On Dec 2, 2011, the 5th year Murdoch Univ vet students were informed of their exam results in a graduation dinner. I had met some of the Singaporeans last year and there was one I was particularly concerned. Did this person pass or not? Has this person wasted 5 years studying a most-sought after profession? I was glad this person had passed and has become a vet.
Apparently, according to this person, in Australia, a new vet earns around A$3,500 per month while a dentist earns A$10,000 a month and a doctor earns A$500/day. I don't know why as vet undergraduates are straight As or are top in their cohort during 'A' levels. In Singapore, a new vet earns around S$3000 - $4,000 a month generally.
Those Singaporeans with rich parents open their own practice after one year of experience as the regulatory authorities permit this. That is why we have around 50 vet clinics in 2011. Flyers are distributed into letterboxes by some of the new practices to announce their presence. This practice had been done by some of the previous vets too. Some did it by proxies using the groomer.
Will a vet earn more when they start their own practices? Maybe in the long term for many of them and if they are much less "expensive" than the older vets. But there are vets who have had closed their practices.
Good communication with the owners is usually lacking, according to this new vet I spoke to yesterday. It is very important in private practice but seldom taught in vet school. Technical skills can be picked up from books. "Doesn't Murdoch Univ teach communications with clients?" I asked. "There is a video presentation of consultation with clients and feedback."
Communications with clients is easily taught. It is part of the personality. Some do it very well. Some can't do it. I said to the new vet: "But at the end of the day, it is still a correct diagnosis." When a diagnosis is correct, the dog gets well and the owner returns or refers.
Academic results at Murdoch Univ batch in 2011
Probably 60 students in the 5th year
9 get high distinctions (HD) (over 80% in Year 3,4 and 5).
Distinctions (70% - 79%)
From what I know, two ladies in the HD are from Singapore. One of them got 79.5% and I am glad that she got the award as the professors recognised her hard work and efforts. "What if she got 79.4%?" I wondered.
Being top in academic performance in vet school is great. It can lead to great arrogance that the world is their oyster. To succeed in private practice, academic excellence with arrogance leads to disaster for the practice and possible sacking as clients provide adverse feedback to the principal.