This week was Veterinary Technician appreciation week! I’m sure everyone saw a lot of posts around with messages of appreciation and gratitude for the hard work techs put in. I know that in my clinic, there were posters made by some caring vets and emergency overnight kits made up that included the 3C necessities: candy, chocolate and caffeine. While I think it’s wonderful that us lucky techs get a whole week dedicated to us, I think working together year round to make everyone’s lives easier, and doing little day to day things for each other are just as important. So without further ado, here are the top seven things you can do for each other in the clinic to brighten someone’s day:
1. Make a pot of coffee for everyone
In my clinic, we only had a little keurig that was used mostly for customers. One christmas, our head vet bought us a bigger, 12 cup coffee machine and some really great coffee to go with it. It was a wonderful, cheap alternative to making small cups of coffee one at a time, and a great suprise! Now, we all take turns making big pots of coffee and spreading the caffeine joy. Alternatively, if you’re tea drinkers (how do you get by without coffee, teach me your ways!!), there’s some really awesome tea boxes you can get and cheap kettles, and if you’re going to boil some water, make enough for more than just yourself!
2. Throw in a load of laundry
If you happen to be walking past the laundry room, and you see piles of laundry stacked after a vomiting and diarrhea day, or abscess day (or any regular day!), just change over the laundry and throw in a new load! It will take two seconds and everyone will appreciate it in the long run. As a bonus, hopefully it will get rid of the lingering smell of diarrhea in the air, because we all know Febreeze doesn't work.
3. Sweep or mop the floors
Vets, I’m looking at you! We all know that sometimes at the end of the day technicians, vet assistants or receptionists tend to run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to clean up after the day, especially if it was a busy one. On top of that, they're trying to get everything prepped for either the next shift or the next day. If you’ve got a free second and you see a mess on the floor, all the support staff will love you forever and always if you pitch in with sweeping or mopping. Just make sure to warn people so they don’t slip and fall on wet floors!
4. Bring in leftover treats from at home
I don't’ know about you guys, but when I’m on my days off from work I like to bake more than I know what to do with, more than my waist line can handle and more than my boyfriend can eat. So I like to bring in leftovers into the clinic. Everyone can appreciate a sweet pick me up, and I like seeing people enjoy my food, so it’s a win-win!
5. Cry OpenlyThis one’s a toughie, especially for people like me who don’t like to be emotional at work. Let’s face it, we work in a predominantly female staffed field, so emotions tend to run high. If you had a pretty bad day or a tough euthanasia and you’re sensing that it’s affected others just as much as it’s affected you, sometimes it helps to have a good cry and hug it out with your work family. It can release some tension, bond you together, and show that you’re supportive of your team and that you feel comfortable enough around them to feel emotional. Of course, make sure that you’re doing it in the treatment area, and not in the reception area around clients, and make sure there's enough Kleenex!
6. Pick up a box of timbits
I’m totally a habituated Canadian, so I get my Timmie’s fix right before I start my shift at the clinic. It’s a necessity otherwise it ruins the flow of my day. If I know that it’s been a stressful day, or it’s a long weekend and I’m anticipating that it will be a busy day, I’ll bring a box of timbits along and force everyone to have one. This helps those that are ‘hangry’ that didn’t have time to sit down and have lunch, and also helps bring a smile to people’s faces. I’m sorry, but if you don’t smile after eating a birthday cake timbit, then you’re an oddball because who doesn't like sprinkles?.Of course, if you’re not a Canadian nut like I am, a box of donuts, donut holes, or muffins, or any other baked good will help, though make sure people can eat it on the go!
7. Make a board of appreciation
Some clinics I’ve seen already do this, and I think it’s a wonderful idea. Clients will often bring in gifts or cards to thank everyone for doing a great job. Granted, a lot of time it’s directed at the vets, but really it's appreciation for everyone that helped their pet. To show gratitude for everyone that helped on the case, from the person taking the phone call from a frantic owner and booking an appointment, to the people gently restraining the frightened sick pet and the ones taking the blood and doing the xrays, to the person putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and telling the owner the final diagnosis, veterinary medicine at the end of the day is always going to be a team effort. So you can make sure that you show everyone that the clients appreciate your whole team and make a board where you can hang up all the client’s thank you cards, or pictures of the animals that you helped save.
At the end of the day..
Veterinary medicine is truly a team effort. Without all the parts working together like a well oiled machine, things can take longer than they need to and details can fall through the cracks. Vets, techs, assistants, receptionists… you’re all wonderful people for doing what you do, a lot of the time it can be without recognition. I know how hard it can be to pull up your socks and tackle the massive load of work that’s in front of you and how hard it can be to put your emotions aside and get centered to the job at hand. I admire all of you for all of your hard work, your motivation, your dedication, your passion and your spirit. Keep rockin’ it!
Of course, there are many, many different things that you can do, big or small, to make everyone's life easier. If you have any other ideas, I'd love to hear about them! Please leave them in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
To all you veterinary professionals out there, you're all wonderful, and you're all appreciated! This is Bertha, she appreciates you too!