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Nurturing strength through resilience in veterinary practice

Feature
Article

How to adapt, cope, and maintain well-being in the face of high-pressure professional demands

Image Credit: © Seventyfour - stock.adobe.com

Sponsored by Papaya Veterinary Care

Veterinarians, technicians, and staff face many challenges in their profession, such as long hours, emotional stress, and high expectations from clients. These factors can contribute to burnout, which affects not only their well-being, but also their performance and quality of care Intent on tackling this issue, Papaya Veterinary Care sponsored a dinner CE session titled “Rooted in Resilience” at Piñas, a restaurant in Encinitas, California. The session featured Gen Borso, the CEO of Papaya Veterinary Care, who shared her insights and tips on how to develop resilience and cope with adversity in the field of veterinary medicine.

Borso, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry, compared the challenges faced by veterinarians to those of human health care nurses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained that resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties and adapt to changing situations. She also pointed out that resilience is not a fixed trait, but a skill that can be learned and improved.

Borso discussed the role of leadership and culture in creating a resilient and supportive work environment. She emphasized that leaders, including doctors, have a significant influence on the behavior and morale of their teams. She warned, “Your employees or your kids do what you do, not what you say,” implying that leaders need to lead by example and model the values and behaviors they want to see in their teams.

Borso also shared her personal story of how she became a veterinarian and how she found her purpose in her work through discovering her “why.” She said, “For me, the journey to where I am now was marked by pivotal choices.” She encouraged the attendees to reflect on their own “why” and how it can guide them through the complexities of their profession. She said, “When you know your why, your what becomes more clear and impactful,” meaning that having a clear sense of purpose can make work more meaningful and effective. This is a surefire way to combat burnout and help build long-term resilience to the challenges veterinary professionals face every day.

Using a realistic case scenario of a medication dosage error, Borso demonstrated how a responsibility-centric approach vs playing the blame game can help veterinarians better deal with mistakes and challenges in a positive way. Instead of immediately concerning yourself with assigning blame to whomever may have made the mistake, it’s important to remember that the patient comes first in this situation. “If we start pointing fingers, we're actually taking our eye off the prize here, which is knowing know how much was given to this pet so we know what to do to treat them properly,” she said, adding, “When we come back later, we can talk about how what could we do differently to prevent this next time. That's a position of responsibility that everybody can take.” By shifting the staff’s mindset in this way, you can help foster a culture of accountability and trust within the practice.

The session concluded with a Q&A session, where Borso answered questions from the audience and provided more practical advice on how to build resilience and prevent burnout.

About Papaya Veterinary Care

Papaya Veterinary Care is a full-service veterinary hospital for dogs and cats with multiple locations in California. Papaya Veterinary Care’s mission is to create a holistic veterinary care experience, with a focus on the pet’s perspective and a culture of authenticity, challenge, resilience, courage, and joy. To learn more about Papaya Veterinary Care, visit their website.

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