Feeling Bitter or Feeling Better?
By: Dr. Julie Cappel
When we were kids we had dreams of beautiful puppies, fuzzy kittens and their adoring owners admiring us for our kind gentle spirit and brilliance in caring for their precious pets. We didn’t get the veterinary school memo that some clients would be so challenging that we might wish we were with Mike Rowe doing “Dirty Jobs”.
Yesterday I experienced one of the difficult clients that made me question my optimism for veterinary medicine. You know those clients that have more pets than they can afford and then nickel and dime you at every turn as if it is your fault that they have insufficient funds to treat their pets properly? Yesterday, with those people, I started
feeling bitter about my profession.
Just when I was getting very irritated with the client’s demands, a small miracle happened. The miracle was one of my most calm and patient technicians. She arrived to help me just in the nick of time. She took over the pet’s treatment with my instruction, and did a beautiful job dealing with the pet and the family all day – literally, all day. She was the picture of the caring veterinary professional that I always strive to be. I was becoming BITTER and she was BETTER.
How can I be BETTER in these situations and keep from becoming BITTER?
One way is to stop feeling sorry for myself. Playing the part of the victim is not helpful or productive. We all know that some clients will challenge us, but many don’t. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we need to appreciate the fact that these clients trust us enough to continue to use our services. They love their pet and are not trying to be a bother; they are just being the best version of who they are.
Another way for me to be better is to appreciate the variety of veterinary life. If I didn’t have a few challenging clients I would not appreciate the kind, cooperative ones. “That’s Life!”, my father-in-law, Jack would always say. He was a human surgeon. I know he had many challenging patients, but he took them all in stride and treated them with the utmost understanding and kindness – just part of life. Jack was BETTER.
In order to be BETTER, I need to say “Yes” more. I don’t mean that I need to give into the clients’ discount demands, but I can have a better “yes sir” attitude in regard to their questions and assumptions. If we fight against what is, rather than allowing it to be, we allow ourselves to become anxious. Saying yes more allows us to go with the flow. Things become more positive and less stressful. With a “say yes” mindset, things often turn out better. I will
listen better to their wants and needs, and try to be the veterinarian that they require.
Let’s love our veterinary work and learn to appreciate our clients for who they are. Being more willing to feel fascination about their ways will allow us to create mental space for them, rather than allowing any bitterness to creep in.
You have the capacity to overcome BITTER and become BETTER.
Dr. Julie Cappel
“If you continuously compete with others you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself you become better.” – www.livelifehappy.com
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