An excellent veterinarian is held in high esteem by their local community. Often working in small towns or in the countryside, their rural clinics become an indispensable resource for the local population of cat and dog lovers, horse breeders, and farmers. Their clinic serves the town or rural district with the same honorable authority that country doctors commanded when America was largely an agrarian-based economy.
However, becoming a great veterinarian needs much more than a medical degree; it requires a unique combination of hard and soft skills that are rarely demanded of practitioners in other professions.
Here are 10 qualities of a great veterinarian:
1. Professional Knowledge
A great veterinarian is excellent at their profession. They have a deep knowledge of science, medicine, and the behavioral psychology of the different types of animals that they treat. They also have to have technical knowledge. They must know enough about what ancillary services to use for their work. This includes knowing where to buy surgical instruments and what biorepository services to use as a long-term cold storage solution for tissue samples and other temperature-sensitive biomaterials.
2. Business Know How
A great veterinarian understands how to go about managing a veterinary clinic. Hiring a rude front desk person, tolerating the idiosyncrasies of an incompetent vet assistant, failing to market the business properly, or mismanaging finances are just some of the ways that a poorly run clinic can fail to serve the public well.
3. Interpersonal Skills
A great veterinarian is good at managing staff, counseling distraught pet owners and firmly but compassionately dealing with nervous pets.
4. Expert Diagnosticians
A great veterinarian is able to quickly assess the most probable cause of an animal’s injury or illness and make decisions on what types of further testing is necessary.
A great veterinarian is decisive in an emergency. They’re able to respond quickly and effectively because they know what they’re doing. If they don’t know how to handle a situation, they know how to quickly find out the information that they need so that they can take the right steps to mitigate and heal an animal’s injury.
6. Administration Ability
A great veterinarian is an excellent manager, able to coordinate all staffing issues with a sense of calm authority. Their staff respect and admire their professional yet friendly demeanor
7. Time Management Skills
A great veterinarian has an intuitive grasp of time management: spending as long as needed to interact with a pet owner, examine their animal, and prescribe a course of treatment, yet not spending too long because the waiting room is usually packed with other people trying to get their time and attention.
8. Compassion and Empathy
A great veterinarian has plenty of compassion for both pet owners and empathy for their animals. When pet owners come in they are often feeling emotionally vulnerable, wondering how ill their beloved animal might be. Similarly, animals are often ill-at-ease and look for ways to either attack the stranger trying to examine them or escape the strange room they find themselves in.
9. Managing People and Animals
A great veterinarian knows how to explain complex medical problems in a simple way so that pet owners have an idea of what is afflicting their animal. They also know how to be firm, gentle, and decisive in dealing with different types of customers—people who are demanding, people who don’t want to pay their bills, people who try to get as much free service as possible, and people who are heartbroken at the fate of their pets.
10. High Manual Dexterity
A great veterinarian is unusually good with their hands. Whether it’s petting an animal to calm it down, forcing open a dog’s jowls to examine its teeth, or wielding a surgical knife, they know exactly how much pressure to exert with their hands and how to grip everything in just the right way to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Pet owners can sense a vet’s dedication to their profession, their expertise, and their passion for animals. They are also hypersensitive to any flaws in the vet’s character that they would probably ignore in other people—for instance, if they have a tendency to exaggerate or charge too much or be perfunctory about their diagnoses. Pet owners stay loyal to vets whom they consider trustworthy, professional, approachable, and true to their word because they understand that it’s not easy to find a great veterinarian.