Q: We love our longtime veterinarian, but we know he’s going to retire soon. He’s recently hired a young vet, and unfortunately I can’t seem to get past the fact that she’s so young. I know it’s wrong to pre-judge her, but isn’t experience what everyone wants in a doctor?
A: You’re right to some extent, of course. The most seasoned veterinarians out there have seen it all, and they’ve learned from their experiences. They bring a lot to the exam room table each time they see your pet. The newly minted shouldn’t be underestimated, however, as this demographic offers the boundless exuberance of the uninitiated along with what I like to call the “fresh computer factor.”
To help illustrate the differences between Millennials and Boomers, consider how each approaches a smartphone app: The Millennial’s brain is wired to use every mental and manual tool available –– efficiently. The Boomers may still get the job done, perhaps even more effectively for their use of experiential touchstones, but the initiative to accomplish the task may not be there.
So what does that mean for your choice of veterinarians? Should you go for older, wiser and more experienced? Or should you go for the drive, energy and speed of youth?
Clearly, there are pros and cons to each, and much of your decision-making in this regard may be irrelevant. After all, you may find that your veterinarian of choice has nothing to do with age, but rather with the degree of trust you’ve developed over the years or, indeed, even after just one visit.
Nonetheless, I do find that, as someone who works in a practice with two members of the so called “old guard,” I’ve had cause to witness that many veterinary clients appear to have a clear preference for one generation of veterinarian over the other.
And while I’ve observed that veterinary clients tend to gravitate towards veterinarians of their own generation, it’s nonetheless worth noting that many of my older clients are pleasantly surprised when they deal with a younger veterinarian for the first time –– and vice versa.
In fact, I’ve come to believe that both kinds of veterinarians (if they must be divided into “young” or “old”) offer such potentially different benefits and perspectives that veterinary clients are probably best served by a combination of the two. In other words, it sounds like you’ve got the best of both worlds. Enjoy it!
Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice at Sunset Animal Clinic in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.