Real World Wisdom: What is the Single Most Valuable Skill or Trait A Veterinarian Can Have?
Real world wisdom gives you insight from real world veterinary professionals. EVT asked veterinarians and veterinary experts across the country for their feedback and opinions on how to handle difficult situations in the workplace.
What is the single most valuable personal skill or trait that a veterinarian can have?
Kathleen Heaney, DVM, Merck Animal Health says collaboration is crucial.
“It’s a team approach to veterinary medicine,” Heaney said. “It’s not just the doctor, it’s not just the technicians, and it’s not just the kennel staff. You need a whole group of people to run a good practice.”
Another crucial skill is patience.
“You need patience sometimes to wade through what’s happening in the exam room, what the client is overall trying to get to, and what their point is,” Tonya Sparks, DVM, Oldtown Veterinary Hospital added.
Lisa Ball, with Veterinary Business Advisors, said being an active listener, not only with clients, but with other employees is essential for success.
“What are the employee relation issues that are going on? So they are saying ‘How do we resolve this so that we can move forward and learn from it and raise our game up for the practice?’” Ball commented.
Empathy is also fundamental, Nigel Swift, BVetMed, MRCVS, Diplomate ACVIM, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica added. “To really treat any patient as if it’s your own,” he said.
Nan Boss, DVM, Best Friend Veterinary Center, said it all comes down to communication skills.
“Doesn’t matter how good of a surgeon you are, if you can’t explain why their pet needs surgery, then they don’t let you do it,” she said.
For Vincent Centonze, DVM, Director of Vet Technology, Hillsborough Community College, respect is the most valuable trait.
“That goes for everyone,” he said. “From the doctors to the assistants, and even volunteers. Make them feel important.”