We’ve all been in that position. A patient comes in, and the worried owners trust you to be able to work out what’s wrong, and you think you can, so you confidently order the tests, and the owners happily pay, trusting that you will be able to provide them with the answers for their poorly pet.
A few days or a week later and the results come back: nothing to show.
This is a situation that all of us will find ourselves in at some point, and it’s very easy to worry that you’ve just spent a lot of the owner’s money for no answers, but this is not the way to think.
It’s time to change your mental positioning.
The horribly corporate sounding phrase “managing expectations” actually does work here in this scenario. Before you go about ordering the tests, speak with the owners and let them know why you feel the tests are important and what you hope to gain from running them.
The key here is to be honest with your clients, let them know that the tests you need to run an important both because of the possibility that you may find something, and because running the tests will allow you to rule things out if it does come back as clear.
This kind of approach gives the client the ultimate power of knowing all of the possible outcomes and lets them make the decision to go ahead under the full knowledge that you may not find the answer directly.
This kind of vet and client relationship is empowering for both of you, as it takes away your fear of charging for something that ‘wasn’t needed’ and it allows your clients to feel as if you have treated them as your equal, by giving them all of the facts in an open and honest way.
Nothing is Nothing
When you do receive the results and find that they were inconclusive or they show that nothing you tested for is the clause of the issues, don’t immediately worry that your test was a waste of time (and money).
The most important thing to remember about testing is that you are hoping to find out what is wrong, but in doing that you also find out what isn’t wrong.
When you get results back that don’t show a positive result for what you were expecting, what they do show you is what you can now eliminate from your investigations.
This kind of diagnostics is important for ruling at other issues just as much as it is for letting you know what is wrong with the patient, and more often than not, ruling things out will lead to that unexpected diagnoses quicker than guessing or looking at erratic symptoms alone.
Diagnostics can sometimes feel like a huge puzzle with many missing pieces, but when we approach things logically, and we keep our clients informed at every step, we eliminate the self-doubt that can so often get in the way of good thinking.