Successfully managing stress in your work as a veterinary surgeon

Veterinary surgeon in practice

Stress at work is inevitable for vets, whether in a small independent practice or at a large branch of a national provider. What isn’t inevitable though is the way we respond to that stress.

You are not alone

One of the most difficult aspects of coping with stress is the sense that you are the only one going through it at the time. Just as we begin to feel overwhelmed at work, it can seem that all of our colleagues and managers seem to be coping just fine. In reality, the vast majority of professional vets experience some form of stress during their working day. Having an opportunity to not only voice those challenges but also share them with fellow practitioners can be a really helpful first step in learning how to best tackle these issues. 

Dealing with difficult clients

I know from my extensive one-to-one careers coaching work with BVA members, that a significant cause of stress at work for vets is other people who we find difficult, be they managers, colleagues or clients. To this end we explored what makes that person difficult and how you can use tools to help you work with them more effectively.

For example, it can be really helpful to reframe the way you are thinking about that difficult person. That reframing starts with how you label them; think less of ‘difficult people’ and instead reflect on them as ‘people whose behaviour has an impact on me that I find difficult to cope with’. Rather than repeatedly ask yourself ‘why is this person difficult?’ instead pose the question ‘why am I having difficulty with this person?’. This helps you to identify which of your needs this person is challenging and provides you with a clearer roadmap on how to move things forward in a more positive light.

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