Hymn sheetMy thanks to fellow blogger Will Easson – we seem to think alike on many subjects, and his blog post regarding the RCVS survey on graduate employment struck a chord.

In particular the paragraph that read:

As a profession our treatment of colleagues is variable, to say the least. Many practices are very good, understanding, supportive environments, but my own experiences were pretty bad; as a naïve young vet I believed that all employers were decent people. With hard experience of being let down (my own feeling is that I was conned, lied-to, and not supported at all by two of my first practices) I became a lot more discerning and a little more cynical.

– Recruitment and Retention, September 2013

I have heard this type of feedback from many vets (many of whom are now not in practice) and from many students.

Is our profession truly worse than others? I don’t think so (my memories of previous employers in retail are certainly not rose-tinted). However, even compared to the tough slog that is retail, we do long hours in a physical job. It is also intellectually and emotionally demanding; we expect high standards from ourselves, and our clients often expect even more.

Yet we still have employers that are not nurturing, or are unwilling to support new members of staff. This is reflected in that staff turnover increase at around three months.

It is also reflected in the how the EMS system sets up a practice to “support”. Under EMS there are no standards such as those in the nursing TP scheme, therefore it must be natural for a practice principal to assume a new grad will be self sufficient. But is it correct to assume they got through EMS and so must be ready to hit the ground running? No. The team got them through – and if you haven’t got a team that can support and nurture new staff 100% then they will leave.

Teams like this are themselves nurtured and encouraged and special – and there aren’t enough of them around. If your team is like this, treasure them!

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