Verdon: Dr. Soares, what is your perspective as an owner and a hiring manager?
Soares: My practice is 22 months young. I have a staff of 14 with two associate veterinarians. In the first 15 months we became AAHA-accredited,
and became a $1 million company. It took a lot of work. It was very difficult.
Every day, I am an owner and a practitioner. I can say I can do it all, but I'm not doing it alone. I am a mother of two small
children, and I have a wonderful support system that has helped me do what I want to do.
The largest issues that practitioners and practice owners are facing is dealing with a new generation that has a completely
different work ethic. They demand a lot. They are techno-literate. They are multi-taskers, and they have had instant access
to information their entire lives. They come with compensation demands. They have high expectations of what can be done for
them, and some are even coming with their own attorney or at least their attorney's business card.
I call it an "attitudinal" work ethic. That means their attitudes toward work are completely different than past generations.
They want their work to have meaning, but they don't want their work to define their lives. I see this for both males and
The practitioners hiring this generation will need to understand these generational differences and provide the required training
to motivate and retain these veterinarians.
Generation Y questions everything. "Why can't I leave by 5 p.m.?"
Their orientation into private practice needs to be designed specifically toward providing them with what they do for a living
and why being a good practitioner relates to the success of your business.
Provide reasons for directives, protocols and policies set forth in practice. An ongoing training program is essential. They
want it. They demand it. I think this generation can easily become bored if not challenged.
I think it is going to require additional time and mentoring on the part of the practice owner, too. Practice managers can
do only so much of this.
Mashima: You can hear the call from the table. Something needs to be different. It's about when a student becomes a veterinarian and
meeting a societal need. All the veterinary schools have made some independent moves in terms of how to improve and deliver
for their state, region and nation. I think all of them recognize that something needs to be different in meeting society's
needs. How do we achieve that? One thing we are doing as an umbrella organization is we started the North American Veterinary
Education Consortium to look at curricula, accreditation or licensing to help guarantee future success. These are trying times.
And they are different. So, what are we going to do in each of the schools? Do we change the way we recruit students? This
has been a complaint across all health professions; we are not getting the same students with the same work ethic. Our pool
of students will not change because we want something.
Hope is not a strategy.