April 18, 2018

Do we all see professionalism in the same light?

According to the CATALYST VetPC Poll this month, people see themselves as more professional than their co-workers. I wonder if everyone is saying this?

When asked how you view yourself verses how you view your co-workers, you ranked yourself more profession in all 10 questions.  Let’s look at a few of the more striking results.

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Question: Do you pick up trash you see on the floor?

Individuals responding = everyone answered “yes, I am a professional.” However, when asked, “Does your co-worker pick up trash?” roughly 40% of the respondents didn’t think their co-workers were professional about it.

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Question: Do you tell the truth, admit mistakes, and avoid being defensive?

Individuals responding = roughly 90% answered “yes, I am a professional.” When asked the same of the co-worker, the answer was roughly 60% of the respondents didn’t think their co-workers were professional.

Question: Do you avoid gossiping and spreading rumors?

Individuals responding = Again, the majority (90%) felt that “yes, I am a professional.” Yet, the shocking result was that roughly 70% felt their co-workers were gossips and spread rumors.

Do you see the irony? Yet it seems that this may be the case the majority of the time where it is easier to view others around us rather than looking at ourselves more critically.

Are we on the same page?

For the sake of getting everyone on the same page, let’s look at four major categories that contribute to professionalism.

Your Look

How you look is also how you feel. Thus, dress appropriately. Even if you wear scrubs, make sure they are clean, neat and well fitting. Another part of how you feel is your internal energy. This is fueled by good food, plenty of sleep and generally taking care of yourself.


Being competent in what you do is expected. However, being a true professional means doing the basics well and going beyond by building on your expertise. It’s also about having the proper tools to do your job. Be prepared for not only what you do, but what you may be asked to do.

Understand Self

“Know thyself” is more difficult than one initially imagines. Understanding your own strengths, limitations, interests and passions will enhance your self-confidence. In addition, basic self-awareness, self-regulation, accountability, honesty and integrity are all key components Continuing to grow in your personal and professional skill sets will increase your awareness and lead to increased self-confidence.

Understand Others

This is also known as Emotional Intelligence (EI) or the ability to sense the emotional needs of others. It’s about communicating well AND listening to others. Trust is enhanced through honoring your commitments and being courteous and respectful of others. In addition, part of being a professional is understanding and supporting the common goals of the hospital or facility.

According to the poll results, you already see yourself as professional. However, since you don’t view your co-workers in the same light, I challenge you to help increase the overall professionalism in your hospital. Consider designing a professional mantra with your veterinary team. What traits do you and your team feel are components of a professional? Identify four areas your team can embrace and improve upon.

The bottom line is that you all work together in the same facility. No matter your state of professionalism, it is the overall impression that people get each day that determines how the group looks as a whole.

Denise head shotHere’s to everyone’s professionalism!

Denise Mikita, MS, CVT