Of Vets and Paediatricians

giphyI’ve heard it said, by those ignorant the joys of working in paediatrics, that our chosen speciality is “a bit like veterinary medicine”. Presumably this is a dig at both parties – at paediatricians because our patients couldn’t possible give us a history, could they? And also at vets because, well, their patients really can’t give a history either.  

At a recent meeting of the BMJPublishing group’s editors I had good conversations with a number of the vet editors.  And, because I look after the most practical bit of the ADC group, I slipped away with a copy of their most practical edition, In Practice.  Which is how, in a quiet few minutes on a recent Sunday morning I came to be browsing the January 2015 edition.

And what an interesting read.  I hadn’t expected to get anything more than some thought about how to develop the journal from, but in this one issue I really enjoyed three pieces which hugely overlap with E&P.

There was a piece in a section on Practice Management which addressed familiar issues on how to build resilience – creating reserves which will support you in of challenges and sadness.

There was a fascinating ethics piece about the complexity of needing to work with – and thus remain the vet of – the farmer who wants for a cow to survive although it is, presumably, suffering.  It brought to my mind the fact that a great deal of my time is spent working with families and trying to get them to see that death will happen. Of course, the option of making death happen is never open to me, although limitation of care because of futility definitely is.

Then lastly, in a section called “A practitioner ponders”, there’s a vivid example of how our safe behaviours can be leadership challenges.  Apparently being an equine vet is one of the most hazardous civilian jobs in the UK, and yet convincing folk to wear appropriate protection in risky scenarios is very difficult.  It reminded me of similar experiences trying to persuade people to always wear gloves while taking blood.

From now on, then, I’ll take the comparison with vets as a compliment.

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