Little Things: Making Veterinary Jobs Easier

Posted: Oct 22, 2013
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This is my short master list of the "little things" that make working in a veterinary environment a better experience.

1. Snacks, snacks, snacks, snacks.

Old pizza sitting on kitchen table

This might seem like a really little thing to contribute, but it is probably the biggest thing to make a difference in a technician or DVM’s day. To state the obvious, it keeps their blood sugar from dropping thus keeping them from passing out from lack of food. This may conjure up horrible images of how it works here at DoveLewis ("What, they don’t get to eat?! Are they chained to the hospital floor?!") but it is kind of a reality on busy days in the hospital. It's days like this that anything, ANYTHING will be consumed, if it's there for human consumption.

Cheese that has been sitting on the counter for three days? No problem! What an amazing snack!

Caesar salad out of the fridge for who knows how long? Pass me a fork, and that mystery dip! Give it to me!

But half the time there isn’t any food to scarf down (forgot lunch AGAIN, gasp!) in record-breaking time. So this is when those amazing, sweet co-workers (and clients sometimes too!) have the forethought to bring snacks in to work, they get put on a pedestal. This step comes after you've already found the snacks and eaten at least 25% of them, of course. It is a little thing that probably has the biggest impact. I thank those that bring the snacks. You are vital to the team.

2. Notes, notes, notes, notes.

Hairball from veterinary hospital treatment sink drain on paper towel note

Notes are the best; written in the blue line of the patient visit list in Cornerstone, scribbled on a sticky note slapped inside/outside of the chart, smeared on the whiteboard, scrawled on a scrap piece of paper laying on the ICU counter half-drenched in alchohol and maybe some urine? I'll take it!

These notes of communication are key to the passing of information in a 24-hr hospital, where you're constantly trying to relay information to someone who never works at the same time as you do. It can be the simplest, short-form written note but the effectiveness of it is detrimental to the continuation of uniform patient/client care. It allows all that are working with a patient or client to be in the know and therefore provide outstanding patient/client service. Communication is absolutely vital to any workplace and what you may think to be too little to communicate, isn’t. Spread the word.

3. Pens, pens, pens, pens.

Pens from On the Floor @Dove, in a pile

People get possessive and weird about pens... Don’t worry, I am too.

All I can remember is this amazingly wonderful day 14 years ago (March 23rd, 1999) when my special pen came into my life. It was sleek with a comfort grip, medium/fine point, smudge proof ink and blue or black ink. Everything in the world made sense. I coveted these pens at work. I would snatch them out of co-workers hands when I saw them using them, knowing for sure they wouldn’t appreciate them the same way I did. Anyways, I digress.

It’s just a pen. It’s just a pen. It’s just a pen.

See, I’m making progress. I still have a fondness for good pens but now I have a need for two added features for the pens that I use. I carry a clipboard around with me all day, so I must have a pen with a clip on it so I can attach it to my clipboard (this also makes it less of a target for others to take because the extra second of effort to unclip it from the clipboard is usually not worth it). It also must retract, this way ink isn’t getting all over the place. The inventory manager at DoveLewis gets pens from her suppliers quite frequently and she knows how much I like them. So she usually floats me a few when she gets them (thanks Erin!!!). It's like a surprise Christmas. I also like to pass along pens to co-workers as I know there are others out there with the obsession and it is amazing how much this little object can bring inner happiness.

In conclusion, please be generous and give your staff food, many ways to write down notes and fancy, durable. It will make everyone's lives better, and likely reflect in your staff's work ethic and group culture. Thank you.