How to deal with generational and gender differences in equine practice

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Dr. Christine Merle says there's lots to gain by embracing differences.

Put two or more people of varying generations and different genders in a room, and what do you get? Quite often, conflict. But it doesn't have to be that way, says Dr. Christine Merle, MBA, CVPM. “If we're willing, we can all walk away from these conversations with a new appreciation of the strengths that other generations and the opposite gender brings,” she says.

Dr. Merle, executive director of VetPartners and a consultant with Brakke's practice management group, will present “Dealing with generational and gender differences in equine practices” at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the AAEP Convention in Las Vegas. She'll discuss ways to embrace the differences among veterinarians, staff members, and clients for a more rewarding experience.

Dr. Merle says that what we might typically see as a negative can actually be a positive, if we're willing to view it that way. For example:

• A young veterinarian comes on board in a practice with new ideas but doesn't realize what he or she doesn't know. “The older veterinarian knows better what makes sense for each individual barn and horse,” says Dr. Merle. While the younger doctor might have a great idea, he or she needs to value the experience of those who came before.

• An older veterinarian, on the other hand, needs to remember not to make assumptions. “Just because the older doctor has been there, done that, doesn't mean the younger veterinarian doesn't have ideas worth listening to,” says Dr. Merle. “The new doctor might have learned other techniques or know of ways to increase business the older doctor is not up on.”

Above all, be open to listening and embracing change. Your clients, colleagues, and the patients will all benefit from a better flow of information.

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