Considering my vet school classmates, I shouldn’t be surprised. We were all pretty happy go lucky back in those days, but I imagine close to a decade of stressors has taken its toll on more than a few of us.
James Herriot sure made this profession look bright and shiny, bold and beautiful and whatever other heartwarming couplets float your boat. It is, sometimes. Other times it is all things smelly and stinky, green and abscessed, angry and litigious. Health care professionals are expected to be correct 100% of the time. In our case, we are also expected to be able to manage it with the minimum diagnostics and treatments to restore health without a single thing that a client might perceive as a waste of money.
For every time someone says thank you, another person accuses you of gouging them. For every person who takes your recommendation, another person tells you they won’t do it because their breeder said dogs only need 2 parvo vaccines, or someone on the internet said bulldogs should never be vaccinated for kennel cough.
If you got into this thinking every client would be a compliant, grateful little old lady with a bottomless purse, who did everything you asked without question and brought you cookies once a month, I can see why you’d be driven to drink. We live and practice in a more cynical world these days.
Trust is no longer assumed from the get go, though to be honest it’s not a bad thing. Even if it’s not assumed, you can earn it. There are crummy vets out there, ones with less than perfect ethics, and in these days of sensationalistic journalism and the internet, horror stories are a dime a dozen. From my own experience with a lot of vets, I like to think they are still far more the exception than the rule, though I can understand the savvy client’s wariness.
I don’t mind the questions. I don’t mind having to work a little to earn someone’s trust. And at the end of the day, I just need to reframe how I look at it, right?
For every person who accuses me of gouging them, another thanks me for being thorough. For every person who tells me they won’t do what I recommend because their breeder said dogs only need 2 parvo vaccines, another listens when I explain about maternal antibody interference and the AAHA recommendations on vaccination.
So far it’s kept me sober, even though I’m still waiting for a client, any client, to bring me some cookies.