My name is James Greenwood and I am a vet. I initially turned a blind eye to the plight of our junior doctors.  Then reports of disillusionment, emigration and even suicide started to follow.  For two professions that historically share a friendly rivalry, I fear we have found some unsavoury common ground.

I will attempt to shed light.

It comes as no surprise that being a vet is an emotional vocation.  For each consultation we take on a different script and persona. Every 10 minutes our patter must shift effortlessly from an air of condolence to that of celebration, suppressing our own emotions to remain ever ‘professional’.  From euthanasia to caesarean, this roller coaster never stops and we are expected to hop on board whether we feel like it or not.

There’s also the issue of money.  Most of you have to fork out to see us and most of us hate talking about it.  Put bluntly, you pay and we perform. The pet owning population has a long held perception that vets earn high as vets bills are expensive and unwanted, both financially and emotionally.

Without doubt, as more private practices are selling out to venture capitalist groups, there are a good number of practice owners reaping some heavy reward.  But what about the employed vet, the veterinary equivalent to the ‘junior doctor’?

The most recent survey suggests new graduate veterinary salaries have dropped 3.7% and a vet qualified 11 to 15 years can hope to earn an average £48k compared to a doctor earning up to £83k and dentists £110k.

Perhaps that goes someway to explain why a Vet Futures report by the British Veterinary Association and The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2015 revealed an alarming level of career dissatisfaction amongst vets qualified within the last 8 years?  Over half of those interviewed said the career had not matched their expectations and 1 in 10 were thinking of leaving the profession entirely.

I can’t speak for the generation of vets ahead of me, or those just starting out.  But I can speak for my own and I know feeling overworked and undervalued is a common factor in many of my graduate peers re-thinking their career choice.

But are we just a whining generation of underperformers? Do we expect too much reward for too little input?

Interestingly, CM Research surveyed 3000 vets from across Europe and the US.  Vets in the UK see on average 29 patients a day – the highest daily caseload throughout Europe and the US.

However, salaries for UK vets remain far lower than their US or European counterparts.  No surprise then that UK practice performance has grown, with 45% of practices doing ‘slightly better’ and 13% doing ‘much better’ than last year.

It seems junior vets are working pretty hard after all but it also appears they are not reaping fair reward, and with limited reward, what of motivation?  Obviously, the clinical work itself offers massive personal reward and is a major motivational drive but is it so ethically wrong for a vet to aspire to earn enough to start paying off a mortgage?

In my opinion, compassion fatigue is the result of feeling undervalued and unmotivated. For the general population, I imagine the idyllic notion of being a vet does not conjure images of depression, let alone suicide.

Tragically, vets are statistically four times more likely to take their own lives than the general population. Yet, for decades, the veterinary profession has brushed this grubby little secret under the carpet hoping the black dog of depression would move out and scratch at someone else’s door.

Junior vets are suffering an unprecedented level of career dissatisfaction in a profession that already struggles with alarming rates of mental health issues. Ultimately we are on the brink of a mass exodus of an entire veterinary generation.  From looking at how the veterinary industry has been shaped over the past 8-10 years, young vets are choosing flight over fight.

These are the vets with experience, often popular with clients and clinically sound.  Like the junior doctors, these vets are valuable.  They are profitable and the future of the veterinary profession depends on them to remain in practice.

If I had chosen to study medicine at university, I would probably now be categorised as a ‘junior doctor’.   Back in May, I invited junior doctors to email me their thoughts on the then proposed contract via social media. I received reports of disillusionment, frustration and plans to emigrate.

The new contract suggested junior doctors should work even harder by spreading themselves thinner, working more unsociable hours as a proportion of their working week to provide cover at weekends and evenings.

Despite a base salary increase, major cuts to the banding pay system (the doctor’s equivalent to overtime) would have essentially required them to perform this task with little to no increased remuneration.   In fact, some would potentially be paid less than they do currently.

As a junior vet, this all sounds strangely familiar.  Many UK junior vets are already working under such ‘Jeremy Hunt’ style contracts. It is written into contracts to work long, unsociable and weekend hours as standard with no additional overtime pay and an expectation to cope.

I’m sure there will be some reading this thinking ‘he doesn’t care about the animals, just the money’.   However, this is the reality of working within a caring profession.  You care.  In fact, you care so much that you will sacrifice your own health to meet the demands of others. But this is a job and we should not be made to feel guilty for raising the issue.  We need to earn a living and that should correlate fairly to the hard work performed.

Vets cannot compare themselves directly to the union led, public sector medical profession.   The government dictates the future of the NHS.  However, vets have an advantage over doctors in that they can steer the future of their profession in whichever direction they choose.

Vets have always been in competition with each other.  We compete to get into university, compete for jobs and compete viciously as practices to retain clients.  It’s a game of ‘every (wo)man for themselves’.

As with the doctors, vets must learn to find a unified, cross-generational voice. We must come together to collectively decide the future of our profession, both clinically and economically to ensure all vets at all stages of their career can benefit mutually and gain fair reward.

I have an appreciable empathy for those junior doctors that fought for a fair deal and I admire their bravery to speak out.  I am not generally in favour of strike action but in this case, I am.  With the support of consultants (possibly in fear of being next in the firing line), the strike has not put anyone at risk but effectively highlighted the desperate situation.  The proposed contract has subsequently been withdrawn and a referendum vote for a more balanced contract is due on Wednesday.

Junior vets, similar to the junior doctors, are clearly struggling and we need support from within our veterinary profession. Junior vets cannot go on strike and I doubt many would actually want to, but instead I ask our senior vets, currently with all the power, to consider where our future lies.

I love being a vet.  Every day is different and every day brings with it a new surprise. And I love animals.  I get to spend all day in the company of animals and for that I am eternally grateful.  It is a wonderful privilege.

In the recent weeks of turmoil and unrest, the conclusion to the Junior Doctors fight may fall on somewhat distracted ears but I for one will congratulate them now, which ever way their vote sways and say their plight has been courageous and worthwhile. More importantly, they have set an example to us vets. Treat each other fairly.

Today, a Vet Futures summit is being held by The British Veterinary Association and The Royal Veterinary College in London to discuss the future of our profession. During the coming days, our doctors will seal their own fate. I, for one, am hoping that today may also mark the start of a new era for our vets too.

 

Since I released this article on 4/7/16, it has had over 16,000 views.

Despite the BMA members rejecting the deal reached in May, the Junior doctors’ contract was imposed on the 6/7/16 regardless.   What happens next is yet to be decided…

On the 7/7/16 the BVA and the RCVS released a Vet Futures Action Plan in response to the issues raised at the Vet Futures summit.   The action plan covers many of the issues felt in this article, and more,  and is a positive step forward for our profession.  

The action plan can be viewed at: http://vetfutures.org.uk/resources

39 Comments on “WHY EVERY VET SHOULD LISTEN TO THEIR DOCTOR…

      • When I sold my clinical practice 10 years ago I was employing 17 veterinary surgeons, at that time their salaries ranged from £27k up to £58k, so there has been a sharp drop in real wages, and similarly an increase in the income of percentage of owners, although many still earn quite low profits. Similarly large corporations now control most things in the UK, the three main wholesalers are owned by US companies, pharmaceutical companies control the phama market through the cascade system – all this add huge amounts to client costs, and reduces the range of drugs we can dispense (remember Big Brother knows best) . Loads of other ancillary companies now feed off the profession which adds further costs. However the solution lies in your own hands – look around find the right place get some private equity (A lot of individuals would be prepared to help fund a veterinary practice- not banks) and take on the corporates. An independent vet had huge advantages over the cumbersome corporate-The most important strengths are the 3 A’s
        Aspiration
        Attitude
        Agility

        So get out there be committed an take a chance- you can practice to the standard and level you want

        Malcolm

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  1. Hi James, I’m in Australia and practiced for 5 years before getting out of the veterinary profession. I did mixed practice in a rural areas, went locuming around the country and then gave up after hours and did small animal practice in town. People ask me all the time why I left the industry, I think public perception of the job is very romanticised. My answer is always so long as so many factors played a part for me. Hugely compassion fatigued, unhealthy in myself, often not eating all day during a 10h shift surviving on coffee, arriving to the clinic in the morning to be greeted with ‘Mrs Smiths been here for 20 minutes waiting to out her dog down’ (Good morning to you too!), dealing with toxic drugs, X-rays, animal bites and scratches, owners with no money, owners that don’t want to see you because you’re too young, owners that don’t want to see you because you’re a a female, knowing my friends from school who cruised through and went to work in the mines are owning houses and having holidays and I’m asking my parents for money… It has been 2 and a half years and I still feel tired just thinking about what I used to do day in day out. After about 18 months post veterinary career I had a bout of depression where I think everything just caught up with me and I finally had the space in my brain (and schedule) to process it all – it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m doing much better now, and I can say that when it comes to feeling valued and appreciated, I received more heartfelt thanks, interaction (and actually even gifts!) as a yoga teacher within 3 months than I did within five years of being a vet. I think if you’re someone who can leave work at work, not have to do after hours, be happy with a quiet job and not many patients through the door then great, but most of us in the profession are highly driven over-achievers who take on way too much because we can… but only for so long. I was such a good multi-tasker! I was praised all the time for handling stress, handling abuse from clients (I was sent out to deal with the irate ones and even had to call the police once), keeping on going when it got tough… On the inside I wasn’t coping. Not that I knew it then, I just pushed on (I mean I went to university for five years! I can do this!) I didn’t know it would have such profound effects on my health and wellbeing long term. Anyway, thank goodness for the vets whose passion outweighs ‘all of that’ because I’m going to need one when my cat gets older! Thanks for writing the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Kelly, thank you so much for sharing such a personal account. It is so sad that the profession has obviously lost such a wonderful vet but there is no way you can carry on like that and I have absolute admiration for your bravery to seek a different path. No easy feat. I am so pleased to hear you have found happiness, which is the most important thing in life. Thank you for the comment. James.

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  2. Hi James,
    Fantastic article. Would you mind sharing where the 48k average wage figure came from? Would be useful for my next annual review!

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    • Hi Katherine, Good point!! Use it at will! It’s from prospects.ac.uk (I don’t know many that have reached those dizzying heights though!!!) J

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  3. I’ve been writing & sharing this info for years. Literature on depression states it IS the high achievers who suffer worse as they never give in, until they break. It doesn’t help when older, allegedly more experience & allegedly supporting vets on the end of the phone at the VDS say things like, “well done for saying no to the medication” ! Do we need to remind them that antibiotics treat bacterial infections, anti inflammatories assist in anti swelling & hence pain relief. Therefore, previously known as anti depressants, which are truly anti anxiolytics & the classification is gradually improving, assist your body in treating your anxiety & stress, which stems from compassion fatigue, being overworked & underappreciated, be that verbally or monetarily. They are well trialled meds that assist you in dragging your heavy heart, mind & soul out of the sadness it has descended into. You have to choose yourself, as no one else will. I can no longer work 3 days a week as a vet. I’m 15yrs highly experienced & really should only Locum 1 day per week, as that means we can just about manage financially & mentally. People aren’t ashamed of having cancer, we shouldn’t be ashamed of ‘the disease of the strong’.
    I hope I’ve helped just 1 person. Please share or pass on xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma, thank you for sharing. It really is a problem within our profession that needs addressing and I wholeheartedly agree with the use of medication as a means of support in such difficult times, to offer clarity to work out underlying stressors and to help implement change. Thank you for sharing such a personal note. I hope you can find a way to make veterinary work for you and not the other way around. J

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  4. A very thought-provoking and insightful article James. As a vet turned doctor, I see many parallels between the professions. A notable difference I think, is the lack of a cohesive body within the veterinary profession to provide that well needed support as a new grad and beyond. Working in an NHS hospital as a junior doctor you are surrounded by not only many others at your level sharing the same experience but by a very well defined (albeit hierarchical) trajectory of seniors for support and guidance.

    As the junior doctor strikes unfolded in my final year, the outlook seemed bleak and it was easy to become disenchanted by a culture of pessimism. But actually, seeing a profession stand together as one to challenge the new contract was , to me, inspiring. So I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The veterinary profession does not need a trade union to be cohesive but the BMA I think could do more to promote this culture of support and cooperation.

    With both professions; your working day is dominated by stress, pressure and responsibility; it’s easy to forget the reasons you worked so hard to get there. So every day you just need to take a moment to remember.

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    • Thanks Roberta, very interesting to hear from someone who has experienced both professions. Totally agree with your suggestions, a framework or supporting body would be invaluable. Thanks again, J

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  5. Equine vet needed in New Zealand

    Come live the dream an be well paid

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  6. Hi, very good article. Pity that a solution is unlikely to be found. The RCVS is unlikely to do anything and I suspect that the welfare of their members is not within their remit. As a 30 years plus graduate I wanted to point out the issues are not new. I for one expected to see 35 to 40 cases a day 6 days a week (12 days working 2 days off and 1 in 2 nights on call) in the 1980s and salaries were nothing special. My personal record was 60 consults one saturday in an eleven hour stint. Life has changed a lot since then and most vets don’t work these hours but the public are more demanding than every. Take the owners out of the equation and it’s a great profession. It’s a pity that there is probably no answer because you see one awful owner which outweighs all the nice ones in the day.

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    • Thanks for the reply. I don’t think any vets are work shy and relish the challenge of ‘a good days graft’ but that’s another really interesting point-how to meet the demands of the clients when they expect more and more but practices are slashing prices and offering ridiculous deals just to retain clients. What if vets agree a national minimum consultation fee (like the French do with baguettes!!) to stop competing practices from offering such cheap deals and undercutting each other. There is no such thing as ‘cheap’ vet care as every vet will work to their best ability regardless of where the practice pitches the consulting fee, which some practices unfortunately capitalise on. Thanks, J

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  7. Brilliant article!
    So true, I just can’t see anything ever changing. Very good point that vets always have to consider people’s financial circumstances and cost of treatment, whereas a doctor has a budget and NHS boss to answer to, not a patient with financial worries! And as soon as we mention money then we get accused of not caring. If I complain to lay people about the ‘bad weekend on call’ the answer always is your getting paid for
    It but they don’t realise the emotional roller coaster- stress/adrenaline/fatigue and the pull away from family life that it causes. Junior doctors at least have the prospect of moving up the ranks they are only juniors for a couple of years. We are always assistants unless we buy into a practice, which usually is only possible from family money as we don’t earn enough/have too many loans to save for that prospect! As someone who is 11y qualified I don’t know any that earn the £48k quoted here!!!
    I’m grateful to be able to be in career that I have always aimed towards and I’m sure many other people would love to be in, but after time it can take its toll! ultimately I love working with animals, it really is hard when u care and want to do everything you can for them to best of your ability!

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    • Thanks Kirsty, I’ve heard this from a few vets that have commented on the article. That there is a lack of career progression unless you want to just keep going up the academic route (cert/intern/residency etc) but not all vets want to specialise! The GP vet is equally important, moreso now than ever to keep feeding the cases into the multitude of referral practices that keep popping up everywhere!! Thanks for the comment…J

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    • I’m shocked at times at how many hours vets work and for such little pay too. I’m actually pleased I never made it to be a vet now. It’s quite a tough life

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  8. Thank you for your great article. I have felt very much for the junior doctors having had my own working hours expanded later into the evenings and longer opening hours at weekends with no financial rewards. Having 2 children the extra I earn for weekday hours goes on paying people to look after my children. I get the time back for weekend work in lieu which again doesn’t help as I have to pay for the nursery anyway and spend time by myself instead of with my family. I get no remuneration for night out of hours and it is exhausting juggling my schedule with my husbands who’s work involves travelling abroad a lot.
    Having argued my point as much as I could when working hours were changed I was told I could either sign the contract or get another job.
    With most vets run by cooperates more and more are running evening and full weekend clinics and us vets are trapped into this schedule. This becomes worse as once 1 vet does it in an area the others have to to remain competitive. Again it leaves you wondering if it’s worth it. There are no longer the gains of becoming a partner and once you reach a certain level (about 8 years qualified) then you are at the top of your pay scale with nowhere to go really and unfortunately that is short of 48k for most of us. Is it worth it? I’m not sure anymore

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    • I think you have given a perfect example of the type of working contracts some (majority?) of vets are subjected to. And this issue of undercutting or price matching neighbouring practices is so frustrating. I agree with the 48k being much higher than I would have expected, I suspect it may be geographical to an extent but that is the figure quoted. Thanks again, J

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  9. Hi James, I completely agree with David. I’ve noticed a shift even in the last 5 years at my current practice. Clients want more for less, so much so that some consults feel more like a battle and still ask to see the ‘senior’ vet even though what they actually mean is ‘male’ (I am one of the senior vets at my practice). I see far more complaints now, people see complaining as a way of getting money off, even when they’ve been given comprehensive estimates, consented to treatment and you have put your heart and soul into treating that animal. It’s become so common, our phone calls are all recorded and we now have CCTV in the consulting rooms to disprove the many incorrect claims. I’ve had someone object that I wouldn’t come in on my day off to perform a surgery that wasn’t convenient for them to bring the animal in for on the days that I work (I’m part-time now and they know it’s because I have a young child but my family life should apparently take a back seat). I can completely understand new grads feeling disillusioned when you put everything into a job, keep missing out on all those important social occasions, weddings, birthdays etc because of the long hours just to get abuse. Some of my clients are lovely and appreciative but unfortunately, the balance is shifting.

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    • Hi Kim, thanks for the comment. Wow-CCTV and recorded calls, I’ve never heard of that before but I guess that reflects the current situation. i think ‘value’ is another very interesting topic in vet medicine, how a client perceives the value of a procedure and where they are willing to pitch that value in monetary terms. naybe there’s another article there….!! Thanks, J

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  10. Thank you for writing this article!

    I graduated from vet school two days ago. For all the reasons discussed I have no intentions to work as a vet.

    Two of my vet school friends ,who qualified last year, never ended up working in the profession. Instead, one became a wild life guide while the other became a high rise window cleaner.
    They weren’t willing to accept the mental health strain of preforming vet work when they could earn a similar salary doing something less depressing.

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    • Well that just speaks volumes…..!! It saddens me to hear but you can’t stick with something if it’s making you so unhappy. I would say don’t give up before you’ve started though if you can bear it!! take your time, do your research and find a supportive practice. There are plenty out there that are really supportive and will help you through the first few years. Thank you for sharing and keep us posted!! J

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  11. Hi James,

    Great article. As a three year qualified vet I empathise fully with the points you make and, having attended the Vet Futures summit yesterday, am extremely pleased to see BVA and RCVS coming together to tackle this absolutely crucial issue. The issues are complex and easy solutions may be difficult to identify but vets are clever and innovative bunch and I am confident that progress can be made. Vet Futures is a great first step but the momentum needs to continue and we can all play our part in this.

    You and your readers may be interested to hear that a meeting will be held at the House of Lords in September to help highlight the causes of disillusionment in the vet profession and seek solutions. Places at the meeting are very limited and being targeted at vets 5 years qualified but if anyone would like to voice their concerns and/or recommend solutions an brief online survey is currently available at: http://www.emailmeform.com/builder/emf/VetGrad/HouseofLords

    Anthony

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    • TOTALLY AGREE!!! I think Vet Futures should be celebrated and encouraged. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a place at yesterday’s summit but I am pleased to hear the positive feedback from it. It is a multi factorial issue that won’t be resolved with a quick fix single solution but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try. And I was unaware of the meeting at H of Lords so thank you for sharing the link….. J

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  12. It’s so recognizable what’s being said here. I worked for 2 years as an equine vet in Germany with plenty of extra hours and night shift, all not being compensated for, it was part of my job and I shouldn’t wine. Next do dealing with clients complaining because they wanted “the boss”, I had to manage my boss as well as he was so overworked that whenever I made some stupid mistake with the billing or something, he would threaten to fire me. Also whenever I asked for a holiday the usual reply was: “you want another day off? I haven’t been on a holiday for 1 year….” although I only asked for the holidays as mentioned in my contract. It made me feel afraid to make mistakes and ask for help, because I was afraid my boss would lash out for me not being tough enough. When I handed in my notice he finally mentioned that I actually was a good vet and had potential and that I had a “thick skin”. Well, thanks, but this was all a little too late…
    I’m working at the university now. I still believe the veterinary profession is beautiful, and the ups working as a vet were higher compared to working at the university. But the downs were also much much deeper as a vet, and I’m quite happy at this moment, to not be on that rollercoaster anymore.

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    • Sounds like your boss is in a bad place themselves!! well done for being brave enough to re-evaluate things though rather than stay stuck in that negative environment… Thanks for the comment, J

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  13. Hi. Very nice article I run a mixed practice in Wales out vets work 9am to 5pm with an hour for lunch plus on call, 1 in 6 first on call and 1 in 6 second. I think our team is happy and content. Neighbouring practices seem to start at 8am go well in to the evening and skip lunch! I am sure this also impacts on people decisions where to work or not to work! I like to think we run a family friendly practice!

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    • Thank you and I’m really pleased you have made that comment. I totally agree, there are some great practices out there. The practice I have been in sounds very similar, small independent happy team with a real family ethos and I have no doubt there are plenty like it. The article was never to blanket bomb all practices under one roof but rather highlight the general ‘dinner table’ mood of a generation of vets currently. I hope the article also spurs vets that ARE happy to come forward and explain what they did or how they have reached that point and make suggestions that other vets that are feeling more frustrated so they can take inspiration and make their own changes too…. Thanks, J

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  14. A great article James, I hope lots of people (not just vets) get to read it. Having experienced both the bad and the good of veterinary employers I can say that it is not easy to find that ideal practice. I am lucky enough to now be able to work part-time, but I still feel as if my health is still suffering from the effects of stress and long hours in my previous jobs. It also annoys me that when I tell people, including clients, that I work part-time, their first comment is usually ‘but you don’t have a family, do you?’ – as if to say that the only ‘excuse’ for not working every possible hour is to be a parent! When I reply that I’d love to have a family, but am suffering fertility problems, thought to be related to stress, they look at me as if I am talking gibberish! ‘But you have such a great job, how can you be stressed…?!’

    I have often thought that there is not really coherent or consistent support out there for us – for all of us – and that mental health is also a topic that is rather neglected in veterinary education. I have noticed that there are now some CPD webinars geared towards ‘mindfulness’ and managing stress, which perhaps is a move that may start to improve things. Personally I would like to see similar requirements for vets as for those who work in counselling and psychotherapy, where, as part of their accreditation to the professional register they undergo ‘supervision’ – essentially some form of talking therapy, which is provided for a certain number of hours (I believe by their governing body, though I may have got that wrong) and is compulsory. This could be part of the CPD requirement and even only a few of hours would probably be of far more benefit to many in our profession than some of the CPD that we may do to make up the right number of hours each year.

    I think you are right about the profession needing to pull together and ‘be nice to each other.’ If we want our profession to continue to not only provide a great service to our clients, but to be one that is both rewarding and fair for us to work in, then we need to make that happen. No-one should have to feel that they should put their job before their health.

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    • Absolutely!!! The new CPD is a great measure, I agree, and career related counselling is another interesting idea…. Thanks for the comment, J

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  15. Hello everybody. My childhood dream was to be a vet. But by the time I was 18 I had forgotten. For about a year I thought about which University to apply to and changed my mind each week. I wanted more than a job, I wanted something that defines me and combines my passions and interests….so veterinary medicine. Everything I had red on the Internet about it sounded good. I applied to a good university (people say the most renowned in Germany ) and I got in and although it was hard I found the challenge was exactly what I needed. A survey found out that veterinary students put in 44 hours a week, while medicine students 39 h. So 44 hours a week + another job to earn the money to pay for the 5 and a half years…no problem!!! When I finished I had specialized on dairy cows and I had heard about a practice in the north of Germany, which should be really good. When I applied I was really afraid I would not get the job…but it sounded like my dream job. When I started there I soon realized I was made for this job…my love for medicine (surgery, diagnostics ) and my personality. And everybody loved me, the staff, the customers, the colleges….people even told me, I had adapted very fast, it s like I belonged there. I remember my boss complementing me on how smart I am. That day I kept thinking: IF I AM SO SMART WHY DO I FEEL SO STUPID ? I felt stupid because I was working a minimum of 11 up to 18 hours a day, every day!!! and I had no personal life, I was tired and got health problems and not enough money to compensate for this. One day I just broke……Then I realized, that I will not work my whole life in this amazingly beautiful profession and if I am that smart I would find something else. When I told my boss that I was leaving he was shocked, he never saw it coming. Now I work in research in Switzerland. I feel alive in a way I haven t felt in a very log time and yet every day I miss the practice of veterinary medicine. But every day I am grateful that I left.
    So, the compensation is no motivation, since, as a women, you have to prove your self 1000 times and the next young boy who comes along has better chances than you of being your next boss. (this had really happened!!!! one of my bosses was younger than all my older colleges). We were all 12 women working for 3 bosses.
    I had turned into a materialistic person who was very funny, making sometimes even inappropriate jokes to hide the sadness. I just did not recognize myself anymore. Today, when I hear children say they want to be a vet, I discourage them. Honestly, this was the most painful life-lesson I ever learned. Funny is that if my bosses would have understood the concept of a 9 h working day and gender equality I would have felt blessed of working there. This was in the north Germany in the years of 2014-2015.

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  16. Well written article James – thank you. I work at the RVC and was very pleased to see the Vet Futures initiative being hosted there.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What annoys me most is that at my age , having done the standard 60 hour weeks for years, I want to get paid for the hours I actually work and I’m not even talking about the overtime. 8:30/9:00 to 19:00 is never an 8 hour day. I worked at a big corporate where 4 days 9-7 and a half day a week and full day weekends with no time in lieu somehow magically turns into 40 hours. I tried to change that, I tried to get my company to consider letting vets work nursing shifts or part days, I saw the wages that I was allowed to offer plummet. Needless to say nobody wanted jobs and I can’t blame them I wouldn’t have worked the rubbish hours for the rubbish wage. I now locum, I work the odd weekend, I charge overtime. I feel that I am more protected from stress as a self employed person than I ever have been as an employed vet. Which is a shame really, mindfulness is thing but vets should be like Sainsbury’s everything in your basket costs money, 30 minutes extra work? Let’s stop being very friendly about that that is 30 minutes at the end of a long day that I don’t get to spend with my kids, 30 minutes that you would charge if your dental took longer.
    I’m a Pay as you go vet, life is much better!

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  18. This is a great article that seems to depict the real picture of private veterinary practitioners plight worldwide. My experience as a vet in Nigeria is not quiet far from what has been highlighted in this article and accompanying comments from readers. The message is veterinarians should disabuse their minds from comparing veterinary practices with a doctor’s job. Veterinary practice should be seen first as a business then a caring profession. This way practices will be able to generate the much needed revenue to cover for compensations and other benefits to take care of personal needs.

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  19. It’s interesting how common this is in the profession across the world. I am a vet student, and there is a lot of work outside of “traditional” practice, like government and industry, which typically has better pay and hours. Is that an option in the UK.

    It does seem the profession is chewing up some incredibly smart people.

    Like

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