Rising to the challenge while living our Oath

Published on December 28, 2021
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Dr. José Arce

         PRESIDENT'S COLUMN

    Dr. José Arce

As another extraordinary year draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the AVMA to thank all veterinary professionals and AVMA members for the exemplary work you have done under very challenging circumstances.

I know how hard you’re working, and your AVMA volunteer leadership feels it, too. 

There is no doubt that these remain difficult times for us, both professionally and personally. We all continue to weather a storm brought on by COVID-19 that has gone on for far too long.

Through it all, you have gone above and beyond in serving patients and clients. This desire to fulfill your responsibilities and live by the Veterinarian’s Oath has been impacted by workplace challenges, staffing issues, and appointment backlogs, all of which have been exacerbated by adjustments you have made due to COVID to keep everyone safe. 

I know how hard you’re working, and your AVMA volunteer leadership feels it, too. 

Adjusting and thriving in difficult times

I am a practicing veterinarian in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I, like you, have faced difficult days and have had to adjust—sometimes beyond my comfort level—to just get the job done. 

But it’s about more than just getting the job done, isn’t it? It’s about feeling good about what we do; about doing our utmost to serve those who rely on us; about living the Oath, and not just having it hang on the wall in a picture frame.

Focus on wellbeing

Your wellbeing also may have been tested. That’s why the AVMA remains dedicated to continuing to provide resources that help. I encourage you to visit avma.org/Wellbeing for resources that support personal and professional wellbeing. 

I also want to tell you about a comprehensive new study being conducted by Brakke Consulting in collaboration with AVMA, which takes a close look at the impact of the pandemic and resulting workplace changes on veterinary wellbeing and mental health. The goal is to identify techniques and behaviors that can improve wellbeing and reduce burnout. The study was generously underwritten by Merck Animal Health, and results will be announced at VMX in Orlando in January. 

Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in our profession

We are diverse and unique individuals shaped by our own life experiences and different cultures. It’s more important than ever that we create socially conscious educational and work environments, as well as remove barriers to equity and inclusion in the profession. 

AVMA’s collaborative work through the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession will help drive change that enhances diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession. The commission is doing great work.

In addition, the AVMA Board of Directors has had extensive conversations about a strategic framework plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is considering several initiatives to include in the 2022 overall AVMA strategic plan and budget. The aim is to help all veterinary professionals become better allies in support of equitable treatment for all.

Continuing to progress in the pandemic

I wish you the happiest and healthiest 2022, and I look forward to achieving even more together for our profession in the year ahead.

It’s great that many of us have once again been able to meet in person at meetings and events. These opportunities have grown as those of us who are able have been vaccinated against the virus, and as we continue to take protective precautions to ensure that we gather safely. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the way we live, the way we interact with others, and the way we practice veterinary medicine. While we don’t know what the future may bring, veterinarians’ commitment to a better tomorrow is unquestioned and certain. 

I wish you the happiest and healthiest 2022, and I look forward to achieving even more together for our profession in the year ahead.
 

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