My New Promise to Patients
I graduated from veterinary school in 2006. Wow – that wasn’t that long ago, or was it? It’s only been 12 years but since then veterinary medicine has changed. Medically, we have made more advances to provide better top-notch care. However, socially and perception-wise, veterinary medicine has been tarnished due to the evolution of the internet and social media. It has driven a number of my colleagues out of the profession, into a depressive state, or in the worst cases – suicide. I’m doing fine and am constantly evolving to provide the best care that I can. As a result, this is my promise to patients:
- A kinder, gentler visit – I completely understand that for some pets coming to the vet clinic is a scary event. Some phrases that you may start to hear being used may include “fear free”, “low stress handling”, or “human animal bond.” A few organizations have developed programs to help improve the mental aspect of pets during a vet visit. I completed Fear Free training and am employing what techniques I can to give your pet the best visit possible (from an emotional standpoint). I also want to take my time in appointments and help pet owners learn how they can help their pets even starting at home. Once we’re in the clinic though, if it seems to be too stressful, be prepared for us to stop and even consider rescheduling for your pet’s benefit. The last thing we want to do is make their stress even worse.
- Drugs – The good kind that can help your pet relax for a vet visit are plentiful and generally safe. My team and I may suggest a pre-visit prescription to help lessen the anxiety. This might be an actual medication but may also include some more natural options. Don’t be afraid if I suggest this as it may make the experience safer for your pet and the staff. Don’t hesitate to ask if you think this is something that might help your pet. A happy pet visit is the ultimate goal along with their health.
- Education – While we can’t make the decisions for pet owners, our goal is to go over the options and dispense enough information to help guide them into making the best decision for their pet & their family. There are no wrong decisions when it comes to your pet’s health. Just being at the vet clinic is a step in the right direction. I’ll work with pet owners to the best of my knowledge to provide the best care possible.
- Advocate – I will always fight for my patients, within reason, as I cannot change the laws of nature or finances. Whether we are looking at lifesaving treatment, preventative care, or end of life decisions, I will do my best to be firm in discussing what I honestly feel will be the best course of action. In extremely rare cases though, that may mean disagreeing with colleagues or even pet owners because of ethical reasons. I am always looking protect life or relieve suffering (depending on the circumstances).
It may not seem like a lot and some of the steps I have always done to my best efforts for hundreds of patients over the years. Many of my colleagues are joining in with addressing the emotional side of medicine because we know it leads to overall better medicine and health for our patients. Your pet’s health is our utmost concern and only by working together and seeing your pet can we help keep them in the best shape possible for many years to come.
Disclaimer: Blog posts may contain some opinions which are my own and may not reflect those of any current or former employers.