Every pet and pet-parent has their own unique personality. While some of us are easy going and chatty, others are shy and quiet, and still others are loud and assertive. These different personality traits are also equally well distributed amongst veterinarians. So, if personalities differ, what exactly constitutes a great bedside manner when it comes to veterinary care?
Qualities Of a Great Bedside Manner
When it comes to veterinary care, good bedside manner means different things to different pet-parents. Some of us expect chit-chat while others of us prefer a warm but straight-to-the-point approach from our veterinary professionals. As such, finding the ideal vet for you and your pet may take a little time, but when you find that just-right bedside manner...you'll know it!
Here are a few qualities we feel are fundamental for a good veterinary bedside manner:
A Warm Greeting
Regardless of the reason for your visit, a vet with a good bedside manner will take the time to introduce themselves (if you haven't met already), greeting you and your pet with a warm welcome and a smile.
When the time comes to explain the reason for your visit, your vet should listen carefully, take notes, and ask follow-on questions. Pet-parents know their fur-babies best and a good vet understands that when a pet-parent expresses concern about an unusual behavior or symptom, it is something important to attend to.
Not Rushing Through Appointments
You are paying for an appointment with a professional, so it's fair and reasonable to expect not to be rushed. A vet with a good bedside manner will utilize the full amount time allotted to your appointment to learn as much as possible about the animal. During a routine wellness exam your vet should take the time to make recommendations regarding preventive care, discuss your pet's nutritional needs, and answer questions you may have.
While some visits to the vet clinic will be for routine exams and immunizations, others will be heartbreaking appointments regarding injuries and illnesses. A vet with a good bedside manner will readily express empathy and compassion while remaining professional, and providing pet-parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their animal's medical care.
Providing Clear Information
A vet with a good bedside manner will review your pet's health condition with you, then clearly (in language you understand) and compassionately explain any points of concern and the treatment options available.
While it may not sound like good bedside manner, when discussing treatment options it will also be necessary to discuss cost. Treatment and cost go hand in hand, and you may not always be able to afford the treatment being recommended. So, where does bedside manner come into the conversation?
By listening, not rushing, and showing empathy, your vet can have a calm discussion with you about the treatment your pet needs and what you can afford. Naturally you will be emotional throughout this conversation, and you may not want to hear what the vet has to say, but try to keep in mind that these discussions are a necessary part of veterinary care. It is also important to understand that when your vet is deciding the best treatment for your pet, they are not only following medical guidelines but ethical guidelines too. Your vet wants the very best for your pet, and for you.