Joining me all the way from the UK is Dr. Liz Barton, an accomplished vet with what she calls a ‘squiggly’ career path, leading her to co-found wellbeing and support communities such as WellVet and Vet Mums. Creating groups of extrinsic resilience has such an impact when people can turn to peers or their teams for support in their times of need.
Dr. Barton was managing well – happy and healthy – when she founded WellVet. She began to notice the burnout and other struggles the people around her in the vet community were facing. WellVet is a wellbeing toolkit to help those in the vet space get through the hard times and find support in their peers. They ask questions like, what drains your resources? What energizes them? And they help you find the balance.
Vet Mums is a Facebook group community that Dr. Barton created that allows veterinarians juggling family and careers to find a space for support. Many times parents have to learn the ‘hard way; there’s no manual or certification, but Vet Mums is a place parents can be vulnerable, share, and ask questions. Dr. Bartons explains that bonding over shared experiences with other moms can be cathartic and healing.
Dr. Barton has also participated in awarding vet wellbeing awards, which hold many ideas for what could work in your practice. Check them out online. And practice owners, be prepared to have a go at stuff even if it might not work, and then try, change, layer, and grow over time.
Taking care of yourself is the most important thing; it makes us better clinicians, colleagues, friends, family members…better people. Prioritize and invest in training and tools, and most importantly, talk about this together; there is no shame in wellbeing.