DVM Newsmakers' Summit: Supply in demand? - DVM
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DVM Newsmakers' Summit: Supply in demand?
Veterinarian shortage looms as demands change, experts say


Dr. King: I went back and read that KPMG study, and its observations were stated in purely economic terms. We don't live in purely economic terms. They also recommended that we need more veterinarians because the profession was operating under a poor business model. It also said that there are remarkable opportunities that are being missed. And one of the issues is that we didn't lack opportunities but we may lack the skills necessary to take advantage of the opportunities, and that's a whole different area.

I would also say that I see a number of students, young veterinarians two or three years out, actually come back to the schools because they are not that satisfied with private practice. They are looking at other possibilities for career enhancement. It represents a fairly sizable cohort that we can start to redirect in some these areas of public practice and in areas that might be underserved. I'm also concerned over the statistics in food animal practices that within five years, 50 percent of young veterinarians going into that segment actually leave. So it's also about retention.

This is a big issue of leadership for the profession. We don't want to create a heritage of lost opportunity, and I think if we can get onboard with these obligations as a profession, I think that's what really needs to be done. We need to take advantage of these really remarkable opportunities.

Question from the audience: Are we turning into a part-time profession?

Dr. King: This is a major issue in the private sector because 25 percent of all veterinarians are now in part-time practice, and the number is growing. It's mostly a gender issue, because only 10 percent of men are practicing part-time, which is almost all attributed to semi-retirement. That will change over time naturally.

The reality is we will need a lot more veterinarians. There is a good thing about part-time veterinary medicine in that it's easier to patch in people if you can't afford a full-time person.

I work with one practice that has three or four ladies, and they're all working part time. None of them, including the owner, will work anything but part time. It poses tremendous operational and logistical issues to run a practice, and this is our future.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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