Pet owners in the United States face a shortage of veterinarians
More animals, fewer veterinarians. There is a nationwide shortage of veterinarians that is affecting clinics’ ability to care for our four-legged friends, with longer wait times for appointments and more stress for veterinarians currently on the job market. work.
Data from the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2021 showed that 44% of veterinarians have at some point considered leaving the profession; 39% over the past five years. And nearly 26% said they wanted to work fewer hours, citing reasons including work-life balance, stress, anxiety and burnout.
These reasons prompted Dr. Jackie Kucskar to quit her job in general veterinary practice in 2019, where she found herself trying to fit as many patients as possible into a very stressful environment.
“It was a huge burden on me and my quality of life suffered tremendously. And I felt like I wasn’t the best vet I could be for my patients and for the people who were supporting those patients,” says Kusckar. .
Dr. Kucskar now performs spaying surgeries and cares for pets at the Animal Protective Foundation in the New York Capital Region. “The fact that I can feel like I’m really helping animals every day – that makes me really happy,” says Kucskar.
The turnover rate for veterinarians is higher than that of other medical professions, while the demand for veterinarians is growing. A report by Mars Veterinary Health projects that by 2030, the United States will need nearly forty-one thousand more veterinarians and one hundred and thirty-three thousand certified veterinary technicians to care for American companion animals.
Long Island University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Brookville, New York, is training the next generation to help fill this gap in the workforce. The school opened during the pandemic and will graduate in 2024. Dr Carmen Fuentealba is the dean and says there is an upside to this shortage. “Many, many job opportunities,” she says, adding that many of her students are already having conversations with potential employers.
Students say they are prepared for the rigors of the profession, including discussions of mental health early in their studies. Third-year student Kelly Locke says the shortage actually gives her and her classmates leverage “to show that what we’re learning and the degrees we have are actually worth what we should be paid and how we should be treated in the industry”.
Earlier this year, two dozen industry leaders called on the AVMA to support increased veterinary college class sizes and additional programs to help alleviate what they call a labor crisis. – “acute and growing” work. Some corporate practices have recently begun offering signing bonuses of up to $100,000 to attract vets to work. Proponents also suggest empowering vet techs to work at the peak of their license to help take some of the pressure off doctors.