Vetting the Conflict: Addressing Conflict, Keeping Relationships and Avoiding Litigation in Veterinary Medicine (1392)
Professional Development |  Personnel Management
Saturday |  9:00 AM -  9:50 AM
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center||214D



Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton JD
Hamilton Law and Mediation

DEBRA A. VEY VODA-HAMILTON has 30 years of experience as a practicing litigator. Her focus for the past 4 years is as a mediator working to resolve disputes between people involving animals. Hamilton Law and Mediation, PLLC (HLM), is the first solo mediation practice dedicated to helping people resolve conflicts involving animals.<br><br>HLM uses alternative dispute resolution to help resolve divorce disagreements over the family pet, neighbor arguments over a barking dog, vet &amp; pet service providers and their client's misunderstandings. We also assist animal rights, rescue and welfare advocates to be heard more clearly by providing all with a venue in which adversaries can have a discussion that is focus on the best interests of all, often avoiding costly and time consuming litigation.<br><br>Debra is the author of the Amazon best selling book, Nipped in the Bud, Not in the Butt: How to Use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals and co-author of Onward and Upward: A Guide For Getting Through New York Divorce &amp; Family Law Issues.<br>Debra is the go to person for information regarding the use of mediation in disagreements involving animals for the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Huffington Post and US News and World Report. In June 2016 Debra will release a monthly informative newsletter and instructional podcast on how to live and work peacefully with pets. Sign up now by going to

Presentation Info

Audience: CE Pathway: Diversity & Inclusion
CE Credit(s): 1.00
CE Level: 2


This course will cover proven methods of addressing conflict among staff, clients and colleagues arising in a veterinary practice. It provides easy to implement, progressive steps that veterinarian can take which will enable them to quickly identify a conflict situation and use new strategies to cope with misunderstandings and disagreements.  These tools will help veterinarians address, not avoid, struggles in relationships with staff members, clients or colleagues. Attendees participate in a preparative lecture component outlining the underpinnings of conflicts involving people about animals.  The lecture will then have attendees work collaboratively to identify conflicts that have arisen in their practice and how they responded to those conflicts.  We will explore and implement methods of addressing disagreements in their earliest stages and employ language that can nip these disagreements in the bud.   The course includes talking points, non-confrontational language and templates veterinarians can take back to their practice to shift the dynamic.  Even if the issue escalates and attorneys inevitably get involved attendees will learn skills to advocate for themselves with their malpractice insurance company thereby allowing them to address the problem in a protected venue, keep the client and avoid litigation. 

This session is part of CE Pathway: Diversity & Inclusion

Learning Objectives

1. Vetting the Conflict (VTC) – Introduction and Overview (15 Minutes) AKA – Address/Keep Clients/Avoid Litigation Stop Drop and Roll – Handle Fiery Confrontations Speakers Credentials (5 minutes) Address Conflict – (30 Minutes) 1.) Why is it important? What you will achieve? Impossible to avoid. Set up checkpoints. Protocol for reporting observations. Objective: Attendees Learning Outcome Distinguish conflict characteristics to more easily address early. Identify when and what action needs to be proactively taken. Explore personal reactions to conflict.

2. VTC - Keeping Your Clients Why it is important to keep every client Keeping Difficult Clients Surveys and Suggestion Boxes Non-Veterinary Events Objective: Attendees Learning Outcome Recognize the importance of keeping a client. Illustrate why surveys and suggestion boxes open a path to efficient changes. Support local pet care providers to draw new and existing clients into the office.

3. VTC - Avoid Litigation/Appreciate Another's Point of View Check knee jerk reaction – calling vet/malpractice provider Read the policy Speak with your underwriter Question the process Self empowerment/Advocate for your best interest Pre-empt problem by asking questions and responding pro-actively. Objective: Attendees Learning Outcome Recognize self empowered options for solution Prepare for solution-oriented process Express how you want to proceed before need Grasp the significance of self-determination

Convention Notes

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