So you think you can “vet”.
Scenes of a well-known past…
It’s Saturday morning and you are happily running and playing with your dog in your childhood house backyard. You are around 5 or 6 years old. Next, your mom kindly looking at your reaction says: “Ohh, look at him…so cute! He loves animals. I am sure he will be a vet!”
Sounds familiar to you? Have you ever heard something like this?
I am pretty sure all veterinarians have heard stories like this, or probably were living characters in this common scenery of their vet lives!
This passion called Veterinary Medicine is really one of the most ancient feelings in our emotional life that lead us to this wonderful career choice that will be part of our days for a long time then.
Scenes of our present lives…
Now we are adults. Professionals working hours and hours, fighting against diseases and trying to defeat death whenever possible. Dealing with challenging pet owners and staying awake during vet night shifts. The latter sometimes being a sort of nightmare with emergency procedures and complicated surgeries coming up since the very first minute you start working.
How to find the safe balance between that tender childhood dream and the real emotional-demanding veterinary life? The million-dollar answer.
Let’s try finding some answers together!
First of all, let me tell you some secrets all my colleagues should know in order to understand the title of this article.
What does “to vet” means?
You may answer that it is the job of treating animals, taking care of them, developing techniques to provide animal welfare to our patients, and so on. You are right! But, It’s much more than these actions!
You may love animals, but you will understand that the key to your personal success in this career is to be completely crazy about the mysteries of mankind! You will spend hours and hours dealing with teamwork, clients, colleagues and guess what? It’s not a cat, a dog or a bird that will choose you to take care of them! Their “humans” will do it!
So, if you are part of that social movement that says “I prefer animals to people”… Oops! I’m sorry… you are in the wrong place, at the wrong time and on the wrong career!
Do not close doors to other people who are looking for your help and professional skills to take care of the most important “thing” they have in life: their animals, which usually stand as an emotional bridge to the world. They are the only bond some people still have with other people… just like you!
It’s not unusual to see some vets and students making jokes about the different types of customers that usually come to veterinary hospitals around the world but just a tip: Who has given you this role of greatest judge on human behavior? Are you God or some kind of supreme force of nature, full of perfection in your actions and words?
Don’t be so judgmental, ok?
Try to develop an empathic relationship mostly with your customers, but also with your team. Do not forget that it’s also a desired quality to remember about the importance of leadership in veterinary business!
Veterinary Medicine is a business matter! That’s why you need to organize your personal schedule to make every single minute count. Every decision you make in your career should be based on the fact that you spend your financial, personal and emotional resources to be here. Besides, you must act perfectly to show your value gained through all those years studying and days of hard work until this very moment!
Please doc, share the treatment responsibility of your patients with their owners. Do not carry any extra weight of this relationship on your shoulders. You accomplish exams, make the correct diagnosis, write prescriptions and everything else. You need to let things clear in advance: “Mr. Client, you need to follow my prescription. It’s not magic. The expected results are only possible if a kind of deal between the vet and the pet owner is settle.”
Do not be a part of those sad burn out statistics published all around the veterinary world. You can feel compassion, sadness or happiness, you can sense the animal’s pain and feel uncomfortable (hey, you are a vet!). You will surely perform the very best of your knowledge to heal and cure them, but your responsibility ends when you realize that the client’s decisions and attitudes have an important role during all the process! And they will respond for their acts! Not you!
Protect your heart and emotions by constructing a kind of barrier that will protect you over the days but share your worries and concerns with someone. Don’t be an oyster, don’t think you’re going to show weakness if you ask for help to change the way you deal with the everyday challenges. Strength is to acknowledge your needs and to be able to improve the way you’ve learnt how to practice Veterinary Medicine in the past. It worked somehow until now, but things are changing and they’re changing fast!
Building a successful career in Veterinary Medicine business is an easy task if you realize it’s a daily exercise in the search of a new professional “persona” at the same time developing and improving the previously mentioned extra abilities. These belong to the human relationship’s world involving self-esteem and the creation of multiple focus over your life showing the ability to make a change whenever the situation you are facing needs you to do it.
Therefore, I’m going to ask you one more time… So you think you can vet?
I believe in you!
You can do it!!
Think about it!
Médico Veterinário formado pela Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Pós Graduado em Marketing e Estratégia pela Universidade Estácio de Sá, Colunista em Revistas e Blogs. Autor da Manual de Responsabilidade Técnica para Clínicas e Petshops