In this VETgirl online veterinary continuing education blog, Amy Newfield, CVT, VTS (ECC) reviews what Star Wars has taught her about veterinary medicine.

What Star Wars Has Taught Me About Veterinary Medicine, by Amy Newfield, CVT, VTS, VETgirl.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” — Darth Vader
Vader had it right. In order to be successful with some of our hardest cases and sickest pets we must have faith. We have to trust in our knowledge and skills, but we also need to have faith in our team’s knowledge and skills. Some of the best saves I’ve ever experienced are those I was the only person saying to a team of naysayers “he is going to get better.” Because I believed it, had faith in the medicine, it happened.

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
What a wonderful teaching. So often we focus on the cranky client or the fact we are short staffed. These negative thoughts become your reality. It’s important to remember why we all went into veterinary medicine; because we wanted to help pets and practice excellent veterinary medicine. If we focus our attention to the amazing medicine, the adorable cat, the cute dog, the appreciative client our reality is a much happier one.

“You can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” — Shmi Skywalker
Change is scary, but in veterinary medicine it happens all the time. After 23 years in veterinary medicine, I have come comfortable with change and I wish when I started out I would’ve known that change is okay. The first time my very favorite veterinarian decided to leave the practice I was working in I thought the world was going to end. There was no way the practice would survive. I was wrong. Shmi Skywalker was right. You can’t stop change and change is okay and sometimes even welcomed.

“In my experience there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Yes, Obi-Wan is very wise. There are many unexplained things in medicine, but luck is not one of those things. Your accomplishments are not happenstance. The pet was saved because of the team. Own your success and the team’s success.

“Sometimes we must let go of our pride and do what is requested of us.” — Anakin Skywalker
I’m not much of a fan of Anakin either, but he has a point. There is not place for pride in veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine is teamwork and there are many different ways to treat the disease or illness. Being open minded and accepting others ideas, leaving pride aside, is always what is best for the pet and team.

What Star Wars taught me about veterinary medicine.

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

“Pass on what you have learned.” – Yoda
YES YODA! So many times, I hear “it’s not my job to train.” This is not only harmful to the person wanting to learn, but also harmful to the individual who refuses to train. Being closed off doesn’t make for a good teammate and is very detrimental to the team. It is everyone’s job to pass on what they have learned. I am still learning something new every day and I’m so grateful for all the Yodas in my life who have passed on their knowledge to me.

“All mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.” -Padme
It’s okay to be critiqued and if offering some words of advice ensure it comes from a place of kindness. Rather than beating oneself up over something someone says could have been done differently, thank them. They care enough to try to help you improve or show you a different way of accomplishing a task. So often when we are provided feedback we beat ourselves up and assume we are bad or wrong. Instead, embrace it. The person providing it likely just wanted to help.

“Someday you’re gonna be wrong” – Princess Leia
Leia is right. In fact, many days you’re going to be wrong and that’s okay! I’ve made mistakes and beaten myself up over those mistakes. The most important thing is I’ve learned from those mistakes and worked to ensure they don’t happen again and helped others avoid the same mistake. It’s okay to be wrong because we all are at some point.

And lastly the biggest lesson I’ve learned from Star Wars is how important a team is. Your veterinary family is your strange and wonderful second family. Look at all of the Star Wars teams over the nine franchise movies. How is it that the best team is one with a robot, droid, wookie, jedi and rebel fighter? They are all very different, but yet they all have a strength the other does not. Embrace the differences and learn each other strengths and you will become the best veterinary team there is.

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