culture

How Practices Can Better Support Mothers in Vet Med

5 min read
FYI: This article is part of the veterinary culture manifesto — a set of guiding principles to create better culture in vet med.
Read & sign the veterinary culture manifesto here.
0%
100%

Mothers are 40% more likely than fathers to report that child care issues harmed their careers. With a workforce that’s 62% women — we need to make sure we’re supporting and uplifting mothers in our profession.

So, how can we do that better? And, what are some of the specific challenges mothers face in our field?

We teamed up with Bond Vet to interview some of their employees who are either expecting or current moms to talk all about what vet med can do to better support mothers. 

Rasheeda Persue

(Senior Medical Operations Associate, Expecting Mother)

What challenges do moms often face in veterinary medicine?

The hardest challenge I have faced being an expectant parent is trying to balance my personal goals and needs with my professional goals. Also, my ability to effectively prioritize and manage my time has pretty much gone out the window. 

I (quickly) learned that you will never feel fully prepared for the journey that is motherhood — and that is perfectly okay! Just take it day by day. Be kind to yourself, always. You are allowed to misstep; you will constantly adapt, and you will constantly reinvent yourself. Give yourself some grace. 

There are a few obvious challenges given the capacity in which veterinary professionals work:

  1. Access to a safe work environment while pregnant ( i.e. potential exposure to radiation, noxious anesthetic gases, etc.)
  2. Access to affordable health care
  3. Substantial time and adequate compensation during maternity leave

What can practices do to better support mothers in vet med?

I would love to see more employer-sponsored child care packages in the veterinary industry, whether that includes onsite childcare, child care stipends, or funded child care services. Flexible work schedules are also really important.

Bond Vet has been ultra accommodating as I navigated my first pregnancy. From remote work opportunities to curated projects that have allowed for high impact and maximum engagement on my end. In addition, Bond Vet's healthcare coverage and generous maternity leave benefits will allow me the time and the resources to care for myself and my newborn.

Those factors truly solidified my overall work satisfaction, and supported my needs as a soon-to-be parent.

Dr. Simone McLaughlin

(Veterinarian, Mother of 2) 

What challenges do moms often face in veterinary medicine?

In Veterinary medicine, moms often face mental health challenges. The field takes a huge toll on our mental health, and I think that can be escalated with veterinarian moms. Some of us are without partners doing it all by ourselves, or still breastfeeding and there’s no time to pump in between appointments, or your kid is sick overnight and you have to scramble to find someone to watch him the next morning, or you’re just exhausted from it all!

One thing I’ve learned along my motherhood journey is patience. It’s a continuous learning process, and my kids are always helping to teach me that. It has also helped me in my career and my personal relationships. 

The best advice I have for new moms is to be kind to yourself. I remember the guilt of not being home mixed with the guilt of not being at work, and thinking I was failing at both jobs. We as moms are too hard on ourselves, probably as women generally, and we shouldn’t forget about how important self-love is.

What can practices do to better support mothers in vet med?

To support mothers in veterinary medicine, practices can support mothers outside the clinic as well as in the clinic. 

The thing that parents have much less of in comparison to others is time. Our time is so valuable, time with our kids and time to ourselves. The long work weeks and weekends we often put in take us away from our family and that can be challenging to get back. 

At Bond Vet, I make my own schedule, so I can plan ahead around birthday parties, school holidays, or family events. There is also more PTO time allocated than in previous jobs!

Melissa Evans, LVT, CVT, VTS(ECC)

(Operations Manager VTS - HQ, Mother of 1)

What challenges do moms often face in veterinary medicine?

As a mom, it’s hard finding time for myself/work/relationships. You sometimes feel guilty about not being with your child. There is no one right way to be a mom, what works for you may not work for someone else. We are all just doing our best and we should always support each other. One of the biggest challenges in the veterinary field, in general, can be the lack of flexibility.

What can practices do to better support mothers in vet med?

I think it’s important for clinics to be more understanding about the needs of moms, and allow for flexible schedules. Bond is extremely understanding about the need to be available to your family. They allow for flexibility and know that family has to come before work!

Rayssa

(Nurse, Kips Bay, Mother of 2)

What challenges do moms often face in veterinary medicine?

One difficult part about being a mom is reassuring myself that I am doing a good job and that not being perfect is ok! Weaning breastfeeding is also very difficult. 

I would advise all mothers and expecting mothers to be patient, caring, and take time to care for themselves. You need to be well first before caring for someone else!

What can practices do to better support mothers in vet med?

In my prior experience, we often don't have enough time to be home with our little ones. Pay is also a very big factor. Returning to work often means very costly childcare. Support your employees, especially the ones who might have little ones at home

Bond has been nothing but amazing to me, especially with my schedule and making sure my work life is balanced so I come home stress-free and can be the best mom I can be!

Want to better support mothers in your veterinary practice?

Heed the advice above! 

Additionally, here are some resources for offering exceptional great benefits:

Are you a veterinary worker in need of better benefits?

Before you’re expecting, look into maternity leave policies and what your practice does to support mothers. 

If they don’t have an answer, or the benefits aren’t up to what you need, we can help!

Join hound and see benefits & pay range before even applying to jobs. (And you may see some Bond Vet opportunities on there, too 😉)

P.S: Thank you to all the mothers out there for being the true heroes of our society. 🤗