007: How To Maintain A Healthy Mind, Body, and Work Environment w/ Jocey Pronko


It should come as no surprise that working in critical care and emergency departments can put a lot of pressure and stress on the vet professionals involved. At the same time, they provide a fast-paced, never boring environment with the opportunity to make a difference every day. Today’s guest is the managing nurse of both critical care and emergency at Colorado State University’s teaching vet hospital and she has perfectly mixed her passion of wanting to make a positive difference with her love of constant action.

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Show Notes: 

Jocey Pronko got her degree in biology before deciding that the world of vet medicine would be a better fit for her, and after stints in private practice and academia, she quickly fell for the fast-paced environment of critical care and emergency veterinary medicine. She shares some amazing insights into the mental strength needed to strive in this field, what personal qualities will help you succeed in these high-stress situations, and what does a career in vet nursing look like long term.

We dive into how maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be the difference between keeping your sanity and complete burnout, how to maintain your passion during those trying hours when it’s non-stop action, and why lack of communication is the #1 issue plaguing workplaces - including vet practices - today and how to fix it.

How do you deal with the mental and emotional stresses of your life and achieve a healthy work-life balance? Leave a comment below!

In this episode:

  • Why mental preparation is essential to critical care and emergency vet nursing
  • How to maintain passion for your work regardless of outside influences
  • Qualities that you need to succeed in these high intensity fields
  • Some of the biggest differences between private practice and academia
  • Tips on opening up the lines of communication with superiors and co-workers


“I noticed that with the other ECC nurses that I work with, anxiety is a big thing for us. And, I think that sort of anxiety of ‘What’s going to come in next? Am I going to get hit with twenty emergency cases walking in the door, or am I going to be able to get these treatments done in time before the next emergency comes in?’ I do find that ECC technicians have a certain level of anxiety and some people can handle that better than others, and it isn’t a profession for everybody.” (7:50)

“We all can become very loyal to the place that we work as technicians, loyal to our doctors that we feel are loyal to us and find value in us. And, I would say that technicians put up with a lot of peripheral side stuff that happens but at the end of it they will be so loyal to you as a clinic, as a doctor if they feel like it’s reciprocated  and that they have some value.” (34:50)   

“One of my biggest pet peeves in clinics is seeing competitiveness between technicians because it’s destructive and it’s toxic and it’s one-upping each other and in the end is does not feel good at all. And, so we can do that for each other, tech to tech, and say I support you, I can empower you. (40:31)


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Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University


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John Arnold