Caring for veterinary patients starts with caring for myself

Caring for veterinary patients starts with caring for myself

When we take the oath to prevent suffering, we make that oath to ourselves as well.
Jan 31, 2018

Editors’ note: Scislowicz has officially become the first veterinary technician named to the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) board! Check out more of her work here or meet her in person at Fetch dvm360 conference.

The author with her family, hunting for rocks. You don’t need to share my love of travel, my reading habit—or my love of cats (dog people, lookin’ at you). One thing I do think that we all should share is a dedication to self-care. After all, we make sure our patients are happy and healthy—shouldn’t we check up on ourselves as well?The family includes three cats.

Caring for hoomins 

What I wish someone had taught me in vet tech school? Self-care in the veterinary field and the importance of soft skill development. We work in very small groups in this field and undergo enormous amounts of stress, and these factors can lead to tension and emotional exhaustion. I think hospital management courses should discuss emotional intelligence and ways to maintain a positive team dynamic within our hospitals.

When it comes to personal hobbies, I force myself to make time to read before bed—those 30 minutes to an hour make my life so much more stress-free! Also, I always have a few books at the ready wherever I go … you can never have enough, in my opinion.

A favorite pastime.

Push yourself and know your limits

If there was a career tip I wish I’d learned sooner, it would be to set goals and push myself, but also to be careful not to overwork and fizzle out. It’s really important to do periodic self-check-ins to see if we are where we want to be at this chapter of life—both professionally and personally.

Scislowicz loves to travel and explore new places.

To avoid the fizzle, inspiration is key. I become highly inspired after learning something new—whether it be through a conference, a fascinating article or the people I surround myself with every day. I like finding new approaches to daily tasks. I also get pumped when I think about where I want to be in the future—I think ahead six months, one year and five years, and then I come up with a plan to make it happen.

Scislowicz, and her husband, Justin, exploring Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

Self-care can be efficient 

When I've been on the road for work all day, I always try to allow myself to have the next day in the office for catchup, versus cramming in travel days back to back. I’ll also sometimes work from home so I can get in some high-quality uninterrupted focus time.

My bottom line advice to colleagues? No matter how you do it or what works best for you, always push yourself to new heights—without pushing yourself too far. That veterinary patient’s care starts with the knowledge that you’re already taken care of.