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Fall 2020,

Strength in Numbers

‘‘Connecting with empathetic and understanding colleagues reminds us that we are in this together.’’

Kara M. BurnsMS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Strength in Numbers
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As we enter the fall of 2020, we recognize that SARS-CoV-2 has changed our world. We are coming to grips with the “new normal” and what that means, both in our everyday lives and in our profession. Facemasks are the norm, as are curbside check-ins. Our current reality is rising COVID-19 case numbers, frustration and anxiety, and stressed clients. Added to this is another pandemic—that of systemic racism. The systems in place that create and sustain racial inequality in nearly every aspect of life for people of color must end now. This year has certainly tested everyone’s spirit. But, as I have said before, I am so proud to be in the veterinary profession, as the resilience of my colleagues—each of you reading this—is awe-inspiring.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines resilience as “an ability to adjust easily to or recover from misfortune or change.” I do not know how easy or difficult it has been for anyone to adjust to the current circumstances happening in our world, but I do recognize that the veterinary profession has changed protocols based on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have also seen many associations and organizations within veterinary medicine embrace and support an end to the racial inequality and injustice pervasive in our country.

Psychologists define resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.” As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficulties, it also provides profound personal growth.

Many pet owners have adapted by adopting pets from shelters. What a wonderful way to deal with the challenges of 2020. Shelter medicine is an extremely important topic and the CE article in this issue shines a light on some of the unique challenges facing our fellow veterinary nurses who work in shelter medicine. Again, these colleagues are resilient!

This has been an extremely painful and difficult year, but the resilience each of you has shown has helped you get through difficult circumstances and empowered you to grow and even improve your life along the way. Remember to celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week, October 11–17. You deserve a celebration of your resilience, perseverance, and compassion. Reach out to one another and connect. Connecting with empathetic and understanding colleagues reminds us that we are in this together. Each and every one of you makes a difference every day regardless of what area of veterinary medicine you practice. You make a difference in the lives of your patients, in the lives of your clients, in the lives of your friends and colleagues, and in the lives of those you hold most dear.

Thank you for all you do and for the difference you make! And remember to be kind to one another.

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