Learn more about what it is like to be a veterinary social worker and the crucial role they play in veterinary medicine
A veterinary social worker can play a crucial role within a clinic. Similar to a human social worker, they work within the hospital as a liaison between the client and veterinary professional, providing support during difficult decisions, offering crisis intervention in challenging situations, and more.1 Through their role, they help ensure a hospital runs smoothly and the staff members within its walls feel supported, seen, and heard.
On this episode of the Vet Blast Podcast, host Adam Christman sits down with Stephen Kochis, DVM, chief veterinary officer at Oregon Humane Society (OHS), and Kelly Bremken, MSSW, VSW, the first veterinary social worker at OHS, to discuss the highs and lows that come with being a veterinary social worker, how important veterinary social work can be to a community practice or shelter setting, and what the duo thinks the future of veterinary social work will look like.
Along with their work involving veterinary social work, OHS has been honored as one of the 2023 dvm360 Hospital Design360 Award winners. Check out the announcement and all that the OHS is doing to help provide care to pets in need in all different scenarios. OHS also recently took in more than 130 shelter animals from the Maui Humane Society to help find them forever homes while providing more room in Maui for pets lost or injured from the wildfires.
Below is a partial transcript. Listen to the full podcast for more.
Stephen Kochis, DVM: What's great for me and I think a lot of the staff is like, you know, Adam, you and I we were trained to be good doctors, we know the medicine [and] we know how to help the pet but we don't always know how to help the person with the issues that are sort of impacting their ability to either take care of the pet or treat the pet or you know, whatever else might be going on in their life.
So, for our team like we can, in these more emotionally charged or issues or where there's cases where there are other factors at play like fleeing domestic violence, [homelessness], substances, whatever it is, Kelly comes in and takes the human part and we focus on the pet and the medical part. Then, you know, it just shares the weight of the whole process across the people who are experts in dealing with all the different aspects of this. Sometimes, Kelly is just a conduit, like a caseworker reaches out to her and says, ‘Hey, I have a patient that needs their pet to get spayed and vaccinated to get into assisted living’ or whatever and then she talks to me, we get it on the schedule, then boom, it's done.
What is a Veterinary Social Worker? Ohio State University. Accessed August 23, 2023. https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/honoring-bond-support-resources-pet-owners/what-veterinary-social-worker