The Business of Practice: Rethinking Internships

Dr. Amy Grice said the equine veterinary industry is at a "crisis point" in attracting and retaining new practitioners.

At the end of some equine veterinary internships, some veterinarians walk away from equine practice and go to small animal. iStock/Little City Lifestyle

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“We are getting to a crisis point in the equine veterinary industry,” said Amy Grice, VMD, MBA, who practiced for more than 20 years before starting Veterinary Business Consulting. She advises veterinarians and practice owners on a wide variety of projects and challenges. She said a primary focus of the industry should be attracting and retaining equine veterinarians.

The Business of Practice podcast is brought to you by Dechra Veterinary Products.

“Our internships today are broken and they break people from becoming equine vets,” added Grice. “Internships should be an opportunity to learn basic skills. They have to work hard to practice those skills. Internships help prepare vets for practice after vet school.”

Grice said practices who have internships should “be proud to put out a ‘product’ who is a ready-to-work practitioner.

Internships should be an “exchange,” said Grice. ” New vets exchange effort and time and money for acquiring skills that at the end of the year means they are ready to practice. That is balanced with what they are taught” and the mentorship that new vets seek right out of school.

Unfortunately, today’s internships often treat new vets like “glorified vet techs” and there isn’t the balance of learning in exchange for hard work and reduced pay.

“Some interns say if this is the way equine veterinary medicine is…” then they go to small animal work right out of an equine internship.

Hear more of what Grice discussed from an AAEP Retention Taskforce and what she is hearing and seeing in the equine industry in this episode of The Business of Practice podcast.

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The Business of Practice podcast is 
brought to you by Dechra Veterinary Products.

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