I Got a Raise….and It’s Not the Kind You Think

As I sit here contemplating the goals and ideas I have for my team for 2019, I started to think about a conversation I had with my supervisor a couple of months ago regarding “what motivates” me.

His first question was, “Are you motivated by money?” I quickly answered, “No”. For a second, I regretted saying that. Was I setting myself up to not get a raise? Stupid…stupid…stupid. I then began to explain.

Throughout my career in management, I have learned that what sometimes feels like a thankless job is actually very rewarding. You just have to know where to look. As managers, we are the ones that seem to always take up the slack, take the flack, and solve ALL the problems. We rarely hear these two words, “Thank you.” It can sometimes feel that all your hard work goes unnoticed. Guess what….we are wrong!

Remember that time you counseled the CSR that was upset because a client yelled at her? You offered her tips on how to talk with your clients and how to deal with them when they become upset. A few days later, you hear her using your tips and recognize that she is growing into her role. (Thank you)

Remember the day you had to ask the team to work through lunch and you were right in there with them helping out? The next time this happened you didn’t have to ask anyone because they volunteered to help out. (Thank you)

The other day, one of my team members came into my office and said, “I’m so happy that you’re my manager.” (Thank you)

I explained to my supervisor why I’m not motivated by money. I am motivated by my team. When I see a team member growing and/or using tips and training advise that I have given them to help make their work life better, that’s how I “get a raise”.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my “what the hell” days too. When these days happen, I remind myself that these are the days I learn from the most and they help prepare me to become an even better manager/leader.

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The Frenchie that Won

Twenty years. That’s how long I worked in the veterinary field and never got bit by a dog. Twenty years! Cat bites are a different story. 😉 Two years ago, this changed.

It all started as a normal day at the office. I was working as a director of my state veterinary association and my biggest danger at work was maybe getting a “love bite” from the office cat “Luna”. So I thought. 

One of my coworkers stopped by my office with her French bulldog and asked if I would mind giving him his medication; a tablet. I didn’t think anything of it. After all, I had trimmed this guy’s nails for her, in the past, without any problems. I sat on the floor, next to her dog and began petting him. He looked right up at me with his cute little Frenchie face, next thing I noticed, there is blood all over the floor and he is sitting there looking at me. Without any growling or signs of aggression, this guy jumped up and bit my face and sat down in a matter of seconds.

The first thing I said was, “Oh crap! I think he bit me.” I covered my jaw with my hand and ran to the bathroom. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t! I was so scared. I could feel the inside of my jaw and teeth. I thought this dog had bit my jaw off! At least, that’s how it felt underneath my hand.

One of my coworkers grabbed a blanket and took me to the nearest emergency room. She called my husband at work, who happens to be a veterinary assistant, and asked him to meet us at the hospital. You can imagine his surprise when he discovered that I was bit by a dog in an office.

After multiple doses of pain medication and facial surgery it began to sit in, the Frenchie won. I had been bit in the face. My face was soooo swollen and gross with sutures I didn’t want to be seen in public. Two days later, I was scheduled to host a CE event. How was I going to do that with my gross face? Then I realized, who is going to understand a dog bite more than a room full of veterinary technicians? No one. So, I went back to work. To my surprise, it sparked up a conversation, at this event about dog bites. Technicians around the room began to tell their story and show their badges of courage/scars. I then realized that it could have been soooo much worse.

I was blessed to have found an amazing plastic surgeon that was able to treat my wound with scar therapy. I didn’t have to have anymore surgery. I do still have a scar on my chin and my lips will not quit ever look the same, but at least it wasn’t worse than it could have been.

When it was all said and done, the owner of the dog mentioned that he could “sometimes have an attitude” and “only liked her.” Wait. What? The same dog she had asked me to do nail trims on? YES!! I then find out that the medication she had asked me to administer to her dog was gabapentin because he was on his way to the vet that day and they had a hard time “handling” him.  😳

I share my experinece in hopes to educate and keep this from happening to others so, please feel free to share. As pet owners, it is our responsibility to let others know if the temperment of our pet is favorable. As animal lovers, it is our responsibility to ask an owner before petting, or in my case, medicating their pet. Stay safe my friends.

Medical Records: What’s your story?

Have you ever had the task of reading a medical record that was totally incomplete and you kind of had to “guess” what the doctor was trying to say? Come on. Be honest. Of course you have!! This is the worst! How can we as veterinary professionals better communicate in our medical records?

The other day, I was reviewing a medical record written by a veterinarian regarding a patient that had been brought in as an ADR. As I began to review this record, I was thoroughly impressed by the details and how complete this record was. It told a story.

The story began with a presenting complaint and a complete history. The body of the story was the diagnostics, the procedures, i.e. the plan. Sadly, this story did not have a happy ending and I caught myself getting a little choked up. For a moment, I had been emotionally invested in the case with which I had never met the client or patient. It got me thinking…..medical records=story?

I know, I know….this is nothing new. As veterinarians and paraprofessionals we are taught day one, “If you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen.” We try so hard in our day to day hustle and bustle to document as much as possible, but are our records as complete as they can be? Could someone that did not know this patient be able to decipher where the doctor was going with their plan?

There are some of us that are so O.C.D. about our medical records that nothing, I mean nothing gets missed. There are however, those that struggle with complete medical records from time to time. My advice to you is to remember that you are the author of this patient’s record and you will be the one signing off on their story. Make sure your audience will be able to understand.

Medical, Record, Health, Patient, Form, File, Document

Team Service

The other day I happen to come across the following Facebook post:


My first initial thought when I saw this was, “Why the heck would a veterinary technician page post such a thing?” The curiosity took over and I decided to read through the comments that were posted. It came to no surprise to read things like, “this is why I’m leaving the field” and “I am very overworked and underpaid”. As I begin to read further, I started seeing comments such as these:

“My doctors always let us know we are doing a good job. I am so great full [sic] be where I am.”

“I am so lucky. In the 5 years I have worked at my clinic NEVER ONCE have I left for the day without my doctor saying THANK YOU.”

“My doctors always let you know that you worked hard they appreciate you.”

This past week, I had a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with LVTs, RVTs, CVTs, and CVPMs from across the nation. We had a deep discussion regarding the importance of what I like to call, “Team Service.” In practice, we strive so hard to focus on exceeding our customer service that we can sometimes fall short on the service we give to our team. This is so important!! By creating an enjoyable work environment and adhering to the needs of our team, this will spill out into your customer service creating happy clients. It’s a win win!

With that, team leads and practice managers can tell their team members how much they appreciate their hard work until the cows come home. Yes the team appreciates this, but nothing compares to having the doctor tell you how much they appreciate the hard work you did for them.