As we cross over the hump of the first quarter of 2022, I'm left wondering how bad things need to be in the veterinary industry before things will change? The veterinary industry, in my opinion, is in crisis mode. Yet everywhere I turn there's resistance to change. I feel as if those of us trying to be the voices and wheels of change often take one step forward and two steps backwards. But still I hold out hope.
In my personal and professional life I've gone through many phases and transformations. For those that have known me for a decade or more, you can personally attest to the amount of self-work and positive development that's taken place in my life. Has it been a smooth ride? Absolutely not. But the journey to get where I am had to be part of the uncomfortable process.
I've started to own my role as a "healer" - as a Reiki Master, Veterinarian and now business owner. Along the way I always seemed to attract those in desperate need of support and guidance. As a friend of mine once said, the more you are grounded and comfortable with who you are, the more people will be attracted to your light. Often times those are people that could benefit from your light the most.
It used to frustrate me, attracting individuals whom didn't see the actions of their negative ways. And I would get extra frustrated when I would expend my own energy to try and help, only to be pushed away or shamed. What I didn't realize at the time was that it was a mirror reflecting how I used to be (and still sometimes am). Once I realized that, the frustration left and the supportive business woman manifested.
One thing I always keep in mind through the times of frustration in my personal and professional life is this one saying - "You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped". And boy if that isn't true for vet med!
I've now been "open for business" with consulting for just over a year now. I've loved the outpouring of love and support from my friends, families, current and former co-workers and complete strangers I've met along the way. I've been referred multiple times - both anonymously and not - to people's managers, owners and bosses to hire me. Often times that's where the buck has stopped. At those who make decisions for others at a hospital.
What's sad is that if that manager/owner/boss took a minute to think of the situation - that one of your employees, whom is on the floor doing the daily grind, keeping your hospital running - is unhappy to the point where they are recommending a consultant - maybe reconsider their proposal?
If you have an employee who has the guts to come forth and tell you they are unhappy and they think the hospital needs help, how long do you think it will be until that employee leaves if things don't change?
That employee is saying "WE NEED HELP" - and if they are ignored for excuses A through Z - that employee won't be with you much longer.
But my question is, how bad does it truly have to be in order to get the wheels of change moving in veterinary medicine? How many places have to be short staffed for YEARS before change will come? How many statistics about pay, workplace happiness and burnout do we have to see before change will come? How many veterinary professionals, from assistants to diplomates, have to take their own lives due to the stressors of our jobs before change will come?
The saying "You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped" rings truer than ever when you think of the above. But what will it take for those in charge to want to both listen and then change? How much worse can it get? (as I type that in 2022 I feel the need to clarify that's rhetorical...I don't actually want to know).
The point of this blog is to get all of us in the veterinary industry to stop and think. About what each of us can do on an individual basis to start that ripple effect. Just one person, one clinic, one school to be the stone that disrupts the pond....sending ripples of change across the water. I resisted the change for a long time in my own life. And once the wheels started moving it was uncomfortable at best. But now that I'm here, I wouldn't trade that journey for anything.
I'm not forcing change or my point of view on anyone. I've been through the growing pains, I know how uncomfortable it is. I'm just wondering when the rest of the collective industry will be just as ready for the season of change as I am?