layout: true background-image: url(../../images/slide_background.jpg) background-size: cover class: middle --- ## Managing Time and Expectations ### Long Reads --- ### Quote 1 --- ### "We tell our new graduates not to worry about it. We expect them, out of university, to know and be able to do, nothing! We do our best to support them for the first couple of years; never on duty alone, always backed up, always helped out, any flak – we'll take it and divert it from them and sort things out. Sometimes we do that too much - there's a balance. They come out of college thinking that they are going to be sued but if they kill a cow, we'll compensate the farmers. It's not the end of the world. *(cont. ...)* --- ### It's actually very rare that the vets have done anything wrong, usually down to other things… We push them to do CPD, partly because then they get to talk around the subject with people and realise they are on a learning curve, that you don't know much at the start, that experience is worth something. The other thing they're taught at college, they have this pyramid of evidence and at the bottom is listen to what your boss says. They also expect to be running after 6 months but it takes years." --- ### Quote 2 --- ### "I think I've become more realistic… I think you have to accept, particularly in farm animal practice, the diagnostic tools and health monitoring available is fairly limited – not like human medicine where a pregnancy is monitored throughout and in great detail. *(cont. ...)* --- ### Your first contact is likely to be at the birth and you don't have scans, can't listen to the heartbeat – you don't have the same sophisticated equipment. So you have to accept that you haven't got the same range of diagnostics that you've got in other veterinary fields or in human medicine. That's the main reason why a lot of these things don't go as you like and that's how I approach things now." --- ### Quote 3 --- ### "I don't like doing farmer meetings in my own spare time. Usually they're scheduled for 5.00 or 6.00 pm which means that's my spare time. But in my company, we don't get paid for it. Also, if your day is really busy, sometimes it's not scheduled in that you have to do your dockets (what you've done, what you've prescribed) so it either accumulates or you have to do them during your spare time. *(cont. ...)* --- ### For example, our company has a rule that they have to be done on the same day - for sending out invoices that have to have the date of the visit. If you have 5 visits, writing dockets can take up to an hour. When you have long TB tests and the results have to be submitted by a certain time and sometimes that's in your spare time and I think that's wrong." --- ### Quote 4 --- ### "… that should be covered in vet school more managing expectation. And what dealing with people is actually like. Because we spend so much time focussing on diseases, pathology, biology etc, etc, you never actually learn how to deal with people. *(cont. ...)* --- ### We throw out people who are very smart, very well adapted to learning, into a job that doesn't actually require much learning after year 1, but one which you have to deal with people constantly. Everyone becomes a vet because they love animals. They don't realise how much its people based." --- ### Quote 5 --- ### "There's a huge long list of all the things a Day 1 grad "should" be able to do and a lot of people come out of university and think, "Day 1 – this is what I have to do, I'm RCVS and therefore I should be able to do these jobs". They have an inflated sense of how competent they really are. *(cont. ...)* --- ### And then, they're presented with something and they think, because they're vets, they have the qualification, and they feel they should be able to do things. I've had some younger colleagues that have become quite badly unstuck, not so much on competency grounds but in terms of their own mental health where they've perceived themselves to have failed where somethings not gone to plan or failed or they simply don't know what to do … look, just accept that for the first 6 months you don't know anything and are a complete liability – but that's absolutely fine! *(cont. ...)* --- ### As long as you recognise that, and don't over expect what I'll let you do, and what I'll expect you to do. Let's just start from the bottom and take it from there… For a younger inexperienced person, it takes time to get that perspective. For new grads coming out of a high-grade institution, constantly being told how marvellous they are, to get out into real life, can be difficult to learn that perspective." --- ### Quote 6 --- ### "I'm definitely better at dealing with difficult farmers than I am with difficult small animal clients. Which is why in the long term I want to go into pure farm because when you have a difficult farmer, you're not under any time pressure to deal with that person – which is much more pressured on the small animal side. When you're with a difficult farmer you can just drive away – you have got that element of control. *(cont. ...)* --- ### Whereas with small animals, you're in a consult room, you're going to charge them immediately for whatever you're doing. With farmers, you do get unreasonable ones, but I think that's the exception. I think that most farmers, apart from the ones who you know to be difficult, accept what you say and if they don't, then they are doing that on their own back and acknowledge that it's their responsibility. Whereas with small animals, if something goes wrong because they haven't followed your advice, it is somehow your fault! *(cont. ...)* --- ### Whereas even the most difficult of farmers, if they don't give the vaccine you recommended, and all their calves get pneumonia, they will take it on the chin. They do take responsibility for their own decisions, as long as you are presenting them with the options, then even the difficult ones will take responsibility if they make a wrong decision when you present it to them. Again, I think that ties back in to why I've learnt not to take it personally because at the end of the day, it's their business and they are allowed to run it however they want, as long as it doesn't impact welfare." --- ### Quote 7 --- ### "I think you can be a better vet if you're better rested and feel that your own time is your own. Even if you have got long hours, or if you have to start at 4.00 am, if you know that by the time it gets to 2.00 in the afternoon, no-one at work is going to call you, no-one at work is going to book you in to a 10 to 2.00 appointment – that you will leave if you come in early. *(cont. ...)* --- ### I think it's a culture that we just don't have, and I think it's quite a toxic culture – that expectancy that you'll always be there, as a vet, that you'll always be accessible by phone. It can be quite damaging when it's frowned upon if you don't answer your phone. And you just think … have a break!" --- ### Quote 8 --- ### "When you're dealing with herd health, trying to have this collaborative relationship, it's a problem with vets. We see every single problem and we want to solve every single problem at once, and you make it unachievable for your client. They get annoyed at you, they don't listen to you in the future. *(cont. ...)* --- ### So, it's important if you have someone who is incredibly enthusiastic, to direct their enthusiasm towards something that is achievable. It might even just be – we're going to get them to dip the navels at birth to stop calves dying of scour." --- ### Quote 9 --- ### "I find that young people there's this expectation I can work very little, not very hard, and get whatever I want. And that expectation is half of their problem because they are getting so bereft and distraught about things not going to plan all the time. *(cont. ...)* --- ### They have no contingency plan if nothing goes to plan. They assume that everything is going to be fine. I don't know how you reconcile people to the fact that life is not all sunshine and roses, and you have to work hard if you want to succeed." --- ### Quote 10 --- ### "I think you get two types of vets, the ones that will tell you their disasters and the ones that don't tell you their disasters. But I can assure you that everyone's had things go wrong on a farm! Some people will tell you about them, some people won't. *(cont. ...)* --- ### But it is very good if you are lucky enough to have a boss who will tell you the things they've made mistakes on, because as a young vet you can quite often think that everyone else is perfect, it's just you that's not up to scratch. Whereas quite often that's quite far from the truth."