Many veterinarians feel pressured to be on call for their clients round the clock, especially if they’re one of the only equine caretakers in the area. Vets are often called out for an after-hours “emergency” that turns out to be a non-life threatening situation that could have been resolved during normal business hours. That constant hustle is taking its toll on many veterinarians, so many are trying to provide guidance on how to reduce burnout.
EquiManagement suggests there are some ways to alleviate this near-constant pressure, including working for (or opening) a multi-doctor clinic or collaborating with other practices in the area to share the on-call burden. Young veterinarians are often eager to take on emergency cases and the sharing of the caseload offers older vets a unique opportunity to mentor younger colleagues.
Additionally, being forthcoming with clients about professional boundaries can assist vets in regaining a work-life balance. While discussing new “office hours” for an equine veterinarian may feel uncomfortable in an already-established practice, loyal clients often stay loyal – they just want to be kept in the loop. Offering customers alternatives should be a priority; this could be as simple as providing phone numbers for another veterinarian who is available for after-hours care. Adjusting the time in which a vet practices (which might include later openings and closings) is another option to remain available for clients, yet regain the opportunity for some down time.
The option to treat only equine emergencies is another possibility to avoid burnout. After-hours emergency care is often more financially lucrative than dealing only with cases seen during the day.
Seeking to educate owners on what a true emergency is can also go a long way to alleviating the possibility of burnout for veterinarians in general. An emergency situation is scary for many owners; reassuring clients that reaching out via text, email or phone call is always OK leaves them feeling less alone.
Read more at EquiManagement.
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