When Should You Act As The Jury?

Never. Because, as this real-life example illustrates, most judgments don’t involve open-and-shut cases.

Every practice has one—or two, or three, or four: A client who just doesn’t get it. This type of pet owner declines recommendations for flea and tick preventives because the dog only goes outside to go to the bathroom. Judging clients like this seems straightforward—but it isn’t. Take this true case:

A client brought in her dog that had been holding its eye shut for two to three weeks. The client didn’t realize this almost always indicates pain. It would’ve been easy for the clinic team to say, “How could she be so stupid, leaving her poor dog in pain for so long?” Instead, they accepted the possibility that they hadn’t properly educated this client about how animals express pain.

Who should be blamed in this situation? No one. The client and veterinary team both learned a valuable lesson and they’ll all be better off because of it. The next time you and your team members feel the urge to judge, resist it. Then turn the spotlight on yourselves to see if there’s room for improvement.

This article was originally published by First Line and posted on DVM360. You can read it here.