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Dr. Oscar the grouch

Article

When doctors turn sour, be sweet.

"I separate grumpy doctors into two groups," says Dr. Craig Woloshyn, Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and owner of Sun Dog Veterinary Consulting in Spring Hill, Fla. "One group is grumpy because of the practice—maybe it's not doing well financially or it has the wrong clients. Then there are people who are just mean, and they decide to open a veterinary practice."

Dr. Craig Woloshyn

But crabby doctors can improve, and, sometimes, you can help, Dr. Woloshyn says. You might say, "You seem upset. Is there something going on? Is there anything the team can do to help?" If you suspect a personal problem is contributing to the doctor's gloomy mood, you could say, "I'm sorry you're getting divorced. I want to help if I can, and I'd like to assist you in making sure this doesn't affect the team and our care."

Sometimes people don't realize how they're behaving, and they simply need a reminder to change, Dr. Woloshyn says. But if your appeal doesn't work, you may need to consider your options. "If it's a long-term problem and you approach the doctor and he's not going to change, then that's his permanent personality," Dr. Woloshyn says. "Maybe it's time to hit the road, because there are a lot of nice practices out there."

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