Wearing numbers well

2009 state of the veterinary team
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Aug 01, 2009


Kerry Hillard Johnson
"So what?" That's the question we're answering for you this month. We've presented data on the most important—or interesting—industry trends and tried to explain what it all means for you. I like to compare this special issue to a runway fashion show. We take the outfits that look like Halloween costumes and alter them into clothes you'd actually wear.

Allow me to demonstrate what I mean: We all know we're in a recession. We don't need statistics to prove it. (In my fashion comparison, this would equate to sashaying down the catwalk in a skin-tight dress featuring a shoulder contraption that sticks up into the air about two feet.)

However, we do need numbers to illustrate just how much the current economy has impacted individual veterinary practices, team members, and pet owners. Armed with these figures, we can determine where to focus our recovery efforts. (Enter an A-line, knee-length skirt and a forgiving shirt with a subtle flower attached near the neckline.)

The best part of this issue is that the data we're featuring comes from you. How'd we get it? Back in April, we came up with a series of questions about everything from how much veterinary employees earn to how often clients comply with recommendations. We sent the list to our corporate research department. Then they created an online survey and e-mailed it to thousands of Firstline readers nationwide. After receiving more than 500 responses—enough to be statistically reliable—they tabulated the numbers and turned them over to us.

With print outs in hand, we hunkered down in a meeting room to pore over the results. Some were useful and intriguing—some weren't, so we left them out. (No plaid pants with see-through, polka-dot blouses here.)

After deciding which digits to include, we contacted veterinary experts for their reactions and tips on turning around any negative figures, like an increase in abandoned pets. In the meantime, our art director set to work creating readable charts and graphs out of a head-spinning array of numbers.

The end product is here before you: The annual State of the Veterinary Team edition. It's been crafted with the same care, effort, and precision as a haute couture outfit, and we hope you find it both inspiring and practical. After all, the reason we make it—and every issue—is to help you help pets with style.

Kerry Hillard Johnson, Editor