Veterinary is definitely one of those classic “when I grow up!” professions. However, it is not all cute puppies and kittens. Now, two years after hanging up my student scrubs and putting on my first pair of big boy scrubs, I still have immense love for our profession but here are 5 things I HATE about Veterinary.
1. AGGRESSIVE PATIENTS
Surprise, surprise, it’s not actually all cute cuddly puppies and kittens. Many of our patients are in pain and stressed. They are then brought to a strange place, with weird sounds and smells, where someone starts poking their ouchy! Of course, we do everything we can to reduce their stress and manage their pain medically but managing the psychological aspect is much more difficult. So some patients will try to bite and scratch and that’s not specific to any particular breed or just cats or just dogs. Every animal when scared and in pain can turn aggressive. So while we love our patients, I hate that the love is often not reciprocated.
2. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT
As a private customer service industry, Veterinary also suffers the curse of “The Customer is always right!”. Yet, we are also dealing with incredibly stressed, upset or confused clients during incredibly difficult times when their little furbaby is ill, injured or even worse, they have passed away. Fortunately, some of the most compassionate and caring people I know are vets and vet nurses so we will take the time to listen, answer questions and comfort them. Sometimes clients abuse our compassion though and no matter what we say or do, there is no appeasing them. But the customer is always right and we have reputations within the community that we need to protect for the sake of the business. So we bend over backwards to make them happy, and I hate that we are no longer driven by our compassion but our need for survival. (PROTIP: SHOW SOME LOVE FOR YOU LOCAL VET ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!! RATE THEM ON FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, YELP ETC! TOO OFTEN THEY ONLY GET ABUSE!)
I did not go into Veterinary Medicine because I wanted to talk about money or to be a financial advisor. However, on a daily basis, I find myself doing both. This is because Veterinary Medicine is a completely private industry, which in turn means that when a client walks in the door, they are responsible for 100% of the bill. There is no public healthcare for pets, and honestly, I don’t believe there should. A pet is a privilege, not a right. However, people regularly get angry over prices or try barter. It is not relevant that you have ALREADY spent $5,000 on your new pedigree pup or that you ONLY spent $30 on your new Guinea Pig or “but they’re a rescue!?!”. A life is a life, and to treat them takes time, effort and resources from a whole army of highly trained personnel and I hate that this needs to be said.
Yep, this one is so annoying that it made onto the list TWICE! This time I am talking about our paycheck. Obviously, we didn’t go into this profession for the money, however, we are also not charity cases. Now, I can’t complain as I have a roof over my head, food on my table and I can budget for enough creature comforts. However, I am also fortunate that I am relatively debt free from my college years and I also work anti-social hours as an emergency vet, for which I am well compensated. However, veterinary professionals (including veterinary nurses!) are amongst the lowest paid of all the medical professionals and many also have crippling student debt. As a result, I hate that many veterinary professionals can struggle to make ends meet.
Now, this is not something that is going to change but vets can spend so much of their time at work, sitting at a computer, writing medical records, writing client communications and billing patients. It’s tedious. I did not go into this profession because I wanted a desk job, but I hate that sometimes I feel like I got one anyway.
So why do we do what we do? Well, thankfully some patients are cuddly and some clients are lovely and some clients insure their pets and some of us earn decent money and sometimes there isn’t too much paperwork. OH! AND CHOCOLATE! SOME PEOPLE BRING US CHOCOLATE!