Your Veterinary Voice episode 8: Meet Shawn McVey, MA, MSW

September 13, 2016

These days, there may be fewer f-bombs from your favorite CVC speaker and dvm360 contributor, but McVey still brings the heat when it comes to the toughest issues in veterinary medicine.

F-bombs, screaming and in-your-face emotion? No, we're not talking about a football game, or even a political rally. These used to be hallmarks of Shawn McVey's continuing education sessions for veterinary professionals.

"[As a therapist,] I used to say I worked with crazy people who needed help and asked for it. And now I work with crazy people who don't know they need help and won't ask for it."But don't scoff-the approach has been highly effective. After all, dvm360, CVC and Shawn McVey have enjoyed a longstanding relationship for more than 10 years. He's contributed to tons of articles on and continues to speak to packed lecture halls across the country.

And now, after years as a consultant, speaker and practice manager, Shawn has entered a new phase of his career-part-owner and CEO of a national operator of veterinary practices. He's still the same ol' Shawn, but he now comes with fewer, shall we say, outbursts.

In this episode of Your Veterinary Voice, our host Brendan Howard asks Shawn about his background in therapy, his insight on the future of veterinary medicine and why the gender shift and corporate practice model in veterinary medicine means plenty of positive change.


Want the highlights? Here you go.

At 10:05 ...

A common theme in Shawn's sessions is, "Well, if you can't make it work, you're going to have to quit." So we ask Shawn-why's that so darn difficult for veterinary team members?

+ The top 5 signs it's time to quit your job

+ Quiz: Are you over it?

At 12:30, Shawn relays an example of a very tight-knit practice that suffered a shocking blow when the owner died.

+ Here are 10 steps to take when a practice owner dies

Around 14:00, Shawn talks about how fear and dread may be the team's first reaction when change comes at work. Life would be easier if you could make the new blend seamlessly with the old, right?

+ Here are Shawn's very own tips to ease your own stress, impress your boss and keep clients happy while adapting to transitions.

If you're not familiar with our "Ask Shawn" series, go check it out. Basically, we pose the most difficult, emotional and sticky situations to Shawn, and he answers readers as best he can. So, at 16:30, we ask: What question breaks Shawn's heart? (Oh, and nope, we're not giving it away here!)

At 24:20 Shawn brings up the fact that female veterinarians are getting paid a fraction of what male veterinarians make, are offered less money at the outset and often don't ask for a higher wage. The conversation turns to how powerful women in veterinary medicine are sometimes viewed (ahem, "bitchy," anyone?).

+ From Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative: I treat rabbits, I don't treat dust bunnies

+ And more perspective for female associates who don't feel as though they're measured by the same criteria as their male colleagues.

At 26:45 we ask Shawn-who, as we told you above, now has skin in the game as a corporate practice owner-what his thoughts are on the model of corporate veterinary medicine. He admits there's an element of "dancing with the devil," but he warns that we're also in an era of "buy or be bought."

Here are a few more resources to read up on…

+ New corporate ownership model keeps practitioners in the driver's seat

+ Planning for future retirement and the sale of your practice