STOP the Mass Exodus-Courageous Conversations

January 15, 2020

Veterinary team members leave the profession, frequently. I want to stop the exodus of veterinary team members leaving the veterinary community because of their inability to have courageous, uncomfortable conversations!

Facing Courageous Conversations; How personal Values can help.

Values support Courageous Conversations

We are so proud of you defining your values! (Refer to previous Blog Defining Personal Values) Remember to share them on Veterinary Teams Living Well. There is still time…

Whether you are in management, providing veterinary patient care or engaging with clients, you have professional values guiding your career. Your core beliefs were created as early as your childhood, during your informative years. Your beliefs may change through the years, but for the most part they are cemented in your personality (we have an article on this topic! Improving Your Emotional Intelligence). Now that you have defined your values, how can the statement help you in your career?

Consider how many times you may shy away from a difficult, uncomfortable conversation. What conversations are you avoiding, right now? If you can muster it, write out a list.

We know veterinary team members tend to avoid tough conversations because our Courageous Conversations Workshop is one of the most requested. We feel when team members are guided by their values, they may step into a courageous conversation more often. Dare we go so far as saying veterinary team members who have the confidence to step into courageous conversations will stay in the veterinary community longer?

When I was much younger, in my late twenties, I found myself facing a difficult conversation with my boss, the veterinary owner. At the time, we did not keep track of our work-hours and I was frequently working more than 40 hours a week. My husband at the time suggested I track my hours to identify my overtime hours.  So, I did. Then I sat down with my boss and asked to get paid for the overtime. Basically, he answered, “This is the way we have always done it.” I was not satisfied and stayed on my quest to be appreciated, valued and properly compensated.

I enjoyed working at this veterinary hospital and simply wanted to be paid accordingly. I needed to be appreciated and valued for my time. I imagine a lot of you are shaking your head in agreement and have/are in a similar situation. I stayed vigilant and sought counsel from the Colorado State Bar. Upon explaining the situation described above, I received a letter supporting me in my request for overtime compensation.

The point is, this was a hugely uncomfortable conversation, yet a dialog that had to occur between me and my boss, or I was going to leave.

I know there are veterinary team members considering leaving the veterinary community because of their inability to express their needs. It is easier for them to leave than to initiate the difficult conversation.

I want to stop the exodus of veterinary team members leaving the veterinary community because of their inability to have a courageous, uncomfortable conversation! Yes, I believe veterinary managers can do a better job of creating a place of Psychological Safety AND I believe veterinary team members can do a better job of facing tough conversations. It is a two-way street.

The reason why I chose to face this conversation is because of my values.  I believed in my abilities and what I provided to the clinic, the patients and the pet parents.  In essence, I was asking to have my values appreciated and compensated accordingly. I imagine others in our industry have similar values.

I used these values to articulate my needs. And it paid off! I continued to work at the veterinary hospital I loved.

You may feel it is time to fully define your values, vision and mission to create the career that is rewarding, full of passion and reward. We are confident you will be inspired by the guidance you are given in defining the powerful statements.

We wish for you a rewarding and sustainable career in veterinary medicine, supporting you in reaching your highest potential.

Yours in Courageous Conversations, Rebecca Rose, CVT, Certified Career Coach


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