My Favorite Compliment

My first serious job in veterinary medicine was at a small, one-veterinarian practice in a strip mall center. Oftentimes, I was the only other person in the facility besides the owner-veterinarian, so I had to perform any and every duty needed. I will say that the owner made it easy—for example, there was a telephone right next to the bath tub, so I could answer the phone while lathering up a pup.

The radiology room was just around the corner from the lobby, so I could holler out a greeting to a newcomer walking through the door while restraining for radiographs. Oh, and by the way, that same radiology table doubled as my desk where I filled out reminder cards…by hand. Yes, I’m that old!

While I was working at this practice, I began attending a near-by program for veterinary technology. I had taken many basic courses at another university, so many of those hours transferred. That was fortunate, because I was only able to attend the veterinary technology classes on a part-time basis. Thus, it took me three years to graduate. Like other credentialed technicians, I worked hard to accomplish my goal, and I was proud to be a Registered Veterinary Technician (of the Texas type).

Years later, I moved from a technician position to a position that was more involved with client services. When I told that first veterinarian-boss about the move and how much I enjoyed the new position, she simply replied, “I’m not surprised; you were always the best ‘front person’ I ever had!”

At first, I admit I was taken aback. My mind whirled…”What do you mean? I worked hard to be a technician…I am a technician!” But it only took another few seconds to realize she had just paid me the best compliment ever!

Those hard-working women and men up on the front lines of our practices have the toughest job in the practice. They have to greet every friendly, and UNfriendly, client with a smile and a good attitude. They represent our practice on a client’s way in, and then again on the way out. They are responsible for turning every possible phone call into a paying scheduled appointment, thus securing employment for everyone in the practice…including the veterinarian! They handle the flow of communication in and out of the office every day, whether it is the intake of important previous medical history, or important client education instructions that must accompany a pet on the way out.

Even more importantly, they face grumpy technicians, frustrated assistants, impatient doctors (let’s all admit that we have the potential to be any number of those adjectives and then some!), and still have a smile waiting for the next person to call or come in the door. We can all learn a lot from the way they represent our practice and the care we give patients…we are lucky to have the best “front people” of any profession out there!

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