By Amy Johnson, BS, LVT, RLATG, CVJ, Manager of Content Development at VETgirl
In this VETgirl online veterinary continuing education blog, Amy Johnson, RLATG, LVT, CVJ focuses on what the veterinary community has to be grateful for as we approach Thanksgiving of this challenging year.
The Top 10 Things to be Grateful for in Veterinary Medicine this Year
If you think back to this time last year, we were in year one of pandemic chaos, looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. Somehow that clock striking midnight on January 1st was supposed to make the world better. This mess was supposed to end. Unfortunately, as we all know, it did not work that way.
2021 was just as chaotic, if not more. The uncertainty and anticipation made this year hard for anyone but continued to hit the veterinary industry harder than we have ever seen. Many practices have dealt with the continuation of curbside, while others may have opened to the public only to go back, while some question whether what they were doing is the best way. We have dealt with long wait times, frustrated clients, and the fear of turning people away, all while being incredibly short-staffed. We have had a challenging couple of years for sure. But, despite that, there is still so much to be thankful for in our lives and veterinary careers.
As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s focus on what we in the veterinary community has to be grateful for right now, despite the craziness of life right now. Here, the top 10 things from my perspective that the veterinary community has to be thankful for in 2021, despite the challenges the last couple of years have brought us:
- Our patients
“I went into veterinary medicine for the money,” said no veterinarian or veterinary technician ever. We went into this field for the animals, our patients. We are the advocates for those that can’t speak, and that is powerful. Our patients give us unconditional love (at least most of them do!). Isn’t that what keeps most of us going? The joy of seeing an animal that was on death’s door go home and live a happy life cannot be explained.
When in doubt, reflect back to WHY you initially applied to veterinary school or vet tech school, and remind yourself of your passion for all things furry, scaled, or feathered.
- Our clients
Yes, clients have been more challenging over the last couple of years, but not all of them. We have clients who understand our situation and genuinely appreciate what we do for them and their pets. It is easy to focus on the negative, but keep those positive interactions front of mind. Those clients are gold!
My easy reminder? Put all your pet owner thank you notes, cards, pictures, and words of affirmation in a beautiful Artkive archive book, and keep this on displace in our break room or waiting room. That way, we remember why we love what we do!
- Our teams
Veterinary medicine is a team sport, and we could not do it without the help of a strong team. It doesn’t matter what a person’s role or position in the practice is – we could not get through the day without them. A practice would not run without veterinarians, CSRs, veterinary assistants, veterinary technicians, kennel support, and management/leadership. This has become even more apparent with the staffing shortages we are seeing currently. No matter who you are, let your team know how much you appreciate them and the work they do.
A simple thank you, smile, note of appreciation goes a long way. And iced coffee.
- Opportunities for innovation and revolutionary change
Veterinarians have always had the reputation of being slow to adopt new concepts and innovation. If nothing else, these last couple of years have proven that we can change, adapt, and innovate with the best of them. The pandemic has forced all practices to re-evaluate their workflows and the whole way we approach our day. Curbside was a quick adaptation that, in some ways, will continue to stick around in our workflows post-pandemic. We have adopted aspects of telemedicine, online pharmacies, and remote work for certain employees. We will never go back to the state of “normal” we knew before the pandemic.
Consider things as simple as Google sheets, Google calendar or Google docs to improve the workflow in your clinic! Even something as simple as a large TV monitor with connected with Google sheets can help with the flow from the front check-in to the back!
One of the things that helped us to do our jobs during the pandemic has been technology. We have cell phones and tablets to communicate with our clients on their cell phones in our parking lots. Plus, now we can text pet owners too! We have telemedicine and other apps that help with everything from scheduling appointments, the appointment itself, contactless payment, and getting patients prescriptions and food. We walk around with minicomputers in our pockets that are used to look up journal articles, procedures, drug doses, and treatments, or to listen and learn with a podcast (We prefer our VETgirl ones !) or learn on the run (Hello, VETgirl YouTube LIVE free CE)! They help us get photos and videos to evaluate our patients, and who couldn’t use a funny cat video and dancing veterinary teams on TikTok during a short break?
Although I am not a coffee drinker, I could not get through my day without my iced green tea and Diet Coke. Really, do I need much more description here? We are a profession that helps the coffee and caffeine industry stay alive. Thank you, caffeine, for helping me survive my day, each and every day!
More iced coffee or tea as a sign of appreciation. It works wonders.
- Food delivery services
Stat nutrition consult in the break room!
Another thing that helps us get through our day is DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, or whatever service you prefer to use. How did we eat before these services? Cook? Pack our meals? That is crazy talk! Even if we are going to cook, our groceries were likely delivered to us. Many are taking advantage of their favorite restaurant meals delivered right to them, whether at work or home.
- A continually evolving profession full of medical advancements
Not only has technology given us many advancements over the last few years, but so has medicine. We get to work in a profession that experiences medical advancements regularly. Medicine is not stagnant, and that is not only good for our personal health, but our patients are also living better lives.
- You don’t have a desk job
Can you imagine going to work and sitting at a computer 8 hours a day? We are on our feet and on the go constantly, with no idea when day will really end. We know when our shift is scheduled to be over, but is that when we will truly leave? Our days are long and exhausting, but most of us would not have it any other way.
- You get to save lives and enhance the human-animal bond
Does it get any better than that? We are superheroes! *Mic drop*
What we’re thankful for, here at VETgirl? Well, this blog would not be complete without VETgirl giving thanks to our incredible team, our amazing speakers, our generous sponsors, and most of all you – our members. We would not be here if it weren’t for you! Thank you for making us a regular part of your lives. We love you guys. Thank you. Thank you for all that you do.