By Silvia Janska

As the covid pandemic slowly subsides, the summer holidays come to an end, and conference season begins once more, I am keen to explore what opportunities lie ahead of us. What opportunities are there for the future of our veterinary profession. For this I reached out to a few of our veterinary association’s presidents, junior vice presidents, and senior vice presidents to find out what they think.

Malcolm Morley – BVA Junior Vice President

Without any doubt, the greatest opportunities lie in creating great workplaces where employees feel valued, fit in, and want to work. To quote from BVA’s report on Motivations, Satisfaction and Retention with the University of Exeter,  “…the day-to-day experiences of vets shape their motivations and ambitions, their job satisfaction and intentions to stay within the profession, and their health and wellbeing.” The opposite is also true, and in a workforce shortage I would be concerned about any business that fails to invest in people.

Andrew Parker – SPVS President

The Veterinary profession has changed enormously since I started my career. Many of those changes have created greater pressures on individuals and practices. The profession is gradually coping with these changes. In times of change and hardship there are opportunities, and these depend on your career path. If you are looking for the 9 to 5 job with minimal responsibility, other than your patients corporate practice fits well. Progression in Corporate practices will lead to Clinical Director or even higher positions within the company. These are the opportunities available in this area of work. However, if you are looking for independence and forging your own career path, then it has never been a better time for starting your own practice. This is a great opportunity that should not be missed. There is a massive amount of support out there for one wanting this path. Membership of SPVS is, in my view, the best way to get that support.

Huw Griffiths – BEVA Senior Vice President

With changing working patterns new opportunities are arising for practices and associates. Flexible working, and novel business models will provide professional diversity in a way we have not seen before. Client education will be key, and the veterinary associations are perfectly placed to help navigate the transition. 

Sheldon Middleton – BSAVA Senior Vice President

The largest opportunity for the profession is in a digital transformation. I’m not necessarily talking about teleconsulting (although that is part of it) but more the opportunities that technology can bring to everyday practice in terms of increasing clinical efficiency. The automation of routine tasks, alternative ways of triaging and communicating with clients as well as harnessing the power of data capture and analysis will bring massive change but also massive opportunity to improve clinical outcomes, access more patients and increase patient and staff welfare. 

Josephine Oakden – BVNA Senior Vice President

I think the biggest opportunity in our profession – looking at it from a veterinary nursing perspective – is to work together to educate the public and the profession on the role of the veterinary nurse, to enhance the role in practice and outside. The BVNA is working alongside the RCVS and BVA to drive the legislative changes proposed forward, including Protection of the Title ‘Veterinary Nurse’, which I believe is the biggest opportunity at present for the veterinary nursing profession.

There has been a lot of change across the veterinary profession in the past couple of years. Change, whether pre-planned or not, brings with it opportunities for improvement. Whether that is improvement in processes, such as the use of technology; improvement in strategy, such as the veterinary practice business model; or improvement in business culture, such as people investment. The key for maximising success of the opportunities presented to us is well summarised by Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. What can you do to maximise on your opportunities in your workplace and make the vet profession an even nicer place?

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