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US Extends Suspension of Student Loan Payments

The Biden administration had extended a pause on fed-student loan repayment until May 1st, amid the rise in Omicron cases in the country.

In the announcement, the administration stated that they had also suspended collections on defaulted loans and maintained a 0% interest rate on educational loans. 

In a statement, the federal government said:

‘The Department will continue its work to transition borrowers smoothly back into repayment, including by improving student loan servicing’.

Educational debt remains one of the top concerns of the American Medical Veterinary Association (AVMA), given that the vast majority of vet students leave school with an insurmountable amount of it. 

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Vets Need to Play a Bigger Role in Educating Clients Around Veterinary Fees, States Researchers

Researchers have urged veterinarians to be more proactive in talking to clients about veterinary fees. 

According to a survey of 1,200 pet owners and 100 vets, nearly half of pet owners underestimated the lifetime cost of animal care. Almost half of the pet owners thought they were prepared for unexpected pet expenses when they were actually not. 

‘Veterinarians often see pet parents struggling to balance the care their pet’s need with what they can afford,’ says PAW Consulting owner, Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA. 

‘This new study provides us a comprehensive look at the true costs of pet care so we can arm our clients with the information and financial solutions they need to care for their pets for a month, year, and an entire lifetime.’

Read more about this story here.

RCVS Publishes Paper on the Impact of The Pandemic on Veterinary Professionals

A paper from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has highlighted the effects of the pandemic on veterinary professionals. 

Some of the main findings include: 

  • 67% of veterinary nurses experienced a change in shift patterns at some point in the pandemic, compared with 57% of veterinary surgeons.
  • 49% of veterinary nurses worked additional hours due to others being furloughed, compared to 40% of veterinary surgeons.
  • 37% of veterinary nurses were furloughed, compared with 23% of veterinary surgeons.

Lizzie Lockett, the RCVS CEO, said: 

‘While many of the results of the survey may not be especially surprising and confirm what we have already been told anecdotally, it is very important that we have this hard data to hand on the overall impact of the pandemic on individual members of the professions.’

‘These two reports complement the six surveys that we have conducted with veterinary practices on the economic impact of the pandemic to give us as clear and holistic a picture as possible about the challenges that the professions and the veterinary sector as a whole have faced since March 2020.’

‘This not only provides a useful historical snapshot, but builds an evidence base to inform future temporary changes should the pandemic continue into more waves, or should future such crises arise.’

‘The results of the two individual surveys make it clear it has been a tough time for the professions.’

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UK Food Standards Agency to Employ 25% of OV’s

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced plans to hire 25% of all Official Veterinarians in the UK in an effort to curb Brexit demands. 

Simon Tunnicliffe, the Director of the FSA during an announcement, said that it was critical for a more sustainable import checking model to be put in place for the future. 

Since the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) announced that they had no intention to change regulations surrounding language requirements that have blocked a large number of EU vets from entering the market, there has been growing concern that supplies will meet demand. Whether the FSA will be able to meet these quotas will heavily depend on this. 

For more on this story, click here. 

Editor’s note- It’s not entirely clear what impact this may have on the general practice vet population since many OVs are currently employed in this setting creating and certifying pet travel documents.

Enabling Veterinary Nurses to Step Up in Practice Could Ease Staff Shortages in Australia

The greater utilization of veterinary nurses in Australia could significantly alleviate practice pressures says Janet Murray, a Perth veterinary nursing lecturer and editor of the Veterinary Nursing Journal. 

‘This strategy is right under our noses and those clinics already making the most of it are experiencing better outcomes’ she told Vet Practice Mag. 

‘The better utilization of veterinary nurses is highly recommended and it’s something I have been advocating for a long time. Clinics need to look at the full competencies of nurses’ skills and how they are being utilized. This format has worked well for years in the UK, and it’s something Australia needs to be considering more seriously.’

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Could Exercise Make You Happier At Work?

A study has found that exercising is significantly better at improving wellbeing than both specializing and money combined. But what could this mean for veterinary professionals in terms of workplace satisfaction?

Although getting a workout within the workday is not always possible, employers who offer exercise programs or incentives may see higher levels of well-being and productivity in the workplace. 

Even simple strategies such as ‘cycle to work schemes’ or ‘walk meetings’ could help encourage healthier lifestyles and therefore greater wellbeing in the workplace. 

For more on this subject, click here.

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