How veterinary teams can unleash their full potential

Staff are encouraged to design, create and find support for their careers to reach new heights in job satisfaction.

By Rebecca Rose, CVT

Did you know you are supported in reaching your fullest potential in veterinary medicine? Veterinary team members are encouraged to design, create and find support for their careers so that each may reach new heights in job satisfaction, fulfillment and prosperity. If you can’t imagine it, nobody else can dream it for you.

You may be thinking, “That’s for others in the veterinary community. I have too much debt, too much baggage, too little confidence … (you fill in the blank).”

I say poppycock. You have all the skills, resources and support at your fingertips to grow your career, regardless of your role. Veterinary team members are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field of veterinary technology will grow 19 percent and veterinarian demand will grow 9 percent (both areas faster than average).

If your current place of employment is not offering opportunities for advancement, do some soul searching and consider expanding your horizons. Consciously define the career you want and discover a veterinary hospital that supports its team members professionally and personally. I understand this may be scary at first, but there are well managed practices hiring.

You don’t have to be the overscheduled veterinarian, the underpaid technician or the underappreciated receptionist. Starting today, you have every opportunity to design a fulfilling career and make it happen. You may be bombarded by naysayers. Recognize this as unhealthy energy and turn another cheek. Actively seek out supporters. They are all around you if you make the effort to look.

You may have heard the expression “weed your garden,” where you actively minimize or eliminate the negative people in your life and grow the “flowers” or positive influences. Actively practice this healthy outlook. You may have to work with negative people, but you don’t have to cultivate their attitude.

Options within veterinary practice

Veterinarian

  • 22 AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations comprise 41 distinct specialties (bit.ly/2tt6ElI)
  • Oversee advanced training within the practice
  • Coordinate case reviews with the team
  • Manage blog postings
  • Represent the veterinary hospital at community events
  • Design a hospice/end-of-life care program

Credentialed veterinary technician

  • 14 NAVTA-recognized veterinary technician specialty academies (bit.ly/2svghTp)
  • Coordinate productive team meetings
  • Manage inventory
  • Design educational materials for clients
  • Outreach to local schools in basic pet care
  • Organize team member phase-training programs (team trainer)

Veterinary assistant

  • Complete approved veterinary assistant certification (bit.ly/2rBGVGo)
  • Coordinate socialization classes for puppies
  • Offer clients personalized tours through the practice
  • Oversee puppy, kitten, adolescent and senior pet kits
  • Oversee sanitation training for team members

Manager

  • Complete certification in veterinary practice management (bit.ly/2sFoTaJ)
  • Coordinate state board observation days
  • Organize annual career goal setting
  • Participate in local career fairs or be a guest speaker at a local technician program
  • Attend business networking events or mastermind groups

Receptionist

  • Coordinate social events with new clients
  • Organize client appreciation and recognition programs
  • Oversee social sites
  • Maintain reminder systems
  • Create informative bulletin boards

Keep your eyes on the prize

Outline well-defined goals that keep you heading in the right direction. During your daily work, remain present and efficient. When the time comes to dream about, nurture and grow your plans, that same vigilance will keep you on course. Stay positive. What you think about, you bring about; where your mind goes, so shall your life. Draw, color, write and describe your plan to others in your sphere of influence to nurture the seed and grow it to fruition. Use tools such as a career road map (bit.ly/2rBSQnh) to help set your path.

Plan your week to support your focus

Allow for time to meet your personal expectations. This may include establishing stronger personal boundaries. Leave work when you are scheduled to leave because you have a meeting with a mentor, an evening class or another commitment. Schedule your week and stick to the appointments to manage time wisely. Make sure a child sitter is dependable or that your significant other has your back, cooking a meal and doing the dishes. When you have a defined plan, share the goal with others; you will be surprised at the support that comes your way.

Seek out mentors; use their knowledge

Many students and team members are eager to share their stories of support and encouragement from a mentor. Often times, mentors have more faith in us more than we ourselves do! Mentors offer sound advice, point you in the right direction and want to help you succeed. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. If your current circle of friends is unsupportive, it’s time to expand your circle (weed your garden). Who you are today is not who you have to choose to be tomorrow.

Fill your cup along the path

In the midst of all this planning, designing, scheduling and expanding, remember to take care of yourself. Self-care is critical in order for you to maintain your positive outlook and energy as you work toward your goals. Continue to find time and things that “fill your cup.” Recharge your batteries while on your path to reaching your fullest potential, because there will be no light to shine if you are running on empty.

Embrace change

My father often used to say, “The only thing constant is change!” As you embark upon your journey, there is no doubt change will occur. Implementing the tips here may require change—new focus and habits; stronger, healthier boundaries; new acquaintances; and new joy. Become adaptive, adventurous, and embrace all the possibilities before you. Life is a grand journey; take it all in.

Trust me: You’ve got this. Fully unleash your greatest potential; reach your highest heights. The pets and clients you serve deserve it, your teammates deserve it and, most of all, you deserve it.

Rebecca Rose, CVT, founder and president of CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultants, has 30 years of veterinary industry experience as a veterinary practice management consultant, a practice manager at two AAHA-accredited animal hospitals and an award-winning veterinary technician. She is the immediate past president of NAVTA (2017). Contact her at getCATALYST@CATALYSTVetPC.com, visit CATALYSTVetPC.com to learn more about in-hospital training and upcoming events, and follow CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultants on Facebook.

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