What is an EAP and should I get one for my veterinary team?

by easyDVM

An employee assistance program (EAP) provides support for veterinary employees who are experiencing problems that affect their physical and mental health. Having an EAP can mean that your employees are happier and healthier than they would be without support, which leads to better job performance. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an EAP and explore your options for setting one up in your veterinary practice.

EAPs provide mental health counseling

One of the main forms of support provided by an EAP is mental health counseling. The EAP we use, which is provided by ESI Group, allows employees to benefit from one-on-one phone or face-to-face sessions with a counselor who has at least a master’s or PhD. The network includes more than 40,000 providers, which means that most employees can find a counselor close to their home or workplace. The ESI Group program also makes other resources available, including an online wellness center that can help employees manage their own mental health.

What problems can an EAP help with?

An EAP can help employees with a range of personal problems that affect their physical and mental well-being. Veterinary employees often struggle with stress and anxiety, which counselors are trained to help them overcome. Counselors can also help employees overcome the loss of a loved one, problems with substance abuse or eating disorders, workplace difficulties, depression and relationship issues. The EAP can also provide help with personal, financial and legal issues; for example, counselors can provide advice about personal debt restructuring and management.

Information resource benefits of an EAP

The benefits of an EAP are not limited to one-to-one counseling sessions for employees with urgent needs. An EAP provides additional resources to help employees manage their health, finances and personal lives. For example, employees can access discounts on nutrition, fitness and weight loss services, as well as valuable information about managing financial issues. There are even online training resources to help employees with their personal growth.

How to use an EAP

When you have an employee who requires support, all you need to do is call your EAP provider. You can call TotalCare EAP toll free at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. The service provider will find the right counselor to help your employee work through their problems. You can relax, knowing that your employees are getting the support they need. You can also direct your employees to information resources that can help them overcome legal, financial, lifestyle and personal issues that they are currently struggling to manage.

How much does an EAP cost?

For our employee assistance program provided by ESI Group, we pay a capped amount for up to 50 employees per year. This covers employees for support including counseling, wellness benefits and personal development benefits. The cost of the program is a great investment in your business, as a good EAP can help employees to work through their mental health issues or personal problems and return to work feeling stronger and more capable. When all your employees are able to perform at their best, your veterinary practice can provide better care to customers and therefore grow as a successful business. Every veterinary practice should consider getting an EAP to support their employees.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

How to Manage Stress as a Veterinarian

by easyDVM

Stress is a problem that affects many veterinarians. To some extent, stress is inevitable when your profession involves working with critically ill animals, some of whom may ultimately need to be put to sleep. However, there are several things you can do to reduce the emotional toll that your job takes on your life.

Know What Your Responsibilities Are (And What They Are Not!)

Stress can arise when you feel responsible for making decisions that could mean life or death for other people’s beloved pets. As a veterinarian, it is important to be able to take a step back from the cases you are involved in treating. You are a valuable provider of knowledge and advice about animal care, but ultimately pet owners are responsible for making decisions about their own animals.

Similarly, you are not responsible for managing your clients’ finances or helping them work out how they can afford to treat their pets. In fact, you can delegate the task of discussing fees and payment options to one of the lay staff at your veterinary practice, rather than taking on this duty yourself. By focusing on the core part of your job — using your skills and experience to diagnose and treat sick pets — you can reduce the amount of stress you feel at work.

Make Time for Stress Management

Taking regular breaks during the day can help you to regain focus and bring your stress levels under control. Make time between client appointments to eat a healthy lunch, so you don’t have to battle low blood sugar or hunger during the afternoon. Along with your scheduled breaks, remember that it is also¬†okay to take five minutes away from your duties when the pressure is too much. Spend this time taking a quick walk around the block to clear your head, or breathe deeply to calm your body in preparation for your next appointment.

Reduce Stress Outside of Work

Taking care of your mental and physical health outside of your job can have a big impact on how stressed you feel during the working day. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, your diet, exercise, and sleep habits can have a big impact on physical and mental well-being. Outside of work, manage your stress by trying different activities until you find something you enjoy doing as a form of regular exercise.

Learn to Manage Client Criticism

Negative feedback from clients is something all vets have to deal with. You are only human, which means you will make mistakes occasionally. Sometimes, pet owners may leave you negative feedback even when you did everything you could to help their pet. Recognize that this can be some people’s way of dealing with their grief over losing a beloved animal and that it is not necessarily your fault.

When you receive feedback that upsets you, either via an online review, from your boss, or directly from a client, take a few minutes to calm down by taking a short walk or breathing deeply, and then carry on with your day. When the initial sting of receiving criticism has faded, you can reflect on the feedback, assess whether it is fair, and decide whether you need to do anything to serve your clients better in the future.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.