Veterinary professionals are “animal people;” that’s probably one of the main reasons they get into the profession. Problem is, in order to work with animals, more often than not, they have to work with people, too.
That’s where things can get a little tricky, and that’s why two alums are working to educate the public and other professionals in order to work together better. For Dr. Lauren Smith, her focus is on the veterinary professionals, with the simple goal of helping them make the profession more sustainable by better interacting with clients.
“We spend so much time and energy to get into the profession,” says Dr. Smith, who runs the blog TheVetitude.com. “The last thing we want after all that is to be unhappy but, unfortunately, many are. So my goal is to focus on helping veterinary professionals and, at the same time, educating the general public.”
Although she started her blog little more than a year ago, Dr. Smith began writing public focused web articles back in 2014 as a form of her own therapy. She says the initial writings were decently received, but then she wrote one that got a little more publicity than even she expected.
Her 2016 article “The Real Reason Your Wait at the Vet Office is so Long” strung a chord with many, prompting her to realize the massive disconnect between the public and veterinary professionals at times.
Since then, her goal has been to help both sides work together to form better relationships.“The client relationship is so big in this profession, yet it’s harder than ever to have those good relationships,” says Dr.
Smith, who is a staff veterinarian at Commack Animal Hospital in New York. “There’s so much information out there, and a lot of it is really bad. Yet, it has a level of certainty to it, and so people believe it. Then they come into your office and get upset because, as medical professionals, we’re trained to never be certain of anything. They want certainty, and we, as veterinary professionals, can’t compete.
“That’s where my writings and speaking events are geared to help inform and work on those relationships. Clients are no longer just going to trust you solely because you have a white coat and a diploma. It’s about the interactions.”
When it comes to interactions, Dr. Jaimie Ronchetto’s are a bit more entertaining, at least when she works on informing the public.
The owner of Cinema Veterinary Centre in Santa Clarita, Calif., Dr. Ronchetto is a featured monthly guest on “The Hometown Morning Show with Tori and Kyle” on KHTS Radio. There, she discusses everything from holiday safety tips for pets to fun facts about cats and dogs, all in an effort to help her listeners be better-informed pet owners, which will hopefully make them better-informed clients.
“I try to focus my radio topics on things that I am asked frequently from my clients in the hospital setting,” Dr. Ronchetto said. “I think it’s important to make information clear and easily accessible to pet owners, and this is a fun platform to do just that.”
Like Dr. Smith, a common hindrance are clients who have asked “Dr. Google.” That’s where she hopes to give listeners information so they come in ready to their vet with a good basis of accurate knowledge. Thus far, Dr. Ronchetto says she’s received really good feedback from clients, as well as the community, with many saying that listening to her show taught them some things they never would have thought about before.
“We may be animal people, at heart, but we have to also be people people, too,” Dr. Smith said. “So the more we can help inform and work with not just the public but also other veterinary professionals, the happier we’ll all be.