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Trends Digital Issue

January 2018

January 2018

The Trends digital archive contains digital editions of Trends magazine from November 2009 to December 2016. Issues published after December 2016 are available as PDFs.

The digital archive is available to all subscribers to Trends magazine.

Articles in this issue

Inside AAHA

Michael T. Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (Emeritus), the CEO of AAHA, discusses the tremendous impact workplace culture has on productivity, job satisfaction, and employee engagement. Inside AAHA also looks at AAHA’s Healthy Workplace Culture Initiative, which provides resources to address, mitigate, and prevent mental health issues in veterinary practice teams and offers guidance on building a healthy workplace culture. AAHA is committed to setting the bar for personal and professional wellness—both for itself and the veterinary community. Employees at AAHA headquarters enjoy wellness walks, guided meditation, acupuncture sessions, and yoga. AAHA has also developed a written credo that reflects the core values of its team members and reaffirms our dedication to excellence, positivity, continual growth, innovation, and open and honest communication.
Page 11


Louise Dunn, owner of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting and coauthor of 101 Veterinary Human Resources Questions Answered, examines the link between employee conflict and gossip. If you’re unable to get a task on your computer to work, it may be because of how your brain is wired. A brief article explains how working in tandem makes it more likely to discover solutions as opposed to working alone. According to Mind (mind.org.uk), a British nonprofit devoted to workplace wellness, a job produces numerous mental health benefits, whereas unemployed people suffer from a lack of structure, social contact, shared purpose, and activity, which often leads to unhappiness. Results from a Gallup poll observed that having a best friend at work correlated with employees having a more positive work experience. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the impact of flu season on employees.
Page 19

What Is Culture?

This article explores the role workplace culture plays in employee wellbeing and why it’s critical for a veterinary practice to define the culture they want to create early on. Discussed is the changing nature of veterinary practice: from solely caring for animals to ensuring that the health of employees is at the forefront as well. It has been shown that a healthy workplace culture leads to a healthy business. The wellbeing of workers results in better patient care, less employee turnover, and greater success in attracting and retaining clients. The article provides insight into what contributes to a healthy culture, noting that two key components are an openness to collaboration and an environment for professional growth.
Page 22

AAHA Culture Roundtable: The Link Between Healthy Workplace Culture and Optimal Personal Wellbeing

AAHA’s Heather B. Loenser, DVM, moderates a roundtable discussion focused on the value of self-care and a healthy workplace culture. Panelists discuss the gender shift in the profession and how women are more prone to suffer from depression and anxiety. Perfectionism and a history of trauma among people who enter the veterinary profession were also identified as factors that could contribute to mental health challenges. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude, improving sleep hygiene, doing yoga, and volunteering are recommended to improve wellbeing. Developing a wide social network and engaging in hobbies that aren’t animal-centric were also shown to alleviate stress. The article also delves into the emotional labor involved in concealing feelings that are socially inappropriate and how a practice team can work together to normalize the emotional stress they face every day.
Page 31

Perspectives on Practice Cultures: Veterinary Technicians

This article discusses how credentialed veterinary technicians view practice culture and the unique challenges techs face within the industry. Techs contend with a lack of respect, low wages, lack of career advancement, and competition with on-the-job–trained technicians. The article goes on to explore the day-to-day challenges of veterinary technicians that contribute to poor work performance and burnout. The article espouses the importance of taking control and how technicians can contribute to workplace culture in a positive way while furthering their career at the same time. If a practice is not the right fit, the article discusses ways that a technician can identify a practice with a healthier workplace culture. Also covered are strategies for coping with stress, key sources of job satisfaction, habits of a healthy culture, and tips for reducing burnout.
Page 39

Leadership Matters

This article discusses how sound leadership can promote a healthy workplace culture. Discussed is the significance of a mission statement that highlights the core values of a practice. The article also explores how to enact a culture shift and the potential for resistance among employees.
Page 47

Culture and the Bottom Line

The connection between culture, employee satisfaction, and the bottom line are explored in depth. The article discusses why businesses with a healthy workplace culture reap financial rewards and experience higher employee engagement and better client satisfaction. The article discusses tactics that can foster a positive culture and the importance of establishing the overarching “why” of your business.
Page 51

Wellness: Not Just for Patients Anymore

Marie Holowaychuk, DVM, DACVECC, CYT and Kimberly Pope-Robinson, DVM, CCFP, are profiled in this article, each of whom endured work-related trauma and now teach wellness techniques to help others overcome the types of burnout, compassion fatigue, and depression that they have experienced in the industry. The article underscores the importance of addressing mental health issues and developing a workplace culture that emphasizes personal and professional wellbeing. Touched on are employee-assistance programs that provide employee support for workplace issues, which have become a benefit more frequently offered by practices.
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