What is the definition of "confidence?" Webster's dictionary defines it as an assurance of mind or firm belief in the trustworthiness
Trust is defined as confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice of another. According to this dictionary,
the words confidence and trust may be used interchangeably.
Trust is one of the highest forms of human motivation. Trust, or lack of it, is the root of success or failure in relationships
with clients, colleagues and employees. It fosters a climate in which veterinarians and clients can work cooperatively to
establish shared objectives of patient care and seek reasonable ways of achieving them. Ironically, it usually requires many
positive actions for us to earn and maintain our clients' confidence and loyalty, yet that trust can be undermined if they
perceive that even one of our actions is uncaring or self-serving.
How can we gain and sustain the confidence and trust of our clients in our ethical character (what we are as persons) and
our professional competency (what we do as veterinarians)? To foster deeper understanding about how we might earn and maintain
our clients' confidence, please consider the questions that follow. Where appropriate try to answer as if you were one of
your clients with access to all of your professional activities and your innermost thoughts. In other words, they could read
your mind, assess your speech and evaluate your actions.
Recall that the Veterinarian's Oath states in part, "I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my
professional knowledge and competence."
In this context, would my clients maintain their confidence in me if they knew my attitude about the importance of continuing
to learn and the level of my desire to remain professionally competent?
Am I committed to learning a living?
Am I at times over-confident, or am I teachable (i.e., am I willing to learn from the knowledge, experience, wisdom of others)?
What priority do I place on keeping current with new knowledge published in journals, textbooks and the Internet?
How current are the textbooks in my hospital? How often do I read them?
Would I regularly attend continuing-education seminars if there weren't a legal requirement to do so?
Do I strive to attain and maintain a level of professional competence that would allow me to provide the quality of medical
care that I would desire if I were the patient?
If I or a member of my family faced a serious illness, would I have confidence in a physician with study habits comparable
Quality of patient care
Would my clients maintain confidence in me if they could assess the pattern of timeliness of my responses to legitimate requests
for needed veterinary care?
Would they maintain that confidence if they knew whether I conscientiously applied the principle of recommending the same
standard of care for my patients that I would use if I were choosing diagnostics and therapy for myself?
Would they maintain their confidence in me if they were able to follow me step by step as I directed the care provided to
When we offer the type of care for our patients that we would select for ourselves, then at the very least our clients know
that our primary motive for doing so is based on the Golden Rule.
Won't you agree that clients are more likely to have confidence in our recommendations and to comply if they know that we
have their best interests at heart?
Would my clients maintain their confidence in me if they knew the level of experience I have with my proposed plan of therapy,
and my familiarity with associated therapeutic benefits and risks?
Do I have a balanced view of my limitations?
When uncertainty exists as to whether a particular drug, medical or surgical procedure is in the best interests of the patient,
do I try to answer the following questions?
Based on all the information available, would I choose this course of therapy if I were this patient?