Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: Consistency is key

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Sep 22, 2008
Consistency is key

Michael Phelps was on television last night, basking in the glow of his amazing Olympic performance. The interviewer asked him about his plans for the immediate future and then posed what I thought was a remarkable question. The sportswriter asked Michael Phelps what he thought was the secret of his phenomenal success and total dominance of his sport. The swimmer thought for a second and said one word, "Consistency." He went on to explain that he brings the same unbridled passion to each event. He said that if there was a secret, it was achieving the same intensity each time, not losing focus, and not taking your eye off the ball.

Powerful advice! Consistency--what an admirable quality to strive for in our profession. Think about how powerful it would be if we were able to approach every case with the same intensity and focus. To be able to put everything else out of our mind except for taking that history, performing an Olympic-quality physical exam, and focusing on the most revealing diagnostic battery and selecting the most efficacious treatment scheme. I think that we can apply much of what Michael Phelps said to the daily activities of our work. Activities that, if we are not careful, can become incredibly tedious, repetitive, and mundane.

So wake up! Shake off the doldrums. Remember what it is that you are doing. Your clients have placed their trust in you for the care of their animals. Earn that trust by giving consistently excellent care. Take pride and joy in your interactions with your patients and their owners. Be the doctor you would like for your own animal or for yourself. Strive to keep focused, to provide consistently sound medical care, and to bring intensity into each exam room. You owe this to your patients and to yourself. You cannot do our profession half-hearted or half-way. Get involved again. Take a CE course, read your journals, or browse the most recent chat on VIN. You'll be surprised at the energy surge you'll feel. Get psyched! Be the ball! You will find that the stimulation and satisfaction that you first felt from our profession is still there. You just took your eye off the ball for a minute.

See you next week, Kev