Getting on the Floor with Your Patients

December 29, 2017

Laura Muller, LVT, nursing manager at Cherry Hill Animal Hospital in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, talks about why the veterinarian should get on the same level as their patients—not the other way around.

Laura Muller, LVT, nursing manager at Cherry Hill Animal Hospital in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, talks about why the veterinarian should get on the same level as their patients—not the other way around.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“At my practice, we do a lot of work on the ground so it can be a little tough on the knees, but what we’re doing is we’re getting at that level with our clients. I’m pretty petite, I don’t think most patients feel threatened by me, but down here I’m at their level. I can engage with them a little bit more, I’m also seeing things a lot better. Clients, when they’re at home, they’re on the floor with their pets, they’re on the couch and their pet is with them, so it makes sense to be on their level.

In terms of dogs that are especially fearful, they don’t like being on a very high surface. Not only that, but by the time you get them on the platform scale—whether it’s a lift scale or on the exam table—you’re giving them no choice, right? They have to stay on that exam table until you say it’s done. For a lot of dogs, they’re just standing there, they’re shaking, it makes it easy to do an exam, but clients pick up on that energy and that their pets are uncomfortable. Unless you want to do something lightning quick just to get it done and over with, you’ll have a better patient experience if you’re on the floor with your pet. You can go over the estimate, you can go over the treatment plan with your pet, you can have these discussions while the pet is just getting used to you being in the same exam room.

There’s this apprehension for people to be a little more causal, but I think clients really relate to it. I’ve been doing this for about 12 years and people love it when you kiss the dog, people love it when you get on the floor with them, and especially with Fear Free, if it makes the patient more comfortable, then it’s a win-win.”