Taking on the Culture of Infallibility in Veterinary Medicine

April 20, 2018

Dr. Fineman says veterinarians have to be able to say out loud, "I made this mistake."

We need to take on this "culture of infallibility" in veterinary medicine, says Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), director of veterinary talent and knowledge strategy at Ethos Veterinary Health. In other words, veterinarians need to be more comfortable talking about the errors they make.

We're seeing a tremendous amount of concern about mental health issues, sustainability and even survival for the veterinary profession, Dr. Fineman says. A factor that leads to some of the pressures veterinarians feel is the idea that we have to help every person, every pet and do it perfectly every single time, she continues — and we can't do that.

Dr. Fineman says veterinarians have to be able to say out loud, "I made this mistake," talk to their team members about it and build in double checks to avoid the same mistake from happening again.