Many people think that it takes grand gestures to make their team happy and feel appreciated. 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 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 in the air, because we all know Febreeze doesn't always cut it.
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 the next shift. If you’ve got a free second and you see a mess on the floor, all the support staff will love you forever if you pitch in with sweeping or mopping.
4. Bring in leftover treats from at home
Do you like to bake? Do you often make more than you need? If so, bring in leftovers on your next shift. Everyone can appreciate a sweet pick me up, and you'll like seeing people enjoy your food, so it’s a win-win!
5. Cry OpenlyThis one’s a toughie, especially for people 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. 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. Clients like 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. 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, nurses, assistants, receptionists… you’re all wonderful people for doing what you do, a lot of the time it can be without recognition. Luckily, there are many, many different things that you can do, big or small, to make everyone's life easier.