Well, I’ve been a bit of a slacker with the blogging lately. Some of you know that I was out of town a couple of weeks ago. I spent all of the last couple of weeks getting caught up from that. If you’re wondering what I did the whole week I was gone, I am here to give you a little synopsis. We did spend several lovely days at Lake Tahoe, which are not the subject of this blog. The part of my trip that was most applicable to Utopia was the time that I spent at Wild West Veterinary Conference in Reno.
I went to a number of lectures while I was at the conference. Many of the lectures were related to Family Practice subjects: the association between human and animal abuse, introducing your pet and your baby, and a lecture on compassion fatigue. I also attended some sessions on stem cell therapy.
Aside from the lectures, I spent a number of hours working on the Family Practice Credential Course. What is this course, you ask? Well, this is a course that will soon be available for veterinarians, technicians and other para-professionals in the veterinary world. It will have an online component and an in-person component. This course will focus on the importance of practicing medicine with relationship in mind. We call it ‘relationship-centered veterinary care’. Why is this important? A client may have limitations that affect the way they can care for their pet. Some examples are arthritis that makes giving pills difficult, financial limitations, time limitations or inability to handle a pet (like a feral pet). All of these examples will potentially change the choice of medications that we use or how we use them. Relationship-centered care also intensely focuses on communication. In order for me, as the veterinarian, to discern the relationship of the pet with his humans, I have to listen to the client. In order for the client to understand a disease process or treatment plan, I have to clearly explain them and listen for questions. You get the idea.
I was fortunate enough to take the first Veterinary Family Practice Credential Course in 2009 at UC Davis. Changes in funding have made UC Davis unable to offer this course any longer. That’s where our group comes in. The Academy of Veterinary Family Practice, formed with the 15 original Credential recipients, is re-creating the course. We will cover topics such as nutrition, behavior and pain management (to name a few) from a Family Practice point of view. We will have in-person modules teach us how to communicate by using simulated clients. I thought that part sounded cheesy, but it was an incredible experience. This course is meant to be a foundation for further training in Veterinary Family Practice.
And that brings up my other point. Eventually, the Academy will establish criteria for Board Certification of Veterinary Family Practitioners. I hope to be one of the first specialists! We will begin by developing a specialty for veterinarians, then technicians and, finally, para-professionals. Ultimately, we can train veterinary teams to create the kind of environment that clients and patients desire—an environment where they are heard and included as a part of their pet’s examination and treatment plan. It’s a big job, but we have an excellent group dedicated to the task. And I am grateful to be a part of it.