By: Danielle K. Lambert, Founder – SnoutSchool.com
Veterinary medicine preaches wellness and self-care. We wonder why our teams are so burned out, so stressed, and so prone to dying by suicide.
Then a pandemic hits. Suddenly a field full of smart, science-minded people are unwilling to accept that we must change.
I have spent the last few days reading comments in support staff groups about how “their bosses haven’t changed anything.” I’ve seen practice managers describe how they’re “cleaning extra” and “maybe thinking about closing early, if it comes to that.”
Granted, I’ve gone looking for these comments, searching to get a feel for what’s going on in the world. But I did that intentionally. The “bubble” I’ve created for myself in veterinary medicine is inherently empathetic and progressive. I fear they are also not representative of the average business owners and managers in our space.
I put a simple post on our Snout School Instagram story asking if our followers’ employers’ had made changes. I provided them with two simple answers: YES or NO.
Several hundred responded, but the results were still nearly 50/50. A staggering amount of veterinary professionals are at workplaces where no changes have occured. My stomach turned.
The COVID-19 outbreak is revealing a lot of things about us as a society. We really value toilet paper, and hand Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer is cool again.
It’s also displaying the broken parts of the world we live in. People afraid to lose their jobs, and thus their health insurance. People worried about how they’ll pay rent, buy food, or simply survive.
I expected that, to an extent.
I didn’t expect COVID-19 to expose such flaws in veterinary business leadership.
If you are in an ownership or management role, I encourage you to step up and make changes. I know it’s terrifying. I get that it’s easier said than done. That’s why I’ve spent the week gathering resources for businesses at 7SSociety.com/covid-19
But here’s the thing: A real #girlboss is responsible for her business, her team’s safety, and the safety of her community.
It’s time for veterinary leaders to do right by their teams.
If they don’t, we can completely cancel all “wellness” and “self-care” content we make them sit through at conferences. Call off the team pizza parties to celebrate how “you’re a family.” We can stop pretending like leaders care about anything besides themselves and their bottom line.
Instead, they can start understanding why we have issues with turnover, with mental health, and with job satisfaction. It’s because when the COVID-19 covered $hit hit the fan, leaders chose themselves over their people.
PS: Things are stressful right now. Join Self-Care During Scary Times: An Open Q&A for Veterinary Professionals if you need some tips. It’s free. <3