2020 has been a lesson in rituals, creating space and finding presence. It has presented
unforeseen challenges and fatalities, but it has also given us a tremendous opportunity to slow down, pause and do some serious thinking around our profession, our commitment to do things we care deeply about, and what makes our profession resilient and adaptable. Here are just a few of our favorite things from 2020.
1. The year of radical self-care. We all know how crucial it is for veterinary team members to be able to a lot for time for their own personal, emotional and financial wellbeing. This year has allowed us to delve deeper into take more actionable items to ensure we are taking care of ourselves. I personally have become very protective of particular places in my house, like my home office, which I’ve outfitted with plants, pleasant aromas and of course at least one dachshund near me. This has allowed me to do deep work, be the best leader I can be and provides a boundary for me when I “leave my office” to decompress and mediate when I am “out of the office”. I ensure that I start my day with a serious workout, no matter how tired I am, how dark and cold it is outside, or how many tasks I have ahead of me for the day lined up. Because of the words from our wonderful colleague, Dr. Betsy Charles, “keep moving”, I do exactly that. Move, exercise and breathe. One day at a time.
2. The year of change—diversity and inclusion. Although our veterinary profession still has a ways to go with this, we have come so far within the past year with discussing the lack of diversity in our profession. We still have a lot of work to do including equal pay for men and women, celebrating our colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community and supporting working mothers in veterinary medicine. We also have work to do in understanding veterinarians and support staff with their disabilities. This year has brought out fantastic conversations on all of these matters and we look forward to creating a greater platform on them in 2021.
3. The year of patience & patients. No one knew a pandemic would flip the world and our profession upside down. People yearn for and want to experience the incredible human bond. Pet adoption rate has been at record levels. Shelters have been incredibly cleared out with the help of fantastic team members. With the influx of pet adoption and pet parents being home more to noticy signs of illness in their pets, our veterinary hospitals have been BUSY. Most pet parents have learned to be a little more patient to our essential healthcare professionals. On the flip side, veterinarians and support team members have had to learn how to adapt and communicate to pet parents with curbside checkin. We have had to implement additional resources or technology (telehealth, telecytology, teltriage) and other virtual care measures to help facitilate work flow efficiency and ensure safety for both the health care team and pet parents.
4. The year of zoom rooms. I can’t remember the last time I had a video conference call prior to March 2020. It was either with a dial-in meeting number, text message or DM on social media. Although we may not have been able to visit our friends and family the way wanted to this year, we have had the great opportunity in video chatting with them and getting a peak into their homes and lives. We have developed deeper and meaningful relationships with friends and colleagues in the veterinary profession. Virtual cocktail hours and game nights with friends and former classmates have been a lot of fun.
Watching how incredibly close the veterinary students are on social media is a true testament to the comrodery we have. This year brought our profession together, globally. Virtual conferences have allowed our colleagues from all over the world experience top notch continuning education and personal development. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, almost any of these conferences we all have experienced this past year would have occurred. Although nothing beats seeing our colleagues in person, this was as close it could get and THEN some! I guarantee almost all of you have built some relationship or acquaintance with a colleague in another country. And if you have not, please do so. Their stories, expertise and advice is what this profession needs as we move towards creating a more diverse veterinary initiative.
5. The year Of One Heatlh. COVID-19 brought the the one health initiative front and center. Physicians have expressed interest in working with veterinarians, ecologists and microbiologists on a global initiative towards helping our planet out together.
6. The year of family. We all have our quarantine stories. We all know someone who has suffered from COVID-19 or who has died from it. This has been the year to put pause on the hustle and bustle of our day to day work life and realize how precious life is to all of us. Our family and furfamily are important to us. We have gained profound appreciation from “unplugging” from the technology and finding profound appreciation for mother nature and all of its glories. Creating memories with family is one of life’s greatest treasures. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but enjoy today with those that genuinly love us and cherish us.
On behalf of our Fetch dvm360® family, we want to wish you and your family a safe and joyous holiday season. Thank you to our readers, listeners, subscribers and followers for all your love, feedback and contributions. We are only as good as you make it to be. To our virtual fetch conference attendees, THANK YOU for attending and we look forward to seeing you again both virtually in February and May of 2021 along with in person in the latter half of 2021. And finally, to our Fetch faculty, veterinary student ambassadors, dvm360® editorial board members, veterinary students, key opinion leaders and sponsors, THANK YOU for all your knowledge, inspiration and support. 2020 has been an incredible year of collaboration with all of you and we are JUST getting started! May 2021 be a healthy New Year for all of you and we look forward to advancing our profession, together!