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The 4 Types of Advice you will Receive as a Veterinarian

A man receiving advice illustrated by a graphic

As a veterinarian, you will have to make many decisions throughout the day; what to recommend to the client, what task to make a priority, whether the patient really needs that operation, and more besides. At the same time, you have to navigate many relationships and manage expectations; of the client, your colleagues and the patient! 

What happens when we are struggling to make a decision? Perhaps you are going through a transitional period in your life, such as changing jobs, relocating or both. One of the best things you can do is reach out to your network for advice. 

Read on to discover the four types of advice you will receive as a veterinarian. Think about what type of advice motivates you, and what type of advice you give to others!

The Comforter

We all have a comforter in our lives. They are the ones you go to when you need that boost of serotonin, you just want to feel good about yourself and know that everything will be okay in the end. 

However crazy your pending decision may be – you are about to start a new business venture, you are considering specialising in something completely different – the comforter will support you. 

Comforters are often loyal, however, lack brutal honesty. Instead of suggesting that your new specialisation doesn’t play to your strengths, or that new business venture is totally nuts, they will stand there nodding like an excitable labrador. Go to the comforter if you need to switch on your positive thinking and receive a boost of motivation, but don’t expect them to point out the loopholes in your decision-making.

The Nudger

The nudger is slightly more honest than the comforter, but is still wary about hurting your feelings. Like the comforter, they are experts in positive reinforcement, but will tentatively nudge you in another direction or suggest other options.

The nudger in your life might be a parental figure. They are the ones that say, ‘I like that garish coat, but are you really going to wear that to your job interview?’ or ‘specialising in neurology would be great, but I thought you were interested in dentistry? Are you sure you are ready to commit to this?’.

Be prepared to answer their questions; the nudger is unlikely to state their opinions clearly. But, beneath all their enthusiasm you will find constructive suggestions.

The Slammer

When you meet a slammer, you’ll know about it. The slammer does not hold back, and states their opinion clearly – without filter. So brace yourself!

Sometimes we need a slammer in our lives. They are the ones who say ‘snap out of it!’ when we have been painfully toying with a decision for ages. Or, when we are moaning about our job, which unfortunately a lot of vets like to do, they will say ‘do something about it then!’.

Whilst the comforter is affirming, the slammer jolts us into action. Go to these guys if you want brutal honesty, not just a boost of serotonin. 

The Mentor

Veterinarians benefit hugely from receiving advice outside of their direct network of friends and family. Seek out a mentor, and they can give you the perfect blend of comforting, nudging and slamming when you need it, and according to your communication style. Sometimes it is best to reach outside of your network so you can get an objective and trustworthy opinion.

The type of advice you require depends on the type of decision you are making, and your personality type. If you are hyper-sensitive, a slammer probably won’t resonate. Similarly, if you are making a life-changing and potentially high-risk decision, a comforter will be unlikely to make objections clear. Finally, if you lack emotional intelligence, you may not be able to decipher exactly what the nudger is trying to say, and become confused by their ‘mixed messages’. 

Want to build a happy and successful career in veterinary medicine? Why not check out our twelve-module, 'So You're a Vet... Now What?' course and start your career on the right track:

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