The gap between what you learn in school and work in a veterinary practice

August 26, 2019

In veterinary school, the focus is what a case needs or doesnt neednot how the client will respond to the bill. A veterinarian and veterinary technician discuss what their education didnt prepare them for in practice.

After years of hard work (and probably very little sleep) spent earning a degree, veterinary professionals might be surprised by what they don't know when entering the workforce.

Tasha McNerney, BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (anesthesia and analgesia), and Sarah Wooten, DVM, teamed up on site at Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City to talk about what they wish they'd learned in school.

“Anything to do with business,” says Dr. Wooten. “All clients don't just automatically sign a $1,200 estimate.” By focusing so much on what a case needed clinically in school, Dr. Wooten says she was in the dark when it came to the business side. She would get her production sheet at the end of the month in practice and think, “What do I do with this?"

McNerney says she would like more on work-life balance in school, like learning to know when you're pushing yourself too far and when you need to take a step back. At her veterinary technician internship she was taught that working a 14-hour day and getting four hours of sleep a night was the norm. “It's not sustainable,” she says. “There's a reason why technicians don't last very long in this field, because it's just not sustainable.”

Learning how and when to say no to things, recognizing signs of burnout and then getting the tools to do something about that burnout would be helpful, McNerney and Dr. Wooten say.

See more about what they wished school had prepared them for in the video below.