Banfield Pet Hospital’s secret to happier vets and healthier pets

dvm360dvm360 July 2022
Volume 53
Issue 7
Pages: 53

A look behind the scenes at the organization’s guiding principles

Content sponsored by Banfield Pet Hospital

For many, the veterinary profession is more than a career; it’s a calling. However, it takes more than a sense of purpose to be successful and fulfilled in the animal health industry. A recent webinar hosted by dvm360® Chief Veterinary Officer Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, examined how Banfield Pet Hospital approaches animal care in a way that targets the best outcomes for both pets and clinicians.

DEI and culturally competent care

Marissa Rothenbaum, DVM, shared Banfield’s focus on equity, inclusion, and diversity (EI&D) and how “culturally competent care” factors into patient treatment. In her words, the mission statement for this philosophy is “how we appreciate each other’s unique perspectives and contributions and use them to...make a better world for pets.”

Previously interim director of equity, inclusion and diversity and co-lead of the Asian and Pacific Islander Diversity Resource Group (DRG) at Banfield, Rothenbaum, shared how UNIDOS, its Latinx DRG, helped Banfield further its EI&D-driven priorities: “In 2019, we introduced translation [and] interpretation services across the support all our teams [and] create spaces where our clients feel comfortable and welcome. They can speak the language they’re most comfortable speaking and still get the care their pet needs.”

Rothenbaum also discussed other EI&D programs that were initiated and co-created by Banfield’s associate-led DRGs, in this instance, Pride: “We have a [few] different initiatives that have helped support our associates in the LGBTQIA+ [community] [such as] gender-neutral bathrooms [and] the addition of pronouns to our name badges and email signatures... [that help] to create [a] space where we’re more comfortable sharing and acknowledging [our differences].”

Meaningful self-care in small doses

Lisa Stewart-Brown, LCSW, MBA, took the virtual stage for the next topic: mental health and well-being. As the current program manager of mental health and well-being for Banfield Pet Hospital, she has developed and implemented strategies and initiatives supporting the emotional and mental health of the veterinary professional community.

Why is self-care so important? Stewart-Brown said the veterinary profession attracts highly empathetic and sensitive people who face a combination of financial stress, emotional trauma from animal suffering, staffing shortages, and more. Stewart-Brown said these issues have an impact on veterinary professionals, and because of this, she recommended creating a self-care plan.

According to Stewart-Brown, Banfield takes a holistic approach to health and well-being by focusing on 5 key dimensions: healthy body, healthy mind, healthy finances, healthy career, and healthy community. She suggested focusing on 1 or 2 domains and making small, manageable changes to help improve them. To achieve this, she explained the “Replace, Limit, Try, Enjoy” system. For example, instead of committing to exercising 6 days per week, be more aware of moving one’s body, or enjoy a physical activity that brings one joy. Stewart-Brown told attendees to remember “self-care doesn’t mean ‘me first’; it means ‘me too.’”

Quality patient outcomes

Taneeka Bautista, DVM, the director of veterinary quality for Banfield Pet Hospital, joined JoAnn Morrison, DVM, MS, DACVIM, the director
of veterinary science at Banfield, to speak about quality assurance and improvement systems for patient outcomes.

Bautista recommended using the “5 Whys” approach to find the root cause of an error or unwanted outcome. The key to fixing a problem, she said, is to simply ask “Why?” at least 5 times. “[If ] you continue to ask questions, you will eventually get to the root cause of the problem and the processes that can be addressed to reduce [the likelihood of it] occurring in the future,” said Bautista. “The root cause is the factor of an adverse event that, if removed, would prevent that event from recurring....If contributing factors are identified, then actions [may] be taken to correct those concerns. This targets the systems and processes that may be involved, removing the culture of individual blame when there’s a concern.”

Job search best practices

The final segment of the webinar offered job search tips for new graduates, courtesy of Ava Bartley, LVT. She advised job seekers to ensure their résumé is tailored directly to the role they hope to obtain. She said, “Anytime anyone’s reading a résumé, they’re going to [make] sure you are motivated to fill the role specific to their clinic rather than a general space.”

Bartley also recommended asking important questions during an interview or hospital observation, stating, “Inquiring about development opportunities is critical based on where you want to go...and what your career path might look like. If you were to ask me in tech school if I [would] be working on campus relationships with [veterinary] schools, I would not have believed you! But my experience with Banfield has been wonderful. They’ve always celebrated my strengths in areas I [may] not have been aware of so that I could get to where I am today.”

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