Wellness for Veterinary Professionals

AAHA wellness resources help you take care of yourself and your workforce so you can care for others.

Veterinarian is reassuring an upset technician
How strong relationships foster meaningful work
illustration of a team working together and showing appreciation

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How strong relationships foster meaningful work

Taking the time to build relationships with clients and teammates enables us to step in during a critical illness or emergency with the utmost confidence in our ability to do right by our patients.

From the Editor
Photo of Trends editor, Ben Williams, next to a July 2024 Trends print magazine

Trends

June 2024

From the Editor

June is Pride month, and here at AAHA we are very proud to support all the efforts in our industry that move Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) forward. To that end, this issue is devoted to those efforts.

More Options Equals Better Care
A client looking worried while holding a vet bill. A technician is with her dog in the background.

Trends

June 2024

More Options Equals Better Care

When clients face financial challenges, they might decline necessary treatments for their pets, which can present ethical and emotional burdens on the veterinary team. What can teams do to alleviate some of this stress?

The New Professional Attire
Two technicians looking at a computer. Both are wearing identical light blue scrubs and both have tattoos.

Trends

June 2024

The New Professional Attire

The work environment has not always welcomed people’s expressions of their individuality, whether it is through clothes, tattoos, or piercings. But today, in veterinary medicine, a growing number of professionals are preferring surgical scrubs to white coats or business attire, and practices are welcoming (and even embracing) artistic body expressions in their employees.

Wellness Insights for Vet Med Professionals and Beyond
Illustration of 1 woman with 4 versions of herself next to each other. Each version shows a range of emotion from mad to apathetic to hopeful to happy. Over the illustration is a small still image of the podcast recording with host Katie Berlin, DVM, and Courtney Campbell, DVM, DACVS (Small Animal).

Trends

June 2024

Wellness Insights for Vet Med Professionals and Beyond

Courtney A. Campbell, DVM, DACVS (Small Animal), a veterinary surgeon and media personality talks about the intersection of veterinary medicine, mental wellness, and the benefits of staying physically active away from work.

Why people stay: Hiring (and keeping) a great team
illustration of a team helping eachother build steps

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Why people stay: Hiring (and keeping) a great team

A sense of belonging and teamwork is one of the top factors that keeps employees in their jobs, according to AAHA’s “Stay, Please,” research. Phil Richmond, DVM, CAPP, CPPC, CRT, CCFP, talks about how to create the psychological safety needed to hire and develop a strong team.

An exciting opportunity to improve your veterinary Spanish
image of two cell phones, the screen on one says

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An exciting opportunity to improve your veterinary Spanish

Better communication leads to better care—but communicating clearly with clients can be challenging when you’re not only discussing medical issues the client may be unfamiliar with, but are trying to do so with a language barrier in the way.

Some like it hot: Handling heated client conversations
Illustration of a person, head in hands, with lots of thought bubbles and dark scribble clouds around their head

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Some like it hot: Handling heated client conversations

Dealing with difficult clients is part of the veterinary world. But navigating these choppy waters can also be a chance to shine, personally and as a practice.

Senior Dogs, Super Moms, and Singular Service
Screenshots of Katie Berlin, DVM, and Julie Buzby, DVM, during their podcast episode. Image of senior dog laying in a dog bed wearing Buzby's toegrips.

Trends

May 2024

Senior Dogs, Super Moms, and Singular Service

Julie Buzby, DVM, talks to Central Line about her life as a mom and homeschooler of eight kids, small business owner, and former practice owner.

Financial Health, Mental Health
Illustration of a stressed woman at a table looking at her small paycheck. Her dog is next to her staring at his empty food bowl. Multiple

Trends

May 2024

Financial Health, Mental Health

Many people worry about their financial health and those in the veterinary community are not immune to that concern. Unfortunately, a person’s financial worries can be a significant cause of stress and that stress can affect wellbeing.

Igniting Epic Wins
Illustration of a nurse celebrating with her arm in the air.

Trends

May 2024

Igniting Epic Wins

This article defines what an epic win is and how practices can foster it by asking three key questions. Those include enrolling staff in the practice’s vision and mission, creating psychological safety, and intrinsic motivation.

From the Editor
Headshot of Ben Williams next to a photo of the May 2024 edition of Trends Magazine.

Trends

May 2024

From the Editor

Most people are familiar with the famous line from the Apollo 13 mission, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” When there is a crisis, true professionals know how to respond. And vet med, like NASA, is filled with true professionals.

Vet Med, We Have a Problem
Illustration of a cat in a rocket that is venting money

Trends

May 2024

Vet Med, We Have a Problem

According to AAHA’s research, one factor consistently comes up again and again in the conversation about staff turnover: fair compensation. It’s the top driver of attrition, and it’s also a key retention factor. This article offers expert tips for addressing the number one driver of turnover among veterinary professionals.

Following a formula for fair associate veterinarian compensation
illustration of people sitting on and carrying large coins, someone watering a plant and coins coming out of it

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Following a formula for fair associate veterinarian compensation

“If you’re resenting your work, you’re not getting paid enough,” says AAHA past president Pam Nichols, DVM, CCRP, CFI. Here she lays out her tried-and-true formula for paying associates.

NAAVR hopes to provide a career path for veterinary receptionists
vetmed csr on the phone

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NAAVR hopes to provide a career path for veterinary receptionists

Launching in 2024, the North American Association of Veterinary Receptionists (NAAVR) will provide CE for customer service representatives in many areas, including conflict resolution, great customer service, and hospitality.

For technician retention, money matters
illustration of two dogs sitting on top of pile of coins with vetmed workers around them

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For technician retention, money matters

It’s not all about the Benjamins, but a lack of fair compensation is the top driver of tech turnover. However, meeting the financial needs of this role might not be as big a stretch as you’d expect.

AAHA Culture Connection

AAHA Culture Connection

A collaboration between AAHA and leading management consulting firm, The Coffman Organization (TCO), The AAHA Culture Connection is a two-part employee-engagement program designed to help practices achieve the organizational culture they’ve always wanted by offering personalized insights, recommendations, and tools that empower teams to build a positive and productive work environment together.

Webinar takeaways: Starting your cultural competence journey
a screenshot of the panel from AAHA's cultural competency webinar

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Webinar takeaways: Starting your cultural competence journey

Takeaways from the recent AAHA webinar on cultural competence include embracing humility and curiosity about our own cultural biases to better understand teammates and clients—and ultimately, better care for patients.

Working parent guilt—Where it comes from and how to send it packing

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Working parent guilt—Where it comes from and how to send it packing

Guilt felt by working parents is a type of unhelpful “persecutory guilt,” writes Emily Singler, VMD, that can be avoided and healed through releasing unrealistic expectations and shifting responsibilities and priorities.

Soft Skills in a Hard World
Photo of a technician talking with a client while putting an e-collar on a cat

Trends

March 2024: The Behavior Issue

Soft Skills in a Hard World

Prior to the pandemic, employee development focused primarily on teaching technical skills, like how to operate the latest accounting software or inventory management system. But the pandemic showed us that skills such as communication and innovative thinking are what will enable a practice not only to survive but to thrive, especially in tough times.

What Energizing and Empowering Veterinary Teams Looks Like
Photos of Katie Berlin, DVM, and Alyssa Mages, BS, CVT, duing podcast recording with an illustrated image of to happy veterinary workers behind them.

Trends

March 2024: The Behavior Issue

What Energizing and Empowering Veterinary Teams Looks Like

Alyssa Mages, BS, CVT, discusses her journey as a resilient veterinary educator, trainer, coach, and entrepreneur. Mages is the chief visionary officer of the company she co-founded, Empowering Veterinary Teams (EVT), where she oversees the content development, clinical skills training, and overall vision of the company.

VIDEO: Meet the small animal veterinarians helping wildlife around the world

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VIDEO: Meet the small animal veterinarians helping wildlife around the world

You don’t have to be a wildlife vet to help animals in places like the Galapagos Islands, Kenya, or Sumatra—small animal veterinary professionals are needed to serve the dogs, cats, and people who live near the wild too.

A conversation: Being Black in veterinary medicine

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A conversation: Being Black in veterinary medicine

A candid, no-holds-barred conversation with two Black veterinary professionals about the challenges they’ve faced—and the strength and inspiration they’ve found—on their career paths.

WATCH: blendVET’s DEIB focus inspires the next generation of veterinarians in underserved communities

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WATCH: blendVET’s DEIB focus inspires the next generation of veterinarians in underserved communities

Niccole Bruno, DVM, founded blendVET to provide hands-on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) training for veterinary practices—and now blendVET’s “pathway events” at K–12 schools are showing students in underserved communities that they also have a place in vet med.

Great minds think alike? Think again!

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Great minds think alike? Think again!

Temple Grandin, PhD, MS, shares how neurodiverse minds think differently from others—and why that’s a good thing for your team, your patients, and your practice.

Funny, controversial, and flat-out weird Super Bowl ads about pets—and what we can learn from (some) of them

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Funny, controversial, and flat-out weird Super Bowl ads about pets—and what we can learn from (some) of them

Super Bowl commercials often feature cute animals—and that can be a conversation starter for veterinary teams to debunk myths while reminding clients that their veterinarian is their best resource for accurate information about the health and wellbeing of their pets.

From the Editor
A headshot of Trends editor, Ben Williams, next to the February 2024 Trends print issue.

Trends

February 2024

From the Editor

In the veterinary world, we often note February as Dental Health Month. But in the larger scope, February is also Black History Month, and so we wanted to celebrate that by bringing you inspiration from our friends at blendVET™, who are creating pathways into the profession for students who may not otherwise see those opportunities.

Support Matters

Trends

February 2024

Support Matters

More than 33 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law, “reasonable accommodations” has become a byword in most sectors. But awareness, empathy, and support are still needed to overcome many challenges, including in the veterinary profession.

Unlocking the Potential of the Next Generation
Illustration of a bright keyhole door with veterinary students walking through it

Trends

February 2024

Unlocking the Potential of the Next Generation

As an underrepresented minority in veterinary medicine, Niccole Bruno, DVM, founder of blendVET, knows how important it is for kids with the dream of being a veterinarian to have support. Her organization creates programming that intentionally provides exposure and representation for students in underserved communities.

Vetspacito: Helping pets and overcoming language barriers

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Vetspacito: Helping pets and overcoming language barriers

With an increasing number of Spanish-speaking clients, being able to communicate in Spanish is no longer just a skill—it’s a necessity. Vetspacito empowers veterinary professionals with the language tools to improve patient care and build stronger, more empathetic relationships with a broader clientele.

I might actually need help

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I might actually need help

Recovering from the holidays while kicking off a new year at a veterinary practice can be a daunting task. Practice owner Jenn Galvin offers some encouragement.

From the Editor

Trends

January 2024

From the Editor

We have been planning a re-design for a couple of years, but the pandemic put things on hold. But now, after months of hard work and planning, we are proud to offer our readers a new look and feel (in the print version), as well as some new contents.

Telehealth After COVID

Trends

January 2024

Telehealth After COVID

Virtual care offers huge benefits for your patients, clients, staff, and bottom line. These include increased workflow efficiency, improved work-life balance, better and more thorough care for patients, and added convenience value for clients. It is no surprise that the lynchpin of well-implemented virtual care begins and ends with veterinary technicians, assistants, and care coordinators.

Stay, Please

Trends

January 2024

Stay, Please

A new AAHA survey on staff retention got a massive response. People had a lot to say—and they wanted to be heard. After months of sorting through the data, consulting with data analysts, and looking at these findings from various angles, we’ve landed on some illuminating findings.

An Extra Wind: Natives in VetMed

Trends

January 2024

An Extra Wind: Natives in VetMed

A new group offers camaraderie and support for Indigenous veterinary students and professionals. With help from the nonprofit Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), Natives in VetMed is rapidly expanding. Already, members represent 33 tribes from the United States and Canada.

Are You a Resilient Leader?
Illustration of a leader and two people behind them.

Trends

December 2023

Are You a Resilient Leader?

If the “great resignation” taught us anything, it’s that people are tired. And the storms won’t abate, given rising costs and a looming recession. The antidote, leadership gurus say, is a new leadership competency: resilience.

Teamwork and Disease Management
Top-down photo of a veterinary team having a team meeting

Trends

November 2023

Teamwork and Disease Management

Veterinary teamwork improves patient care, client support, and job satisfaction and growth. When each team member works to their strengths and everyone, including clients, values each role, disease management cases and clinical days themselves flow better.

Inside AAHA, November 2023
Mark Thompson, DVM, CCRP and various images from the November publicity toolbox

Trends

November 2023

Inside AAHA, November 2023

AAHA president-elect Mark Thompson, DVM, CCRP, challenges you to ask yourself: “Are you thriving?” And if you own a practice, are you empowering your employees to thrive? The Community asks for some effective ways to communicate with staff.

Techs Take Wellness Online
TikTok memes of 3 vet tech social media influencers: Emily Ahsan, CVT, Shena Humbert, LVT, and Sarah Parsons, LVT

Trends

October 2023

Techs Take Wellness Online

Compassion fatigue and burnout are rampant among veterinary technicians. Some techs are taking to social media to promote wellness and spread encouragement to others.

Technician Retention and Leadership
Stills of Natalie Boursiquot, BS, RVT, and Liz Hughston, MEd, RVT, LVT, CVT, VTS (SAIM, ECC), during an episode of Central Line

Trends

October 2023

Technician Retention and Leadership

Technician retention and good leadership are inextricably tied, as we discuss in this Central Line podcast episode with Natalie Boursiquot, RVT, and Liz Hughston, MEd, RVT, CVT, VTS (SAIM, ECC). From the role individuals can play in systemic change to insights into how leadership can show technicians—and other employees—they truly matter, this conversation was full of helpful ideas for increasing tech retention.

Laugh to Lighten the Load
Photo of a calendar image of a dog and cat with googly eyes over the dog and cat's eyes

Trends

September 2023

Laugh to Lighten the Load

It can be hard to find humor in a profession filled with burnout and high rates of mental health issues. But some professionals say that is precisely why it is so important to bring the element of humor into vet med.

Stress First Aid for Veterinary Teams
Stills from Central Line of Katie Berlin, DVM, and Melyssa Allen, MA, DACLM

Trends

September 2023

Stress First Aid for Veterinary Teams

Melyssa Allen, MA, CHWC, DACLM, aims to make first aid for stress just as second-nature for veterinary professionals. Allen describes the Stress First Aid framework, first developed for the US military and now available for healthcare workers, and why it should be part of every veterinary practice, just like antihistamines, Band-Aids, and an eye wash station.

Beyond the EAP
Illustration of 3 silhouettes that represent a range of emotions from anger to happiness to sadness.

Trends

September 2023

Beyond the EAP

Veterinary professionals can “give ‘til it hurts,” sacrificing their mental health and wellbeing while helping pets and the people who love them. In this article, veterinary social workers and other wellness experts share tips on ways to bolster mental health in the day-to-day and why it’s so important.

Notebook: September 2023
3 images: Clemson University, Elizabeth Strand, PhD, LCSW, and 2 dogs playing with a tennis ball

Trends

September 2023

Notebook: September 2023

News briefs from across the industry and beyond. This month’s articles include: Pet Insurance Industry Surpasses $3.5 billion; New Center for Veterinary Social Work; Clemson Approves New College of Veterinary Medicine; Research Finds Dogs Have Better Health Outcomes With Another Animal in the home; and Veterinary Supplier Sentenced for Misbranded Drugs.

Inside AAHA September 2023
Margot Vahrenwald DVM and various images from the September publicity toolbox

Trends

September 2023

Inside AAHA September 2023

Margot Vahrenwald DVM, AAHA’s president for 2022–2023, shares an anecdote that illustrates the toll that poor mental health can take on a team, and how a caring attitude can unite the team. The Community shares memories of accreditation and its importance, 90 years after AAHA began.

Cat Champions
Closeup photo of a veterinarian holding a kitten

Trends

August 2023

Cat Champions

Everyone from the client service representatives to the veterinary assistants and technicians can play a vital role in providing the best care to feline patients, especially in cases of dermatological problems.

Notebook: July 2023
3 images: A PTSD support dog, microscopic view of a flatworm, and Jonathan Levine, DVM

Trends

July 2023

Notebook: July 2023

News briefs from across the industry and beyond. This month’s articles include: State of the workplace health report; Canine PTSD study; Demand returns to pre-pandemic levels; new bill introduced to combat illicit Xylazine; Bipartisan bill aims to crack down on ‘tranq.’

Authentic Leadership: What It Is and Why You Need It
Illustration of a team leader opening curtains and stepping into a bright area.

Trends

June 2023

Authentic Leadership: What It Is and Why You Need It

This article defines authentic leadership. It also outlines the roles of one’s personal history and life experiences, the larger social context, and self-awareness in it. Questions are provided to prod the reader to examine his/her/their authentic leadership style.

Bridging the Gap to Belonging
Still of Katie Berlin, DVM, and Ewan D. S. Wolff, PhD, DVM, DACVIM, during a recording of Central Line: The AAHA Podcast

Trends

June 2023

Bridging the Gap to Belonging

In the midst of more conversations around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging than ever before, people with whom we share critical patients and break room donuts are being forced to hide who they are, flee their homes, and live in fear simply for existing as they are. A conversation with Ewan D.S. Wolff, PhD, DVM, DACVIM, sheds some light on this critical problem.

Inside AAHA June 2023
Cheryl Smith, CVPM, and and various images from the June publicity toolbox

Trends

June 2023

Inside AAHA June 2023

AAHA director Cheryl Smith, CVPM, weighs in on the challenges of recruitment and the need to encourage technicians’ professional development. AAHA Community asks how to re-assign caseloads after a veterinarian leaves the practice.

The Gender Pay Gap
Illustration of a dollar sign cut in half and woman with a dog standing on the lower side.

Trends

March 2023

The Gender Pay Gap

Why More Women in Vet Med Does Not Equal Gender Equality

Finding Your Carrot with Senani Ratnayake
Image of a maze in the shape of a brain and a carrot at the center of the maze with a man touching it.

Trends

January 2023

Finding Your Carrot with Senani Ratnayake

Senani Ratnayake, BSc, RVT founder of Motivatum Consulting, talks to Central Line: The AAHA Podcast host Katie Berlin, DVM, about her experience helping teams build trust through personal stories.

Inside AAHA January 2023
Image of a kitten closing his eyes and laying down.

Trends

January 2023

Inside AAHA January 2023

AAHA secretary/treasurer Dermot Jevens, MVB, DACVS, offers tips for creating a positive culture. A Community highlight asks about core versus noncore vaccines. Log in to the AAHA Community to join the conversation with other AAHA practice team members.

Wellness for Today’s Veterinary Technicians

Trends

October 2022

Wellness for Today’s Veterinary Technicians

Technicians are irreplaceable within a veterinary practice, but what can we do to support the wellness of technicians?

Mindfulness in vet med and why it’s not just woo

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Mindfulness in vet med and why it’s not just woo

Many veterinary professionals aren’t enthusiastic about anything that smacks of New Age “woo,” from the theoretical healing power of crystals to the more established power of meditation to calm.

AAHA-accredited practice owner voted Westminster Veterinarian of the Year

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AAHA-accredited practice owner voted Westminster Veterinarian of the Year

A professor once told John Rossi something he’s never forgotten: “As a veterinary professional, you’re not going to make a killing. But it’s a good, honest profession. If you embrace it, you’ll always do well.” Rossi took those words to heart.

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Making Time for Mental Health

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Mindfulness, Meditation, and Making Time for Mental Health

Veterinary medicine is chock-full of goal-oriented people who are accustomed to doing well in school, meeting challenges head-on, and problem-solving their way through emotional and difficult days. I’m like that too, which means when I find something that doesn’t come naturally to me, I tend to do everything I can to avoid it. This has been my relationship with any mindfulness or meditation practice I’ve ever tried.

Grit + Love: A veterinary wellness journey during lockdown

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Grit + Love: A veterinary wellness journey during lockdown

“It looked like the sky was falling,” says Charles Hurty, DVM. He was talking about the skies over Newport, Oregon in September 2020, when out-of-control wildfires ravished the surrounding old growth forests and rained ash and grit over much of the Pacific Northwest. But he could have been talking about COVID-19.

As a Leader, Can You Create Psychological Safety?

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As a Leader, Can You Create Psychological Safety?

The new buzzwords in leadership circles today are “psychological safety” and “vulnerability.” If you can create a workplace that honors these twin poles, note leadership gurus, your employees will feel safe enough to innovate.

Stay ahead of the Great Resignation with stay interviews

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Stay ahead of the Great Resignation with stay interviews

Veterinary practices are feeling the effects of the Great Resignation. The stay interview can help keep an unhappy employee from quitting suddenly and leaving your practice in the lurch.

Burnout: An “Occupational Phenomenon”

Trends

May 2022

Burnout: An “Occupational Phenomenon”

Burnout isn’t a medically recognized condition—you won’t find it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for example. But according to experts, it’s a very real condition.

Mobility

Pet Health Resources

Mobility

Mobility is key to a healthy quality of life for pets. Understanding the causes of joint disease and the benefits of early detection can help keep pets feeling younger longer—and give owners more quality years with their pets living comfortably by their sides.

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