Coping with the loss of a doctor


Sample guidelines to follow after the death of a veterinarian.

Remember that everyone grieves differently and at his or her own rate, says Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and CEO of Innovative Veterinary Management Solutions in Phoenix. For many team members, the initial grieving process takes a few months.

Shawn McVey

To cope with the loss as a group, the best thing to do is ask someone to take charge of the process. Appoint a team member to address the issue at every staff meeting and at the start of each shift. This acknowledges that the loss is on everyone's mind and reminds team members that they're allowed to take time-outs to grieve if they need them. A public eulogy during a staff meeting is also a good way to put closure on such a shocking and tragic event.

McVey also suggests that the point person arrange a memorial area at the hospital where clients and staff can write notes or express feelings. For those folks who are better at action than tears, it may also be helpful to start a memorial fund in the doctor's name.

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