Also read part 1: How to take control and love being a vet again

 

In part 1 of this series (link above), I started pulling back the curtain on veterinary burnout: How can people so driven by their passion for animals be so miserable in clinical practice?

Let’s continue to discuss the solution to burnout: taking control of what you can control and remembering that only you are responsible for your own happiness. What about veterinary medicine makes you happy? How can you do more of what you want to do and less of what you don’t?

If you’re considering the rewarding and flexible life of a relief vet, this article is for you. 

 

Ready for some “relief”?

You got this! Here are five tips to help you advance your career:

 

1. Network, network, network.

Start building your connections both inside and outside of veterinary medicine. Consider joining organizations such as VetPartners. Utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, NextDoor). If you haven’t already, join Relief Rover! (Vets click here to join; techs click here.) We’re an online community of relief vets and techs with the tools and support you need to start your relief journey.

Look around, dig into the digital platforms, and make some amazing contacts. You never know when you meet someone who will introduce you to a spectacular new opportunity.

 

THE MORE CONTACTS YOU HAVE, THE MORE OPPORTUNITIES YOU HAVE.

2. Get comfortable with technology.

There is opportunity and income potential for veterinarians online. Research and experiment with different veterinary apps and software as well as the plethora of business applications and programs available. Many technology alternatives that exist in the business world can be applied to a veterinary platform. The more firsthand knowledge and experience you gain, the more tools you have in your toolbox to offer to potential employers.

 

FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH AS MANY VETERINARY APPS AND SOFTWARE THAT YOU CAN.

3. Load up on CE.

And not just veterinary CE – try to broaden your knowledge base. Look into business, communication, organizational development, leadership, IT, or marketing CE.

Continuing education on a budget:

  • Network and learn at the same time. Many specialty clinics and industry corporations also offer free CE and learning opportunities. These events are an excellent chance to network and get your name out there. As a LinkedIn Premium member, you have access to hundreds of articles and videos on an array of business-related topics.
  • Increase your basic surgical skills. Volunteer (or pick up some shifts) at a high volume high quality spay/neuter (HVHQSN) practice. Reach out to shelters, non-profits, or even high-volume low-cost facilities. Personal note: after my experience with HVHQSN, I can now easily perform 20-25+ spays and neuters within a 5–6-hour timeframe. I never would have thought I was capable of this! I am no longer apprehensive of abdominal procedures, including any spay placed before me (large breed, adult, fat, in-heat female, etc.). Bring it on, I welcome it!!
  • Increase your advanced surgical skills. Many facilities are desperate to find veterinarians with experienced tissue handling skills willing to provide advanced dentistry or surgical procedures (gastropexy, abdominal explore, cherry eye, entropion, vulvoplasty, digit or limb amputations) for pet owners who do not have large amounts of disposable income.

 

KEEP UP WITH YOUR CONTINUING EDUCATION!

 

Board certified specialists are extremely valuable to vet med — we’re not trying to downplay that! But many pet owners will never be able to afford specialty care. That doesn’t make them bad or negligent pet owners, it just makes them the majority. Sometimes only a specialist can save the day… But with some advanced training, you can provide many pets with the quality care they need.

 

THERE ARE TONS OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FIELD.

4. Start your own business and brand.

  • Make a name for yourself: Use online legal entities (i.e.:  LegalZoom® or Rocket Lawyer®) to set up an LLC both quickly and inexpensively. If you already use a lawyer or accountant, reach out to them for advice.  
  • Make yourself stand out by purchasing a domain name: (i.e.: drlisamausbach.com) and linking your email address. Explore SCORE Association’s Small Business Services, where you can also find a business mentor. Open yourself a merchant vending account (such as MWI Animal Health®, Patterson® Veterinary, Midwest Veterinary Supply) – allowing you the opportunity to purchase veterinary products. What services do you want to offer to clinics? Can you find a veterinary practice that will allow you to lease or rent exam room space? Can you offer services to pet parents through other avenues such as a grooming facility or doggie daycare?

 

BUILDING A UNIQUE BRAND SHOWS YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR RELIEF BUSINESS.

5. Become an opportunist.

Do everything possible to capitalize on available connections, opportunities, and resources. You will be so grateful that you did! 

  • Ask a person you meet for coffee or lunch (perhaps a virtual coffee?!). Ask LOTS of questions. Take notes.
  • Try new things! Interested in getting into the lecture circuit? Join a public speaking group such as Toastmasters International®.
  • Have strong opinions, a unique personality, and/or a compelling story? Ask to be a guest on a podcast.
  • If you like to write, consider starting a blog or reaching out to veterinary content providers.

The internet is vast and full of opportunities waiting to be encountered.

 

BE ON THE LOOKOUT. OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYWHERE.

 

So what are you waiting for? The hardest step is the first step: BE BRAVE! Stop giving your time and energy away. Be someone who realizes their dreams and achieves the financial success you deserve from your knowledge, skill sets, expertise, and hard work.

 

Also read part 1: How to take control and love being a vet again

Vital info by state: licensing, DEA info, what others charge, and more

 

 

Liked the article?
We can help you even more with a free Relief Rover membership!

You want the freedom, joy, adventure, and passion that you imagined when you joined our profession. Let us help you get there. Vets and techs, it’s free for you to join Relief Rover. Our mission is to empower relief veterinarians and technicians and to improve quality of life throughout the veterinary profession. By the way, we’re not an employer or a staffing agency of any kind. We’re simply a platform that you can use kind of like a Swiss army knife to build your relief business. We have so many tools to help you along your journey, including access to jobs, community, support, resources, education, discounts, and more.

VET SIGNUPTECH SIGNUPEMPLOYER SIGNUP

 

 

 

Works Cited

Limb, M. (.-y. (2018). Limb, M. (2018). Seven-year limit for vets in clinical practice. Veterinary Record. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.k1970t(2018). Merck Animal Health Veterinarian Wellbeing Study 2020. Summit, NJ: Intervet, Inc. .

Shanafelt, T. D., & Noseworthy, J. H. (2016). Executive Leadership and Physician Well-being: Nine Organizational Strategies to Promote Engagement and Reduce Burnout. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 129-149.

Vallerand, R. J., L., P. F., Charest, J., & Paquet, Y. (2010). On the Role of Passion for Work in Burnout: A Process Model. Journal of Personality, 78(1), 289-312.

Volk, J. O., Schimmack, U., Strand, E. B., Lord, L. K., & Colin W. Siren, C. W. (2018). Executive Summary of the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Well-being Study. JAVMA, 252(10), 1231-1238.