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The business of being a vet
  1. Ben Hardy, BVM&S, MBA, MPhil, PhD, MRCVS
  1. The Open University Business School, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK7 6AA, UK
  1. e-mail: ben.hardy{at}

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VETERINARY medicine is not solely a clinical discipline. We may wish to pretend that it is. We may wish to pretend that clinical factors are the only ones that matter, but this is disingenuous. The reality is, of course, that the veterinary medicine is an art and a science, and part of the art is folding a number of non-clinical issues into our professional judgement.

A crucial non-clinical issue is that of business awareness, and the paper by Bachynysky and others (2013), summarised on p 604 of this issue of Veterinary Record, suggests that veterinary business skills could be improved. The paper is based on a survey of UK-based recent graduates and those employing them. The single take home message is that employers feel that recent veterinary graduates have undeveloped business skills. The graduates, too, had reservations about their skills in this area, but their perception differed from that of their employers. The study elegantly compares the perceptions of graduates with the perceptions of those employing them.'

Or something along those lines?

The survey focuses on some of the financial aspects of veterinary practice, including financial communication. As the authors acknowledge, this represents a narrow view of business skills, and glosses over areas such as strategy, innovation, operations and human resource management (HRM), to …

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