For most veterinary professionals, a day in the trenches may include: multiple heartbreaking euthanasia procedures, an owner who won’t consent to treatment, completing endless SOAPs, long hours with no breaks, losing a patient under anesthesia and having to call the owner, disagreements with co-workers, physical and emotional exhaustion, no worklife balance and financial burdens. Sound familiar? The fact is that what we do each day results in some incredible highs and, at times, some crazy lows. The stress our career can sometimes bring upon our daily lives can feel crushing.
The number 1 reason I hear from my clients about not taking care of themselves is lack of time: that existential, elusive work–life balance. The reality is that we all have the same number of hours available to us in a day. Have you considered how you are spending your time when you are not working?
According to the Veterinary Leadership Institute, veterinary professionals need not only medical proficiency to meet their clients’ changing needs but also the skills and competency to adapt to their evolving roles. To successfully lead a team of dedicated professionals, veterinarians must be more than a walking encyclopedia of medical knowledge; they must be able to empower all team members to maximize their respective roles while integrating clients’ needs and wants. To best meet the needs of clients and patients, veterinarians must be able to work as part of the team.
Have you ever found yourself with your fingers interlaced through your hair pressing and digging into your scalp, or perhaps even pulling your hair, in frustration? From the moment you wake up, it seems that everyone is demanding your attention. It’s no wonder that before the day is even into full swing, you are completely overwhelmed and wishing you were somewhere else. Know that you are not alone. As veterinary professionals, we live full, busy lives. We are wanted and needed. That’s a great thing! However, in order to be fully present and available for everyday demands, it’s important to reset each day.
“Mindfulness” has become a “buzz” word lately and with good reason; however, what we call mindfulness has been around for thousands of years. The practice of mindfulness involves intentionally being fully present in each moment with kindness, nonjudgmentally and without striving for things to be any different than they are. It provides a way to step out of “automatic pilot” and see life in a different way; it is a form of awakening. Bringing this awareness to moment-to-moment experiences can change everything. Aspects of mindful living include, but are not limited to, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindful self-compassion (MSC) and mindful eating.
Creating a highly effective team can change everything about how we practice veterinary medicine and experience fulfillment in our careers. In business, we view having an effective team as maximizing profit and providing exceptional patient care. The question then becomes: How exactly do we do that? Establishing a place for open communication, practicing and promoting nonjudgment, and providing tools to cultivate wellbeing provide us with a framework to build a great team! These concepts can also allow for creativity and a fresh approach to practice. The effects will extend to the veterinary team and overflow into patient care and client interaction.
My name is Laura.
I am veterinarian, mom of 4 and I am here to help you live a healthier, happier life!
Dr. Laura Baltodano ACE Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Registered Yoga Teacher, Veterinarian Dr.Laura@TheWellnessDoctor.com
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