Dr. Smith is the creator of The Vetitude; a website and social media brand dedicated to promoting empathy, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence to veterinary professionals so that they can be happier, more productive team members and animal care advocates. In addition to her own website, her writing has been featured on prominent veterinary and medical blogs such as DrAndyRoark.com and Kevin MD Dr. Smith graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 and is currently a small animal veterinarian on Long Island where she was born and raised. Her professional interests include internal medicine, preventative medicine, and client education.
Topic #1: Mime in a Box: Defining and Setting Personal Boundaries
Description: Do you often find yourself saying "yes" when you really want to say "no." Healthy boundaries help us say "yes" to the things that really matter. They help us connect better with our clients, co-workers and patients. And they help us prevent burnout, compassion fatigue, and unhappiness in our careers. So what are healthy boundaries? What are the roadblocks we face in setting them? How do we decide what our individual boundaries are? And how do we effectively and safely enforce them? This lecture will address each of these topics and provide practical tips and advice for living a more boundaried life.
Topic #2: Gaining a Client's Trust--Stat
Description: A trusting relationship between veterinarian and pet owner is essential. Whether it’s an emergency and you need a client you’ve never even met before to trust you with their pet’s life—right then and there, or it’s a new kitten appointment and you want to start their them out on the right foot so that pet can have consistent, high quality, life-long care—establishing trust quickly can make all the difference. So how can you make the best first impression possible? What can we do to establish trust from the very moment we meet a client? How do we inspire clients to comply with our recommendations and convince them to come to us with their pet care concerns? This lecture will teach the body language, communication, and emotional skills needed to gain a client’s trust—stat.
Topic #3: The Curse of Knowledge: How What We Know Can Hinder Us
Description: Neoplasia, radiographs, stifle, echocardiogram—during school, these words become a normal part of our vocabulary and we don’t realize that most other people don’t have a clue what they mean. This is the curse of knowledge; the belief that what we know, others know as well. And in veterinary medicine, where most of us deal with clients without medical backgrounds, this can be a big problem.The curse of knowledge can lead to poor communication, decreased compliance, and clients who feel overwhelmed and untrusting of us and our motives. This lecture will focus on effective communication that will help bond clients to us as practitioners. I will discuss tips and tricks to educate clients using language they can understand. It will also discuss the importance of staying present with each individual client and tailoring the conversation to them so that they feel appreciated and understood.
Topic #4: Vet Med is a Battlefield…But it Doesn’t Have to Be: How to Harness the Power of Empathy to Bridge the Veterinarian/Client Divide.
Description: There’s a growing disconnect between veterinary professionals and clients. Studies show that empathy is on the decline and this makes it harder for us to connect with the people we’re trying to serve. We expect clients to understand us—that we’re people with lives outside of work; that we deserve to make a living; that we’re trying our best. But do we extend the same courtesy to them? When a client gets upset, or frustrated, or lashes out, do we respond with understanding and compassion, or do we immediately go on the defensive? If we head to work each day expecting to fight a war, that’s what we’ll get. And that won’t make us effective veterinarians, and it definitely won’t make us happy ones. This lecture will teach us how to tap into our empathy and grow it, how to better understand our clients, and how to use empathy to diffuse difficult situations.
Topic #5: How to Build Resilience: And How Much Should We Be Expected to Have
Description: Burnout is becoming increasingly problematic in veterinary medicine. And yet, many veterinarians are thriving in their jobs and finding fulfillment in their purpose. So how do they stay resilient through the ups and downs of veterinary medicine? Researchers have identified ten “resilience factors” including realistic optimism, facing fears, spirituality, social support, and physical fitness, among others. These ten factors can be developed and improved upon to help veterinary professionals remain resilient and thrive in their careers. But there is a limit to resiliency. Personality factors and genetics can play a role in what those limits are. So, should resiliency be the sole responsibility of the individual, or should the industry be working towards changes that will help make the veterinary field a more sustainable place for everyone? What changes can we implement to help our colleagues find long and fulfilling careers? And what, if any, options should veterinarians have to continue their careers if they find the stress of full-time practice to be too much?
Speaker Fees: Honorarium is waived for student groups; request that travel costs be covered