I had a realization about two years ago that our profession was not headed in a good direction. I have been in this profession literally since I was a little kid. My dad is a veterinarian, and I was in grade school when he was in veterinary school. I spent untold amounts of time working in his practice and also was fortunate enough to work with many of his colleagues who made it very clear to me that being a veterinarian is what I wanted to be more than anything else!
Since I have been in the profession in some capacity for about 35 years-I have seen a lot of changes-we are definitely practicing better medicine, and pets today get treated as well as, if not better than, some of us when we need to see a medical professional.
Unfortunately, there have also been some changes for the worse as well. Practice owners are under increasing amounts of stress every day. The pressure to have the newest and best equipment and facilities, the struggle to be the leaders we want to be within our practices, and the feeling of inadequacy we all struggle with when we finally realize we can’t be it all or have it all are all contributing factors to this increased stress.
We also can’t overlook the huge number of women who now make up the younger practitioners. These women believe they can have it all – a career; a family etc. and that is something we know will not really be possible with the path we are on. Almost all new graduates are coming out of school with somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 of debt. Honestly, those are numbers I literally can’t wrap my brain around. I can’t imagine how that feels on top of trying to learn all there is to learn, thinking about having a family, and maybe owning their own practice (I can feel my anxiety level increasing just as I write this!).
I believe in order to have the practices we want to have, as well as live the kind of lives we want to live, we must embrace a new way of doing things. We must challenge the status quo because it is no longer working!
So this blog exists for a few reasons- first, to create a community of like-minded people who can share their successes as well as their struggles. The members of our community can then become the change agents we need in veterinary medicine -people who are not going to do things the same old ways because those ways are no longer sustainable. This community will embrace their leadership roles, the influence they have, and the difference they can make in all of their team members and clients lives. John Maxwell says “everything rises and falls on leadership” and I believe that with every ounce of my being!