After some late snow storms for many of us I think spring has finally decided to stick around for a while! In the spirit of spring and fresh starts I put together a little list of tips for the new graduates to help them survive their first few months in practice, or maybe at least it’ll be entertaining on a day when they need it. Hopefully, those of you who have been practicing already can relate and add your own tips to the list!
If you’re lucky enough to work in a practice where you are on call, never ever comment on how quiet the phone has been! It’s a guaranteed way to make it start ringing off the hook and you’ll spend the rest of the night or weekend at the clinic. Learn to quickly silence anyone else who dares to comment on the phone not ringing also!
When you’re going out on a call, GPS is great but don’t completely zone out when the receptionist is giving you directions. Sometimes when you turn after the "house where Mrs. Smith used to live" and you're trying to find "Brick Plant Road" that isn't actually called "Brick Plant Road", but there was a brick plant there 50 years ago, your GPS won’t work!
Always keep a set of clean clothes, including shoes with you. They can be stashed at the clinic or in the back seat of your truck. I guarantee, the time you don’t have them, you’ll wish you did!
Never make assumptions about what your clients are willing to do for their animals. They will surprise you every time. The guy you just know won’t spend any money on his cat will want to do everything possible to save her. And the person you know has money to spend won’t want to do a thing.
Be kind to your staff! The technicians are the ones keeping that out of control dog from tearing your face off and that feral cat from shredding your arm. The receptionist is the one controlling your schedule and will determine how your day goes!
You’re not expected to know everything! Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for help and to learn from them. Veterinary medicine is made of up amazing people who are great about helping each other.
Write down your funny or crazy stories about clients and patients! You think you’ll remember them but at some point you will forget. Trust me on this one and just write them down, you’ll be glad you did some day!
Never forget your own pet’s flea preventative! You will bring fleas home with you unfortunately but as long as they’re protected you should be good!
Don’t forget to smile, laugh and have fun at work. The days can be long and challenging but try and find something positive that makes you smile every day!
Get involved! I never thought I would be involved in organized veterinary medicine like I have been, but I’m so glad that I am. It has given me the opportunity to meet so many great people and to truly appreciate the people behind our great profession!
Have a great month!
Kylee Thomas, DVM