The Resilience of the Veterinary Profession Amid a Global Pandemic – Veterinarian Dr. Tamara Chastain

At the beginning of 2020, if you had described to me the adjustments, we would have to make in our routine come March and April, I would have looked at you in disbelief.  If you are anything like me, phrases like “curbside patient care, flattening the curve, or social distancing” might not have meant a whole lot.  All of us undoubtedly knew, or at some point surely learned in school, that a pandemic like this was plausible.  However, I’m not convinced we could have ever anticipated how it would touch each of us personally in the way that it has.  This has admittedly been a tough couple of months already, and everyone is exhausted.  We are all still wondering what things will really look like when the dust settles and the elusive “new normal” starts to show its face.

Despite the long days and challenges that have come our way, I have considerable hope in our future.  I am proud to be a member of one of the greatest professions.  Veterinarians and veterinary staff are resilient.  We are creative and adaptive.  Our training and experiences in our day-to-day activities have prepared us for bigger challenges such as the one we are facing.  Veterinary professionals have always been ready with a “plan B” for when “plan A” is not an option.  The same creativity and ingenuity that helps us get through a day of appointments, is right there in our skillset to help us endure and thrive in times like the present.  We are problem solvers by nature and already know how to think outside the box.  This is how we have been able to adapt when our PPE was in short supply, or when we were not certain we would be able to get the anesthetic drugs we are accustomed to using.  This capability is what has allowed us to completely upend our regular practice flow and transition to curbside patient care.

I have witnessed people work together in a big way to “get the job done.”  Our state veterinary medical association has stepped up to provide support, resources, and encouragement to our members.  Veterinarians and veterinary staff have reached out to one another to assist in problem-solving or just lend an empathetic ear.  Right here in my own office, my staff has put in 110% to continue to provide patient care and client service in an entirely different process than what they are accustomed to.  So, when things get tough, look at what we have already been able to accomplish.  Remember we have the tools within us and the network of talented people around us to face whatever might come our way.