In today’s VETgirl online veterinary continuing education blog, we’ll review the good things that are actually coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affecting veterinary medicine. While this pandemic has been devastating due to the loss of life, effects on economy, and oh so much more, there are some positive things come out of it.

1. Essential employees. Let’s admit it. We veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, CSR, and veterinary staff haven’t always felt essential. But damn it, we save lives! Whether it’s by saving that trauma patient to vaccinating to prevent infectious disease to de-sexing to prevent pet overpopulation to taking care of the conservation of endangered species at a zoo to caring for our food source to ensuring the safety of our four-legged (not including those that slither, swim, fly, etc.) to two-legged, it’s nice to know that now the government, state, and our pet owners realize that we are essential. Thank you for what you do.

2. Appreciation for human health care professionals. You’ve seen the Italians clapping and singing to their medical professionals. To the human nurses getting send offs. To emergency physicians recovering themselves from COVID19. To all the human health care professionals putting their lives and their family at risk of exposure of COVID-19, thank you. We’ve always appreciated you as medical professionals, but it’s so gratifying to see the rest of the world appreciate you as well. It’s also been amazing to see human medical professionals appreciate their emergency physicians, nurses and staff as much too. May this bring down the malpractice rate in the future as more people appreciate you!

3. Working from home. The majority of Fortune 500 companies moved their employees to working from home. My husband, who commutes 5 days a week to downtown Minneapolis, spends 90 minutes a day taking public transportation, which works out to be almost 400 hours a year. That’s about 45 days a year of just transportation time. By being able to work from home for the past 2+ months, he’s found that he’s much more efficient working from home – and that’s not including the commuting time and the time spent helping me wrangle of a 3.5-year-old. I’m hoping companies realize the benefit of working from home – not only from a time-saving viewpoint, efficiency viewpoint, environmental/carbon footprint aspect, but also for better work-life balance.

4. The environmental impact. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there appears to be a significant benefit on the environment. There’s been less traffic, less pollution and less smog. Let’s continue this trend.

5. More quality time with our 2-legged and 4-legged kids. As a part-time stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I’ve always been grateful to be able to work 1-2 days a week from home. With COVID-19, we’re stuck 24/7 with our kids, and it’s really, really hard. Trying to homeschool your kids, get them physical exercise, and not implode is hard. But being that our kid is our one-and-only thanks to infertility, it’s really made me value the quality time with my kid. Because before you know it, he’ll be in school from 8-3 everyday, and I’ll never get that time back. So enjoy this time. It’s not your role to homeschool. Your kids will turn out ok. Just enjoy the ride.

6. Love for daycare providers and teachers. Can I get a shout out to the amazing daycare providers, grandparents, spouses, teachers, substitute teachers, and anyone who takes care of our kids during the normal work week? If this doesn’t make you want to hug your teacher (when it’s safe) and shower them with support and love, I don’t know what will. Here, some amazing bling you need to buy your teachers as a show of support once school is open (#ad):

A big a$ Amazon gift card

The best laminator out there

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Sugar Soap

Because now we’re all paranoid about stocking soap indefinitely and your kids have germs, yo.

No seriously, more gift cards, yo.

7. Your amazingly adaptable veterinary team. Having your staff go curbside, to learning how to implement new COVID-19 pandemic protocols right away to wearing masks and trying to find inventory (e.g., toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, PPE) to trying not to starve when staff snacks aren’t brought in… well, your staff are rock stars. Make sure you reward them when this is over. Here, some amazing bling you need to shower upon your staff once this sh*t is over.

8. Gratitude. COVID-19 taught me so much about gratitude… and not taking anything for granted. Even the little things in life. It gave me an appreciation for all things. Like going outside. And going to the zoo. And going to the children’s museum. And being able to hug someone. And being able to sit at a coffee shop. And being able to rally with your BFF or mom’s group. And being able to see your immediate family. And being able to see someone’s smile or read their lips when they aren’t covered behind masks. And being able to share community snacks at the vet clinic again.

9. Slowing down. If this pandemic taught me anything, it’s to slow down. Because life is more than trying to be at the top of your class. Or trying to earn the most pro-sal. Or trying to accomplish X, Y, and Z. It taught me to love those around me who I could have lost. It taught me to enjoy the ride. It taught me that it’s ok if VETgirl U 2020 is postposted to 2021. That it’s ok that all my business trips are cancelled for 9 months. Because that’s not what the important stuff in life is about.

10. Online veterinary CE. I mean, for real. When we created VETgirl 7 years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined how it’d be essential for providing CE in these unusual pandemic times. But Garret and I have already prided ourselves on making sure our VETgirl content is clinically relevant and practical. That it’s not a biased infomercial. That you’ll learn 1-2 tips from each webinar, podcast or video that will help you save a patient’s life. And we’re really grateful that you have all joined us for the ride. #KeepOnLearning

As we all try to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s try to be positive. We want to set an example to our children, partners, colleagues, teammates and neighbors as we survive this. It’ll be the hardest and most unusual thing that our generation will ever have to go through. As we shelter-at-home to be safe, take the time to think of the positive things from COVID-19. And let’s all grow from this together.

  1. Comment in nr 1: In the Netherlands we veterinarians were not listed as essential… i presume they just forgot us…. the large animal vets that worked in the food chain were indirectly called essential but our profession was not oncthe list itself…☹️

  2. Thank you for everything you do! Also, my kids also love “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go”!

  3. Thank you, Justine, for this beautifully thoughtful and introspective letter. Many heartfelt thanks to you, Garret, and the rest of your amazing team for all that you do every day. VETgirl is so much MORE than clinically-relevant CE; the climate that you inspire makes us all feel like family … Thank you!

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