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Discharge Notes


Trying to Keep Everything in Balance

Discharge Notes

Veterinary professionals walk a tightrope anchored at one end by work duties and at the other by life. Sometimes, it’s OK to turn around.

As I pull into the parking lot at work, I mentally kick myself. “What am I doing here? It’s my day off.” I spent the past three hours talking on the phone, driving to a client’s house, putting a pet to sleep and now unpacking supplies from my car. I had family plans for this […]


How We See Ourselves Matters

Discharge Notes

While we should not delude ourselves about our challenges, we should shape our conditioned thoughts carefully and hold them in our minds, ready to guide us.

I recently observed a few of my Facebook friends updating their profile pictures with an image and the line “Check on Your Vet People” across the bottom. Above those words was a veterinary caduceus alongside the silhouettes of a despondent woman and a concerned dog. I spotted this trend around the same time I noticed […]


Rekindling the Love of Work

Discharge Notes

Meaningful and memorable moments often outshine the end of a long, exhaustive pursuit. So, what are you striving for exactly?

Yesterday, I saw a client who informed me that she wouldn’t follow any of my nutrition advice because of “You know, dog food kickbacks.” Fortunately, she said, she had found the perfect dog food by sending a swab of her dog’s saliva to a company on the internet. Also yesterday: I treated a cat who […]


Our Complicated Relationships

Discharge Notes

When compromise is impossible, splitting up is sometimes the best option for conflicted and downtrodden veterinary professionals.

I encountered a veterinarian who wanted to sacrifice herself to our profession and a technician who wanted to rebel against it. The veterinarian — we’ll call her Jane — is a full-time doctor, married to a spouse who travels more than 50% of the time, and the mother of a 6-month-old daughter. Her daughter’s child […]


The Upside of Letting Go

Discharge Notes

Trust yourself to adjust your career goals.

“How did I get here?” the veterinarian asked me. His shoulders slumped as though his white coat had lead in the pockets. “I don’t like my job, I don’t like where I live, I don’t like where I’m going, and I haven’t enjoyed where I’ve been.” Our profession is seeing an epidemic of self-inflicted anxiety […]


Feel the Warmth

Discharge Notes

Try not to fixate on hardship and negativity. So much good is happening all around you.

It’s sleeting nonstop outside and I’m beginning to worry that someone might slip if the clinic parking lot ices over. Meanwhile, the woman in Exam Room 4 has rosy cheeks, a steaming cup of Starbucks and a thick knit turtleneck sweater. I smell cinnamon as she blows on the latte both to cool the drink […]


Grading on a Curve

Discharge Notes

Whatever you do, just don’t compare 2020 to other years.

If 2020 was a patient, I suspect most of us would have elected humane euthanasia sometime around May. That would have been after the wildfires in Australia, the U.S. drone strike on an Iranian general, the impeachment and acquittal of Donald Trump, the death of Kobe Bryant, the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, a […]