AVMA Working Together to Address Recent Graduates’ Concerns

As the 2012 AVMA annual survey of forth-year veterinary medical students found, salaries are down and debt is up. What is the AVMA doing to support recent graduates during these trying times? As Assistant Director for Recent Graduate Initiatives, I was recently involved in two key events that are diving into these issues to help better leverage our veterinary education to create more career-ready, confident professionals. This will allow new hires to be more immediately productive for their employers to therefore earn a higher wage. It was also discussed what could be done to reduce the cost of veterinary education to have a lower starting debt for new graduates.

At the 2012 AVMA Convention in San Diego this August, I participated in the Educating and Employing Successful Graduates Roundtable. Recent graduate veterinarians, employers, and college deans (roughly 10 individuals from each category) met together to discuss opportunities to change the educational process to develop graduates who feel confident and ready to practice veterinary medicine once they walk out the door of veterinary school. This includes considering curriculum changes (adjusting the curriculum to cover the most pertinent information due to the volume of material, adding more “real-life” practice applications, and possible considerations of reduced undergraduate time), alterations in the admissions process (to obtain the best candidates for veterinary school), appropriate mentorship in the first year of practice as well as throughout veterinary school, creating a list of competencies that recent graduates should possess, and much more. Subcommittees on mentoring, transition, and competencies were established and a progress report will be prepared by late November.

Over the past weekend in Olathe, Kansas, I also joined the conversations at the Midwest Regional Consortium for Veterinary Medicine Sustainability.The Consortium included faculty and students from 6 colleges of veterinary medicine (University of Illinois, University of Missouri, Iowa State University, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln), partner representatives (AVMA, VBMA, AAHA), and sponsor representatives (Pfizer, Bayer, Merck, Hill’s, Ceva, Boehringer Ingelheim). We focused on making veterinary school a more positive experience, developing more leaders (in the workplace, organized veterinary medicine, and life), opportunities to better leverage veterinary education, and developing a lifelong relationship with your college of veterinary medicine. The colleges created detailed strategies (including specific contact persons and deadlines) to incorporate upon their return, along with the aid of the partners and sponsors. The deans will be expected to implement these plans immediately, with a progress report due in January. Interestingly, there were similar ideas to institute change that resonated in both the Roundtable and the Consortium. With all these talented and passionate individuals working together, I am confident that the concepts created will elicit those changes.

4 thoughts on “AVMA Working Together to Address Recent Graduates’ Concerns

  1. AVMA STAFF MEMBERS NEED TO QUIT MAKING EXCUSES FOR PROBLEMS THAT HAVE BEEN FERMENTING FOR OVER TWO DECADES. YOU CANNOT COVERUP THE INCOMPETENT LEADERSHIP IN THE AVMA AND VETERINARY ACADEMIA WHO HAVE FAILED TO IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF PREVIOUS STUDIES SUCH AS KPMG MEGA STUDY OR THE PEW REPORT. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND FIRE YOURSELVES!! I AM TIRED OF THE TALK AND INACTION OF THE AMERICAN VETERINARY MORONS ASSOCIATION

  2. Hannah, I can definitely appreciate your concerns (many of which we discussed during those above-mentioned meetings). I think it looks like you are off to a great start in finding a job during these difficult times. Make sure to not only post your resume on the VCC, but apply for active jobs and set up a search agent which will email you jobs according to the criteria you set as they become available. I recommend joining your local and state VMAs if you haven’t already done so. The connections you make there can be invaluable in finding a job. Consider the use of Linked In and our Early Career Online Community (https://www.avma.org/Members/Community/Pages/early-career-community.aspx) to help facilitate networking. I have also found someone who would be a great mentor for you in Alabama. I can send you her information to the email you have on file with the AVMA. Otherwise, please email me (cjavorka @ avma.org; remove spaces to email) with further questions or if you prefer a different email address. If you have further questions about the VCC, you can contact Dr. Pat Wohlferth-Bethke (pwohlferth @ avma.org; remove spaces to email). Best of luck!

  3. I just graduated this year, and the circumstances are exactely like you describe them. I still do not have a job and the student-loan pay-back is coming up. I start to panic, get frustrated and depressed. I have the Alabama Veterinary license, and used my last savings for the Florida Veterinary license, which I will receive in about two weeks. The economy is bad nation-wide – world-wide, so I am not quite sure, if further licenses will be that helpful. But- I am going on trying. Even placing my resume on the AVMA VCC does not seem to help a lot. Pretty much everyone is looking for experienced veterinarians – new graduates have to start somewhere, somewhen, and mentoring – especially at the beginning is so important, helpful, and quite necessary. A lot of prior generation veterianarians do not seem to like mentoring that much. Hearing just the word seems to be a red flag to most of them. I mail out resumes weekly. Answers are extremely rare.
    If you have any advice now, please, let me know, as I do not have any time to wait until November, 2012.

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