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Why I'm Shouting So Loudly For The New Graduate Vets

Over the past six months, I’ve worked solidly on two projects.

My new book for graduate vets called “So You’re A Vet…Now What?” which, after 20 years of thinking, two years of writing and goodness knows how many edits, has finally been published this week.

And VetX, a 12-month intensive graduate vet accelerator program.

If you are hiring a new or recent graduate then today’s post is simply a plea. Buy your graduate (new or recent) a copy of the book and register them onto the course. I promise/guarantee that I will earn you a return on this investment (ROI).

Quantifying your ROI Let’s look at some stats that make painful reading.

1. According to the RCVS survey of recent graduate vets performed in 2013 - we know that 40% of graduates leave their job within 12 weeks of accepting a job offer. So not only is the £10000 that you spent on your recruitment and onboarding campaign gone if this happens, but you are now looking at a similar outlay on a new hire. (If you think I’m overblowing this figure then check out this webinar on the scary costs of veterinary recruitment. I’m underestimating the cost if anything.)

2. According to my own survey of new graduates, 75% suffer from the feeling that they are not good enough - otherwise called imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome erodes confidence and is the number one reason why people fail to grow and realise their true potential. It’s like a mental prison. A graduate suffering from this unaided is going to lack the confidence to generate trust and rapport, the two most important ingredients in getting clients to accept recommendations for their pet. In other words, until your graduate can find a way to break through their imposter syndrome, the output is going to be a fraction of what it might otherwise be. If a graduate can break through this then it’s a very short hop to imagine them generating one additional procedure each day. That, again at a conservative estimate, could generate £200 extra revenue each day or £1000/week, or £50,000/year.

3. According to the 2015 Vet Futures survey of recent graduates almost half feel that their working life has not met their expectations. This dissatisfaction is leading to a talent drain from general practice. Poor support, sustained poor work-life balance and ultimately low pay (relative to working conditions/peers) are regularly cited factors. When you are wondering why there are no experienced vets out there - these are some of the reasons. We’re not meeting their needs from early in their careers. Placing a value on this is hard, but each time a vet leaves the talent pool all of the money invested in their training and development goes up in smoke. This is clearly a very big number. Probably scarily so.

The simple truth is that these issues are hurting all of our practices. They are killing veterinary practice and I have no doubt it’s part of the problem when it comes to our mental health and suicide rates.

The status quo is not sustainable.

Honestly, it drives me crazy that this profession that I LOVE is letting so many people down. So instead of pulling my hair out and moaning, I decided to do something with my skill set to try to help. I write, I talk and I know a lot of about thriving in practice as both a vet, leader and business owner.

Which leads me back to my book and the VetX course.

So You’re A Vet…Now What? sets out a blueprint for how to have a great career and take responsibility for your own development and happiness. I was going to call it “Shit I wish someone had bothered to tell me on day one as a vet”, but my publisher thought this a bad idea.

VetX is a natural extension of the points in the book which I have developed over the last five years into an online program to teach recent graduates the life skills they need to thrive. Plus, VetX provides the mentoring support and peer network graduates miss so badly when they leave university and enter practice life. This combination of teaching, mentoring and support fosters rapid growth and confidence in the role of a general practice veterinarian.

So why not do it yourself? Why pay me?

That’s a great question with one simple answer. You are comparatively time and experience poor in this field. I don't mean that to be offensive. I really do understand from both first-hand experience and listening to practice owners across the world how much you want to give a great experience, but also how damn hard it is to make it happen - regardless of intention.

At the end of the day, the client and clinical caseload trumps all before it. Training included. We’ve all suffered from this reality.

What is the answer?

The support I believe all graduates should receive is three layers deep:

1. The teaching of non-clinical skills - time management, stress management, conflict management, client communication skills, exam room skills and financial/business skills.

2. Mentoring and peer support on the daily challenges that arise.

3. Performance management to be able to set goals and track progress toward career and clinical objectives within the context of your practice.

VetX takes the first two of the challenges out of your hands by delivering a monthly teaching program (full syllabus here) and offering access to regular mentoring and a peer network.

The last piece of this jigsaw (performance management) must be directed by the practice as you know best what you practice needs and what your employee wants to aim for in their career.

The VetX course provides the foundation skills to empower vets to achieve their goals faster. For example, a vet who has learned to build rapport in the exam room will generate more cases and hence will have more opportunities to undertake work, rapidly advancing their skills set. They will also be more able to cope with the volume of work because they have learned some coping techniques - like good time management, delegation and how to handle stress. This is why VetX should be a total no brainer.

But it gets better. Because your graduate can share their challenges, wins and experiences “safely” in the mentoring group where I will personally be spending time each day helping to inspire, support and encourage coach your young team members to develop positive outcomes to their challenges.

Basically I’ve got your back when it comes to supporting and training.

The value?

I hope you are able to see the huge benefit of this kind of education. And if you have the capability to deliver this "in-house" then I think that’s exactly what you should do.

But if you don’t have those skills, or you know that despite your best intentions the clinical case load is going to be overwhelming and the meeting schedule and support you promised is going to vanish, then please, send your new or recent graduate to VetX.

You will both win.

Normally a place on VetX costs £995 (+VAT). But as a special, limited offer for Hamster Wheel readers, I’m going to make you an offer that I hope makes the decision easy.

Register your vet today, and I’ll apply a discount of £100 to your order. The fee for one year’s worth of VetX registration, teaching and mentoring is normally £995 + VAT.

All you will pay is £895 +VAT. (If you are not in the UK then no sales tax will be applied.)

This promo code is set to expire in 7 days. After which time it will not work.

There are 30 places left open and when we reach 50 registrants the doors will close for 2017.

Have a great week and thanks for reading.

Dr D.

PS - If you have questions then I’m more than happy to get on a call to answer them. Just email me to set up a call.

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