Inside AAHA: April 2022

AAHA immediate past president Pam Nichols, DVM, CCRP, talks about changing your narrative, and making a positive change in your practice and life. Also, Dear AAHA answers a question about housekeeping supervisors, and, results from the Veterinary Outlook Survey and Omnibus Survey.

View from the Board

Spring is in the Air

Happy Spring everyone! It is my favorite time of the year—everything is new, the flowers are poking their heads out, the trees are budding, and foals are hitting the ground. April is a perfect month to hit the reset button. I tend to reflect on the first quarter of the year and refocus the goals I set at the first of the year (Notice I didn’t say refocus ON those goals—there is a difference).

It is never too late to recommit ourselves, or to consciously redirect our efforts! I never want to be the person that looks back and can’t remember “what happened to the past week/month/year?” Time flies. Let’s face it. Without a reset, we can find ourselves just cruising along and suddenly a year is gone. That said, there are exciting things happening in veterinary medicine. I am happy that two of the things I committed to in January still matter to me and to the profession. Changing the narrative around culture, burnout, veterinary satisfaction, and pay is critical to me, to my team and to our profession. I also committed to continuing conversations about telemedicine and telehealth; both critical and complicated.

Changing the narrative is my simple way of saying that you are what you think. You are what you speak. Your brain cannot discern the difference between what you say or think and what is real. (Full disclosure: I am not a therapist nor am I giving mental health advice-I am not dismissing burnout, exhaustion or depression as a figment of your imagination-this is just my way of being happy). If you find yourself participating in or propagating a negative narrative, you can change that narrative. You can reframe your thoughts to the positive and to the proactive rather than accepting the negative as fact.

My team is honing this skill every day and I couldn’t be prouder! Because we believe that culture is behavior, one of the behaviors that my team will no longer tolerate is negativity. Every single team member has the right and the responsibility to eliminate negative behaviors or negative narratives. It is really that simple and really that powerful. Each person on our team is either part of the problem or part of the solution. Please message me if you want more information on practical ways for you and your team to change the narrative!

Telemedicine is here to stay, regardless of your feelings about it. If you haven’t embraced some version of electronic delivery of veterinary care, I implore you to consider it. Learn how to get paid for the telemedicine that you already practice. Use good judgement about which cases need to be seen in a hospital or clinic immediately, tomorrow, or next week. Use good communication to avoid problems. Utilize RVTs, CVTs or nurses to triage cases and reduce the number of patients that end up in the ER for a non-emergency problem. If you have strong feelings about the use of telemedicine, join the conversation by volunteering with AAHA or your local VMA. You can help frame the path forward rather than complain about it after the fact.

It is spring, hope is in the air. I am so lucky to be a part of a profession that I love and to be associated with so many brilliant people. Thank you all for your contribution to a wonderful profession.

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Pamela Nichols, DVM, CCRP, is AAHA’s immediate past-president. She received her DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in 1996 and her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Utah in 1987. Her background is varied and includes work as a financial consultant, veterinary technician, veterinary receptionist, and associate veterinarian. Nichols opened Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, Utah, in 1999 and the Animal Care Center Airport in 2014. They are both AAHA-accredited facilities. The K-9 Rehabilitation Center, which opened in 2002, was one of the first in the country of its kind.

Dear AAHA

Dear AAHA,

The AAHA Standards say that we should have a housekeeping supervisor. What exactly does that entail?

—Housekeeping in Houston

Dear Housekeeping,

The housekeeping supervisor is someone who oversees regular building and grounds maintenance on a timely basis, assessing what improvements or repairs are needed. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, keeping up with regular maintenance can prevent safety hazards from developing. Thanks for your question!

—AAHA’s Member Experience Team

Have a question you’d like AAHA to answer? Email us at dearaaha@aaha.org.

Introducing AAHA Community

At AAHA, we see firsthand that teamwork is at the core of accreditation. We also recognize that the veterinary profession faces problems so complex that no one person is going to be able to fix them, so we feel a duty to provide opportunities for you to collaboratively brainstorm solutions.

In the past, AAHA has done this through educational programs and our yearly conference, Connexity, but our newest member benefit aims to extend that year-round. AAHA Community is not another social media site—it’s a place for crowdsourcing ideas, advice, and inspiration within a safe virtual space just for members.

Purpose of AAHA Community

As a private online platform, AAHA Community makes it easier for you to get answers to your pressing questions—both from the association and from other members.

Support and maintain your accreditation

  • Browse the newsfeed and follow topic tags to clarify AAHA Standards of Accreditation
  • Get faster responses from your AAHA team and share your questions for the benefit of others
  • Crowdsource answers and resources
  • Post messages and polls about specific challenges
  • Get files and templates added by other members in the Resource Library
  • Attend webinar events and join private groups
  • Build relationships with AAHA members
  • Locate AAHA members in the Directory
  • Read member profiles and network through direct messaging

You’re Invited!

New AAHA members will be invited to join AAHA Community shortly after activating membership. If you are an existing AAHA member and you haven’t received an email invitation, please log in at aaha.org to update your contact information or reach out to community@aaha.org.

Research Recap

Through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and other channels, we’ll be asking for your input as members of the veterinary community. Learn how you can contribute at aaha.org/research.

Spotlight on COVID-19 Pandemic Effects

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