to note is communi- cation training centered on dozens of simulated client encounters ranging from conflict to euthanasia to estimate presentation. Other required courses include leader- ship training, clinical skills labs and practice management. All are better preparing students for the veterinary world they are inherit- ing. There is a renewed focus on preparing confident and compe- tent entry-level veterinarians. Oh, and by the way, the current crop of veterinary students is brilliant. The students are smart, idealistic, multitaskers, tech-savvy and team players. They think differently than my boomer generation, and I like it. Public Esteem Veterinarians continue to be among the most-admired professionals. People love us. They want to be us. This gives us a huge boost. I've had several opportunities to lobby in support of our profession. I thought that given our profession's small size and even smaller wallets, my voice might not be heard. Boy, was I wrong. I found that legislators are eager to speak with veterinarians. Legislators get it. They like and own pets. And, as it turns out, their voters have pets, too. Politicians are not eager to get sideways with a profession that is held in such high regard by constituents. Wellness Both the American Animal Hospital Association and the Amer- ican Veterinary Medical Association are doing tremendous work in I tell students every chance I get that there has never been a better time to be a veterinarian. I believe it. Dr. Google, rising competition, Amazon, consolidation, increasing complexity of running a vet biz, struggle to get cats in the door, staff turnover, accounts receivable, compliance and grumpy clients — I get it. Painting a pessi- mistic picture is easy, but don't. How one responds to any given situation is a choice. Community CREATIVE DISRUPTION By Bob Lester, DVM Choose optimism The veterinary profession is awash in change and opportunity. You should be excited to be part of this era. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Continued on Page 43

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