Episode 146 | How Compassion Impacts the Veterinary Experience

In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise talks about the importance of compassion in the veterinary experience, both for veterinary professionals and clients. She believes that by understanding each client’s situation and allowing them to make decisions about their pet’s care, veterinarians can create a judgment-free zone that fosters trust and improves the overall experience. Dr. Wise encourages veterinary professionals to listen to their clients, educate them about their options, and remind them that they are ultimately the decision-makers. By connecting with clients on a human level and personalizing their experience, veterinarians can provide better care for their patients.



Website: https://joyfuldvm.com



Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


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Hi there. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach, and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career, or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let's get started. Hello my friends.

Happy Friday. Today is December 1st, 2023, and I wanted to start jumping in here on Fridays to share what I'm gonna call reflection Fridays. Just some things that have come up over the week that I think are shareworthy and just things to consider as you go through the rest of your week and the weeks that come forward throughout the re the week this week as I interact with clients,

there was a common theme that I noticed in veterinary practice. And so for some of you, you may not realize that starting in July, I started spending a few days a week back in clinical practice. I wanted to see what was it like out there. It had been a quite some time since I'd been in any kind of veterinary practice on a regular basis since before the pandemic,

quite honestly. And so I wanted to see what is it like for clients and for veterinary professionals, and how has it changed quite honestly since the days, I mean, even many, many years ago when I owned my own practice. So I've had the opportunity to be working in a startup practice type of scenario. And what I have really noticed this week is how much compassion can absolutely impact the veterinary experience,

not only for the people who work in veterinary medicine and that that part's kind of obvious, I think, but for the clients as well. So this week I had the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of different types of people, and that's really what I, one of the things that I love, and it's been a bit unexpected with what I'm doing in clinical practice right now.

And so I'm seeing lots of very young people, single people with their very first pets, they've never owned a pet on their own, but I'm also seeing a lot of families with small children as well as seniors with their pets. And so these pets fit into people's lives in very different types of ways. And I think that's one of the areas that we can miss the boat in veterinary medicine is we have a way that we want to practice.

You know, we have a standard that we aspire to work toward and to work within, but when we try to hold so tightly to that standard all the time, the gold standard, a lot of us call it, we have the potential of missing the ability to actually help people in the moment with where they are with their own pets. And this week,

having the time to be able to speak with people about their pet's unique situation and then also their family situation or their personal situation and and how the veterinary care fits into their lives really did go a long way. Part of what I noticed and part of what was shared with me was how thankful people were for the judgment free zone that we created for them.

So offering the gold standard, if you will, offering all the things, educating about why we're offering those things, but then truly allowing people to decide for themselves and giving them that permission, if you will. And what I really noticed time and time again this week was how people can be a little bit traumatized by their previous veterinary experiences. And I think that's interesting because not only are are,

are our clients traumatized by their previous veterinary experiences? I know that veterinary professionals are also traumatized by the experiences that they have interacting with clients. So it goes both ways. And if we take the compassion piece out of it, if we just look at our gold standard, say, this is the only way we do it, is this or nothing, then what ends up happening is it is this us against them kind of situation.

We as veterinary professionals feel very frustrated. And then we start to tell ourselves a whole story about how they either don't value what we have to say or they don't respect us, or they don't think that we know what we're talking about or we tell a story about them. They're bad pet owners. If they really cared about their pets, they would do these things.

They shouldn't own a pet if they can't afford to do these things. And none of those stories actually improve the experience for anybody involved. When we can leave it neutral and we can just meet the people where what they are, that doesn't mean we have to compromise the practice of veterinary medicine. It doesn't mean that at all because we still go out there and we still offer what we truly believe is in the best interest of the patient.

But then we release responsibility for the decision because the decision was never ours to make in the first place. And when we can approach our clients with that in mind, staying in our lane, if you will, educating them, listening to them, listening to how it all fits, and then remind them that they ultimately are the decision makers here and we will do what we can to help,

and that the, that our goal is the same as their goal that we wanna help their pet. I think that little bit of time that it takes to make a human connection in this situation, which is really scary for pet owners, it goes a really long way in what we are then allowed to do in veterinary medicine. When I say allowed to do what they choose to do,

that doesn't mean they're gonna say yes every single time, but when they say whatever they might say yes to today, we can do really, really well for them. And then we've also, because we've given them a good experience and we've started to build that trust with them next time, they're more likely to do a little bit more or a little bit more.

And when we don't shame them, when we don't make them feel like they were bad pet owners, that they made their, or that they mad made bad decisions, they're more likely to keep coming to us with their questions, with their concerns because they realize we really do wanna help them, but we aren't gonna judge them for what they are able to do given their individual circumstances in their lives.

So something just to consider as you go through the next few weeks, take a look at how much compassion you are extending to your clients. Are you listening to them about where they are in their life? Are you jumping to conclusions about what they can and cannot spend? And remember that if you connect with the human that comes with your patient, the ability to treat your patient actually will be far greater than if you run them all through in a very quick manner,

in a very black and white. This is the only way to do it kind of situation without ever personalizing the experience for them. All right, my friends, that's gonna wrap it up. I'll see you next time.