Did you know that only about 41% of veterinarians actually recommend others to pursue a career in veterinary medicine? This is crazy to me!
When I was a second-year veterinary student, I remember walking through the lobby of the veterinary school where student-candidates were waiting to go into an interview that could effectively change their lives. These candidates were nervous, anxious, but also excited. I have been in their shoes, I know! But what blew me away was when current veterinary students would discourage them by telling them to “run, run now while you have the chance!”
Now I will tell you this… in that particular instance, we had just finished the most brutal two-hour exam in physiology you could possibly imagine. It may have left a few of us rethinking our career choice. And I think deep down they were kidding, and really just warning the student-candidates about how difficult vet school is. However, why in the world would you want to put fear and doubt into these young, eager students???
Student-candidates now interview in a different location so they don’t see (or have the ability to interact with) current students, decreasing their odds of hearing negativity from vet students. But no one should be discouraged from veterinary school! I LOVE what I do. I can’t say that I loved the endless hours of studying, the grueling exams, and the lack of sleep, but the outcome has been the best reward!
So that brings us back to the question, “Why do veterinarians not recommend others to pursue this career?”
This is a huge factor. Many don’t realize the debt load that students face today. The average debt load is around $170,000. This is about what mine was, JUST for veterinary school. This doesn’t include if you have to take out more for living or have undergraduate student debt. And most have to take out more because it is VERY difficult to have a job with the study load required.
Did you know that many veterinarians carry the burden of critical cases and euthanasia cases home with them? This is an emotionally and physically demanding job. Sometimes it is hard to tell your brain to stop thinking about a case or patient.
This is a tough one. Did you know the veterinarian profession as a whole is one of the most discounted services in the medical field? The veterinary services you pay for are already at a highly discounted rate compared to the human medical field. You might say, “Well this is an animal, not a human.” But do you know how many times a day I get told, “ This is my child, you do whatever is necessary”? In today’s society, many (not all) consider their animals as members of their family and treat them as such. Veterinarians, in general, have a huge heart. When clients complain about prices (and they do), a veterinarian can sometimes feel pressured to adjust prices to please the clients, which becomes an emotional and financial burden for the veterinarian.
These are just a few of the reasons, in my opinion, that keep veterinarians from encouraging others to pursue such a wonderful career.
What have I done?
I decided not to worry about my debt. I follow a payment plan and when I get it paid off, I get it paid off. To me, it has and continues to be, an investment in my future.
Of course everyone stresses, even me! But I choose to give my worries and stress to God. I pray about my cases and leave it in His much more capable hands.
Quality pet care should not break the bank, but I also can’t give away my services for free (see point 1 above about debt). Instead I price my services where the market dictates and provide the most stellar service I can for reasonable prices. My goal is to earn my client’s loyalty by the service and care we provide our patients.
Why do I choose to encourage others to pursue this career?
Because it is AMAZING! Everyday brings me so much gratification. I love helping others and helping animals. I also love sharing that passion through my book series. There are positive and negatives with every career choice, but it is up to YOU to determine what it is going to be in your life.