I am awake after a 6 hour nap. In the day-time.
I have reentered the world of the emergency veterinarian as a means of income supplementation in the last couple of weeks. . Not a bad idea but it is taxing on my middle-aged self. Not so much physically, but more mentally.
In my practice certain behaviors are not allowed. Often when explaining this, it is though I am speaking of the patients, but it is an admonition to the clients. Upon first meeting with a client my ground rules are laid out:
-I am a plain and straight forward speaker which is both a strength and a weakness.
-I am not a warm and fuzzy person despite my looks.
-I will always give you my best advice for your pet and if I don’t know the answer we will find someone who does.
-As a client you have access to me as long as you are reasonable about your contact and you are not stalking me.
-I am not for everyone, but I hope I am for you.
In the event I am not for you, I will help you find someone who can be.
A pretty simple and straight forward approach which my clients respond to very well. By everyone approaching the relationship from a common point of reference, it cuts down on stress, strife, and misunderstandings and seems to work for me. If only I could be as succinct and straight forward in my personal life. That is not to say this approach has a 100% success rate.
I have fired 3 clients from my practice. It was not a dramatic event, just a face to face conversation about how I am apparently not meeting the needs of the client, more than the needs of the pet. It is a two way conversation with no accusations but just discussions of realizations. More often than not, the matter has boiled down to the client feeling they are entitled to demand anything they want, any time they want it just because we are involved in a fee for services relationship. I have been requested to do things that are unethical and in several cases just illegal. I calmly point out I am ending our professional relationship because I cannot afford to be involved in whatever it is they are requesting for the sake of my professional license, reputation, and livelihood. What it boils down to is often people fail to realize I am doing this to make a living, yes I am doing it for my health, and I am too cute to go to prison. Somewhere in one of those three paradigms, the message is received. It is all about control or at least the perception thereof. Something I relish in my own practice but relinquish when I enter the practice of another veterinarian. So now back to the mentally taxing aspect of practicing emergency medicine.
In the process of practicing emergency medicine just over the last 24 hours:
-I have been yelled at by a client for taking to long to diagnose and treat his dog, which had been vomiting for three days, because he had a very important dinner to attend.
-Accused of malpractice and threaten with being reported to the state board because the client felt my treatment was substandard since it was not identical to what the client had googled. I did point out he should not confuse my medical degree and 30 years of experience with his web search and made sure he had the correct spelling of my full name in case he was going to file a complaint.
-Chastised for putting a dark blue wrap on the cast of dog with a.broken leg because a yellow wrap would have been more ascetic because the pet has yellow fur. I gladly changed to the yellow wrap, which did include a fashion accessory up charge.
-In the process of questioning me on my qualification to see a very sick cat at 2:00 AM, the client asked which veterinary school I attended. I gave my standard proud exclamation, “I’m a Tuskegee Graduate.” to which she shrugged her shoulders and replied “Never heard of it.’
Just the process of sharing this has once again gotten on my last good nerve. I’m going back to bed. Good night.