Ben Schroeder, DVM, says hiring new grads with the right attitude can be tough at times, and both parties need to have similar goals in mind.

“I think eagerness is a good attribute,” says Schroeder, who owns Cedar County Veterinary Services with his wife, Erin Shroeder, DVM, in Hartington, Neb. and Vermillion, S.D.

“Some people are more eager than others to learn and be a useful tool to your practice, and some are waiting for 5:30 to get here and be done.”

There needs to be an eagerness and willingness to work hard, especially the first couple of years out of school. “Face it, you are the bottom of the totem pole and you need to put in your dues before you have credibility. If you can handle that for a couple of years that is important. After that you need to start reaping the benefits of being a veterinarian.”

Schroeder says it’s also important for both sides to be honest and cut their losses when it’s not working out. “If you have been in a practice a couple of months and it isn’t what you thought it was going to be, have a serious talk with the owner. After a little while it’s not better, don’t waste a whole year. Get out and go find where you will fit in.”

He offers the same advice to the practice owner. “If it’s not right or the person should be doing better, let them know right away. You don’t want to sit on an issue or it turns into a festering mess. Getting along with people and personalities is the biggest thing in veterinary medicine. If you can’t get along with our customers and staff, you are in trouble.

“You are part of a team whether you like it or not,” Schroeder notes. “There are not many renegade veterinarians doing it all alone anymore.”

Read an article about Schroeder’s practice in the November 2012 Bovine Veterinarian here.