March 2022

In this VETgirl online veterinary continuing education Rachel Feldman, CVT talks about the importance of teamwork in veterinary medicine. If you’re a veterinarian, veterinary technician, CSR, or veterinary student, this is a must read for you! Because you’re rockin’ it…

By Rachel Feldman, CVT
Interactive Media Associate, VETgirl

Teamwork makes the dream work

Veterinary medicine is a team sport with multiple people working together everyday. That is what I love about my job. The sense of comradery that we are in this together, good, bad, and definitely ugly. When we have an arrest situation come in through the ER, other specialty service techs and doctors come over to help. Need help getting an ortho rad, I’ll go get a surgery nurse for help. You get the point.

Lately veterinary medicine is taking a beating. We were already just kind of hanging on and COVID came in and blew up an already overworked, underpaid staff and stretched us thin.

There were plenty of days when I looked at my team and thought, how much longer can we hold it together? Running out to cars for triages or going to a car and someone handing us their cat out their window with no carrier. Umm, what?! How much longer until we go back to “normal” is something I asked out loud everyday? Which was always met with some sort of sarcastic response like, “what you don’t love this?” But secretly, I did. I guess it’s not a secret anymore.

Don’t get me wrong there were plenty of days where I hated what I was doing. I hated what was being asked of me. I hated not being home with my family. I hated maybe exposing myself and my family to COVID. But I kept showing up. Why? My team. There is this dynamic in veterinary medicine that I feel others should know about. It probably happens in human nursing as well. There is this sort of unbreakable bond between you and your coworkers. You know more about their lives than some of your best friends, but maybe even never hang out outside of work. You would stick your hand in a biting cat’s mouth to pry their jaws off someone’s arm. Yep, I did that.

But this does not come without conflict. There were also days that we let each other down. In the early days of the pandemic most of us were just physically and mentally exhausted. That would lead to poor communication or just downright snippyness which would throw us all off kilter. There was frustration and tears which would lead to this sense of just being completely overwhelmed. And just as you feel like your day is falling to pieces, someone stands up and says, “who wants to order lunch?” And just like that the world is right again. Never underestimate the power of french fries or dare I say, pizza.

woman teamwork power

I was 18 when I started working in a veterinary hospital walking dogs. I definitely got “into” veterinary medicine because I liked animals. But what keeps me coming back is this overwhelming sense of pride in myself and my coworkers (teammates) for being able to navigate all of the demands that COVID forced upon us and come out stronger on the other side.

Thanks for all that you do. We see you. We love you. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Everyone in the veterinary field right now is hurting, and you are rocking it.

  1. Great article-everybody on my team would benefit from this encouragement. Teamwork keeps everybody going in the good, bad and ugly!

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