Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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40 Today's Veterinary Business Community Our profession is wonderful; the value we add to society is un- matched. We are truly a double- bottom-line profes- sion. We do well by doing good. We pro- vide for healthy pets, which positively cor- relates with healthy people. (Check out www.HABRI.org.) I tell students there's never been a better time to be a veterinarian. I believe that. Veteri- narians in general are viewed favorably by 97 percent of pet owners, Gallup ranks us as the second most-admired profession. That said, we're tired. Many among our ranks are burned out, compassion fatigue is becoming a pressing issue, and the suicide rate is tragic. While I don't pre- tend to have all the answers, I do believe that one big contrib- utor to the problem is that we place the needs of the pet over the needs of veterinarians themselves. This isn't limited to vets; it extends to our teams as well. Across the board, we are hard-wired to put pets and their care above our own. A noble, admirable and self-destructive trait. What if we put vets before pets? It sounds wrong, but hear me out. Do-Everything Attitude Before we broach the topic, it's important to explore its origins. Our modern-day profession derives from rural professionals steeped in the ethos of the rugged indi- vidualist, the John Wayne ideal. We come from an expectation to solve problems on our own, and thus, asking for help is a historical sign of weakness. Our veterinary forefathers — the current genera- tion of foremothers, I predict, will do a much better job of building a path to a healthier future — would never seek out help, delegate or turn down work. The foundation of our profes- sion is built on the conviction that there's no divide between a veteri- narian and his or her work. This is a sad, unhealthy, unsustainable but true fact. Subsequent generations have a far healthier approach to the work-life balance. Additionally, today's profession attracts intelli- I ran this sentiment by several colleagues: "Vets before pets." No surprise that each person's first impression was less than favorable. It somehow sounded bad, uncomfortable, flat-out wrong. Perhaps it is. But nevertheless, allow me to explain. Community CREATIVE DISRUPTION By Bob Lester, DVM Put vets before pets An unwavering commitment to your job can leave little time to take stock of what's missing from your life. We come from an expectation to solve problems on our own, and thus, asking for help is a historical sign of weakness.

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