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All you vets care about is the money

Posted in Our Community @ Feb 24th 2021 - By Dr Hubert Hiemstra
All You Vets Care About Is The Money

Ouch! Just reading that line makes your blood boil, doesn’t it?

If you’ve been in clinical practice for any length of time it’s likely that you would have heard this accusation, or some version of it, before.

These kinds of comments tend to hit a particularly sensitive nerve with most vets, and it’s not hard to see why. The reality is that we dedicate our lives to helping animals, often pushing ourselves to the edge of breakdown for comparatively low wages.

We really WANT to help our patients, but situations out of our control often force us to do things that are counter to our caring natures. Accusing us of “just being in it for the money” could not be further from the truth, right?

Well, yes and no.

To some degree, it IS about the money

The thing is, those comments are not entirely unjustified. To some degree, it IS about the money.

There are many times when we would rather be doing something else than be at work. Yes, we are fortunate that we have a career that most of us care passionately about and allows us the opportunity to do what we set out to do: to help. Most of us would still do the same kind of work, even if money was not a part of the equation…but maybe not quite so much of it?

When I’m there on a Saturday, instead of with my family, or I’m there at 3 in the morning instead of in my bed, I am unashamedly there because of the money. If I fail to charge appropriately for my work I will lose that job that I love, and I will have no money. So yes, unfortunately, the money does matter.

I'll often openly agree with clients...

Being honest with myself about this has gone a long way to assuage the feelings of guilt and anger that invariably threaten to overwhelm me in these kinds of conflict situations. I’ll often openly agree with clients when they accuse me of being money-driven: “Yes, you are right, and you are justified to be angry, but at this point, it IS unfortunately about money. I prefer to help my patients, but right now we are both limited as to what we can do by your financial situation. That is the reality. Now let's see what solutions we can work on.”

It’s hard to keep arguing with someone who’s agreeing with you.

This doesn’t necessarily make them happy, and it doesn’t make them like me, but it leaves no further room for argument and allows us to move toward a decision.

(And, not too infrequently, once the client realises that they can’t guilt me into free treatment, the money will miraculously appear…)

This post first appeared in The Vet Times UK and has been republished with the author's permission

About Hubert

Hubert is an emergency veterinarian and veterinary podcaster.

Over the almost two decades of his career, he has grown increasingly fascinated with all the quirks, intricacies and characters that come with this unique career of ours. One day he’ll figure out exactly what makes for a happy and fulfilled veterinary career and what makes a good vet, and when he does he’ll be sure to tell everyone. 

Check out Hubert & Dr Geraldo Poli's Podcast: The Vet Vault... Your Veterinary Potential Unlocked


Gillian Shippen @ Feb 27th 2021 10:42am
I love it - that last two paragraphs are simply gold and correct. And as the author suggests - you can't argue with someone that agrees with you!

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