Ready to start 2015 with renewed love and enthusiasm for our wonderful profession? Here are three simple suggestions that can change your outlook and improve your daily life.
1. Create a Networking Group
Pick three or four like-minded colleagues and create a small networking-group, where topics can be discussed freely. The farther apart the practices are, the more you will feel like sharing “sensitive” information. You can meet in person or virtually. You can meet monthly or quarterly, and you can stay in touch between meetings via phone or email for urgent matters.
Items to discuss include:
- Medical topics, for example a puzzling case.
- Management questions, including HR, productivity and health insurance.
- Current articles – this could morph into a journal club, which is a fantastic way to stay on top of current literature (our secret cameras showed us your piles of unread journals…)
- Financial topics, such as loans, associate compensation and retirement.
- Philosophical questions: Should we have a mission statement? How do you find time to exercise? What is the meaning of veterinary life?
2. Visit 4 Vet Hospitals
Plan on spending a day at four other hospitals this year—one per quarter. Again, in order to have a more open discussion, pick hospitals that are at least one hour away from your own. It could be the hospitals of the colleagues in your networking group (see above). The absence of competition will make the exchange more altruistic and fruitful. It also could be a referral hospital or a vet school (preferably not your alma mater).
Here are some things you can gain from such visits:
- Check out the equipment. Do they like their new anesthesia monitor? What do they think of their new digital X-ray system? Any feedback on their surgery lights?
- Study the systems and protocols. What works? What doesn’t work? What problems do they have? What problems have they solved?
- Pay attention to verbal communication. What does their mission statement say? What is the culture? How do they celebrate good news, birthdays and anniversaries?
- Ask if you can time your visit so you can attend a staff meeting.
3. Network with Other Healthcare Professionals
Do you have a physician? A dentist? A specialist? Take them out for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Vets certainly work in a unique niche, but we’re not all that different than other healthcare professionals. We deal with employees, clients, patients, the IRS, suppliers, banks, colleagues, lawyers and more.
Pick their brains. What problems are they facing? How did they fix them? How would you approach a similar situation?
These three ideas are very easy to implement and can pay huge dividends. Give them a try and please share your experience with colleagues below.