Starting clinics was a daunting endeavor for me. I have spent the last three years sitting in a classroom, learning as much as I possibly could about animals of all species. However, when it came time to transition to the practical application of that information in a clinical setting, I felt a daunting sense of inadequacy begin to steal away my confidence regarding what I know.
As I began my clinical journey, I found that this little voice of doubt was overpowering my ability to believe in myself. Instead of allowing myself to excel and learn from my experiences, I wallowed in all of the things that I felt like I was doing wrong. When a resident or clinician asked me about my thoughts or inquired about a condition or pathology, I responded with uncertainty instead of trusting in what I knew. Most of the time, I was actually right, or at least on the right track, but I didn’t feel that way at all.
Finally, after two or three days of ending sentences that should have been statements with question marks, one of the residents told me something that I should have been telling myself: SAY IT WITH CONVICTION. Four words that have made all of the difference in the world. I am at a point in my education where I need to allow my knowledge to stand on its own and that means I need to say things with certainty. If I’m not confident in myself and what I think, why should any client, patient, clinician, resident or colleague have confidence in me? Having conviction gives my knowledge the strength it needs to be a source of empowerment for others. I believe that my knowledge has power and I want the rest of the world to see that too.
Very well said with lots of common sense. Wish you practiced out here
John M. Bruggeman, DVM says
Speaking as a veterinarian who has recently retired after a 45 year career, I have a concern that we as a profession are progressing toward a point where we will make the work we do unaffordable for the average pet owner. In the real world, we cannot always do all the diagnostics and confirmation of the diagnoses we make every day. Sometimes we need to rely on experience and the fact that common things are common. I recently, while doing a days relief work, watched a young veterinarian do in excess of 500 dollars worth of diagnostics to try to determine whether or not a coughing dog had tracheo-bronchitis or lymphoma. There was some enlargement of the submandibular lymph nodes. In an ideal world were all clients had unlimited resources, we would be able to do this kind of thing, but in reality, we cannot go zebra hunting when we hear hoofbeats…..it’s very likely horses. COMMON THINGS ARE COMMON, and common sense needs to be applied. If we’re wrong, the response to therapy, one way or the other, will tell us so. I know that this example does not cover all situations and all diagnostic processes, but we need to pay attention to the results of good physical exams and what our experience tells us. Our job, at it’s core, is problem solving for a client. The problems just happen to be animal health related. So…new clinicians….I encourage you to always remember that there is a person and a family attached to your patients. We need to find the balance between satisfying ourselves that we do the right things, and meeting the needs of the patient, AND THE CLIENT. ‘Nuf said.
Thank you for saying so. I currently have a young dog that was most likely dumped in the forest adjacent to my property. He isn’t neutered and when I hear what the price tag for spay/neuter is these days, I am dismayed. It is beyond what most can afford and this is what happens. Abandoned pets. He will be neutered with the assistance of a local rescue, but the expense is a huge problem. Five hundred dollars for an exploratory diagnosis is just irresponsible. I really miss my old-school vet.