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Catch up on this week’s top headlines with the weekly veterinary news roundup, presented by VetX International.

The Issue Of Ableism In Veterinary Medicine 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has called for greater inclusivity for disabled veterinary students and professionals this week. 

In an article on ableism, the AVMA discussed how the rise in disabled vets has changed the veterinary landscape. They cited that 19% of registered undergraduates have a disability, highlighting the issue of accessibility in veterinary schools. 

‘Wherever you teach, your campus is full of stairs’ said Dr. Dolmage, Ph.D., founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.

‘The steps have something to say. Access to the university is a movement upward, and only the truly fit survive the climb.’

Dr. Brandy Duhon, a clinical instructor of shelter medicine and surgery at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, has also experienced a lot of difficulties during her time in school and practice. 

Dr. Duhon sustained damage to both her legs and her hands back in 1995, leading to a number of mobility issues.

‘It is good for students to see me and see that I am teaching them and they’re learning from me. They won’t doubt if someone comes to them who has a disability’

‘Disabilities are all different, and just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I think knowing I went through veterinary school and I am a veterinarian now, it means a lot.’

For more on this article, click here. 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Vets Receive Racial Abuse As Result Of Pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, members of the Asian American and Pacific Island (AAPI) community have experienced a rise in racial abuse in practice. 

Between March 19th, 2020- Feb 28th, 2021 there have been 3,795 reported incidents of racial abuse against AAAPI peoples. Of those attacks, 10% were physical. 

Many professionals in the community have found that they have wrongly been blamed for the pandemic, leading to an increase in hate crime. 

‘Even in the diverse neighborhood in California that I live in, I have faced racism’ said Dr. Yuh, a practicing vet in Sacramento, California. 

‘At the beginning of the pandemic, I walked by a mother while grocery shopping as she pulled her child close, whispering to her, ‘Try to stay away from them.’

In a statement from the AVMA, the organization commented that:

‘The recent surge in incidents of violence against AAPI people is profoundly disturbing, and the AVMA joins colleagues across the country in condemning this appalling violence.’

‘We condemn language and actions that contribute to a climate of fear, bigotry, and hate, and especially that which targets communities that have historically been victims of discrimination.’

To read more about this issue, click here

The RCVS Announces Changes To PSS Requirements 

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RVCS) has announced the results of its annual 5-year review into the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS). 

In the review, major changes have been made regarding the role of nurses and how veterinary medicine is governed and regulated. Accredited General Practices are now required to employ at least one RVN, whilst all vet hospital patients are required to have nursing plans. 

David Ashcroft, the team leader of the PSS assessors stated that:

‘The changes will come into force later in the year, at the same time as we are planning to return to in-person assessments, and so timings will be subject to government guidance on coronavirus and the easing of lockdown restrictions.’

‘As the PSS returns to in-person assessments, practices will have the usual three-month period between booking the assessment and the assessment taking place with which to familiarise themselves with the changes and the module’s documents relevant to their accreditation.’

‘If anyone has any questions about the changes then please make sure to contact the Practice Standards Team at [email protected] and we will be happy to help in any way we can.’

To see the full list of changes, click here

Plans Unveiled For Scotland’s First Vet School In 150 Years

Plans to build Scotland’s first vet school in 150 years have been announced. 

The vet school, based at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Aberdeen would provide courses for veterinary medicine at a Higher National Diploma level- postgraduate level. 

Proponents of the plan hope that the school will help combat the vet shortage in the UK. The facility could provide over 240 jobs and generate £28 million for the economy. 

SRUC principal Prof Wayne Powell said: 

‘This is a ground-breaking model to expand access to educational opportunities and broaden the range of potential students who would not ordinarily be able to attend a vet school’

‘It will also help solve existing skills shortages across Scotland.’

Linda Prescott-Clements, director of education at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons further added that:

‘The RCVS looks forward to working with the team at SRUC as it moves towards meeting our accreditation standards so that its future graduates can join the UK veterinary profession.’

To read more on this story, click here.

Victoria Lockdown Prompts Concerns From Mobile Vets 

The regional lockdown in Victoria, Australia, has been posing problems for veterinarians all across the region. 

The seven-day lockdown, which was instituted statewide by the authorities, has been inhibiting local vets’ ability to respond to emergency call-outs. 

Rebel Skirving, a local veterinarian, told ABC News that:

‘As long as we can keep getting essential travel passes, then we’ll keep servicing clients on the Victorian side of the border’. 

‘With previous lockdowns, (access) has limited our ability to service our clients on the (Victorian) side of the border.’

‘Vets are a rare commodity at the moment … Farmers aren’t excited about it … trying to find someone else to do it from the Victorian side might be difficult if we can’t get across.’

Alongside veterinary service disruptions, the lockdown is expected to cause temporary shortages in healthcare and agricultural workers. 

To read more, click here. 

Tackling Stress In The Workplace

Feeling stressed at work? Given that most vets perpetually function in a pressurized state- this is unsurprising. 

Here are some things leaders can do to tackle this.

Be Flexible 

Although not always viable in the clinic, accomodating for the varying needs of staff members (where possible) can improve productivity and increase satisfaction. 

If part-time work or flexible shifts is an option, offering these for your staff members can help reduce stress levels in practice.

Stay Positive

Fostering a positive work environment not only improves employer/worker relationships but also creates a sense of ease in the clinic. 

Happier workers tend to be more productive, so creating a sense of community and building on work relationships can do wonders for everyone.

Recognize Your Employees’ Work 

Because everyone is busy in the clinic, it can be easy to forget to appreciate the work veterinary professionals do. No one likes to feel like just another cog in the machine, so uplifting and acknowledging the efforts of your staff can decrease stress and increase rapport at work. 

For more tips, click here.

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