Tag Archives: DVVH

2006 Vet Motivation: MU [another blast from my past]

29 Jul

Please describe the traits that you feel will make you a good veterinarian.
Over 3000 hours in veterinary hospitals, has taught me the requirements of the profession. The work can be dirty and difficult mentally, physically, and emotionally, but I am prepared to demonstrate characteristics such as an analytical competence, athleticism, and rationality I have seen in my veterinary mentors. Teaching dance classes to all ages and working with children in my community, helped me realize dealing with the public is rewarding and at times challenging. My experience with my own pets and while helping at veterinary hospitals helped me understand that not all animals can be cured, but a veterinarian is committed to the welfare of each client. I posses the quality of compassion which enables me to euthanize a failing animal. I also recognize that for veterinarians the reward is not always in the pay but the satisfaction of working with animals.

Despite what some may consider the negative aspects of veterinary medicine, I love the profession and aspire to take an active role in it as long as I am able to work. I would be personally unfulfilled if I did not spend time in a veterinary setting. My favorite time during my volunteer stint was during the fast-paced summers, when we had to have the dedication and endurance to work extended hours in order to keep up.

I played sports throughout school and enjoy the physical aspect of veterinary medicine. I respect the combination of intellect and strength required of veterinarians and I believe I am capable of displaying both traits. The challenge of catering to many different species is exciting and I plan on ultimately owning a private practice in a rural area which caters to both small animals and exotics. My goal is to meet and exceed the expectations of the veterinarians who helped me get this far in reaching my dream of becoming a veterinarian.

Explain why you selected veterinary medicine as a career choice.

I feel most rewarded when I am involved in the field of veterinary medicine. Helping animals, educating owners, raising the level of animal care in my home town, and improving the field of veterinary medicine by providing the highest standards of medicine are very fulfilling prospects. I entered the field at an early age, volunteering 633 hours at the veterinary hospital, which cemented my aspiration of being a veterinarian. Going to the clinic often, provided me with knowledge of the career and a sense of joy. I find great satisfaction in being at vet hospitals and got my first paid position as kennel help when I was sixteen. I have been honing my skills at veterinary hospitals at most levels and still love the work, animals, and the atmosphere.

I pursued as much animal experience as possible, often taking on extra projects. I was instrumental in implementing service learning for school credit in my county. I accomplished this by creating and presenting a power point of my time at Dayton Valley Veterinary Hospital to the school board. The presentation was well received and a member of the school board made a contribution toward my college fund. In college, I did an internship at Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital and presented what I learned to freshmen in the animal science department. I like teaching my peers what small animal practice entails and feel my passion for the career shines through and motivates others to pursue the field.

One of my most unique experiences during my paid interim was assisting with various surgeries. This unique opportunity allowed me to get a feeling for what it is like to complete a case from beginning to end. It was at this time that I knew I would not waver until I became a doctor of small animal veterinary medicine with an emphasis on exotics.

Hospital Policies

13 Jan

I have a lot of bad things to say about Mary Minor.  But I have to say her hospital policies were surgerysome of my favorite and probably THE most successful I’ve worked with.  And recently, I have been missing them, and fairly dismayed/frustrated/disgruntled that my current job doesn’t operate that way.  Because it would make things a lot easier–and better.

Despite being a total hard-ass with high expectations, things went well and I felt appreciated even though I (and everyone else) was under constant scrutiny to perform at the top-most levels of medicine.  Now that I’ve worked at several other places I try to recall how this was made possible.  Because apparently it’s a tall order.

Laurel's pics 135I think a lot of Mary’s work success (the first time I worked for her) was keeping staffing issues objective.  Mary did not give special treatment to anyone or only chastise non-friends at work.  Even though her best friend since high school was her receptionist and her wife was her tech–those 2 didn’t receive any benefit or scorn that the rest of us employees didn’t.  Side-note:  [And this only goes for the first time I worked for her–when I came back, she was unable to separate the personal from the professional, which caused much of our ugly breakdown.  Mainly her problem that I knew too much about her (dirty-dirty) personal, home-life, so she set out to destroy me.]

Everywhere else I worked ran into strife because the boss would favor an employee:  I’m looking at you, Jennifer, Dana (to a lessor extent), Heather, Brandon, and Kris.  And when the boss favors one employee, that person ends up with the best possible work schedule, and never gets in trouble–not like the rest of the workers.  So of course co-workers notice and get disgruntled with both the favored employee and the boss. . .

The high standard of medicine came before the scheduling.  Mary made it a top goal to provide Laurel's pics 265better then adequate care for every patient she had.  And we were busy.  But if we could not handle something at the highest level–we either took more time so we could, or said no and referred (in the case of no money, non-clients).  Mary understood that YOU (the business, the owner, the vet) train your clients.  The vet hospital requires certain things and you will establish a base of clients willing to follow those rules and guidelines.  Everyone who doesn’t fit your business-model will go elsewhere.  And even though we routinely told people no, we still had a huge following in the community.  And they were (mostly) the good kind of clients.  You shape your clientele  and your client make-up is what you’re willing to put up with as a business owner.

Other places where I have been employed would forget that the busier and more overwhelmed you are, the lower the standards are for each individual patient.  They would let the schedule dictate the standard of care, by squeezing in more and more.  So instead of having time to groom surgeries before releasing them, taking vitals on every animal that walks through the door, having a vet check the animal prior to giving a refill, etc. . . you just saw each animal as fast as you could, cutting corners to get on to the next in a timely fashion.  Which is increasingly slip-shod.

Bigger then that, Mary held the highest standards while keeping productive employees happy because she was all about teamwork.  She really emphasized that success of the practice was Laurel's pics 261dependent upon how the staff worked together.  She was fond of saying that we set each other up for success.  We had a triple check system.  I was never the only one getting yelled at.  If something went wrong–it was everybody’s fault.  Because in a team environment everybody (doctor included) should constantly be checking that things are getting done appropriately.  Also, we celebrated as a team.  Of course Mary had an ego like any vet and attributed most of the success to herself, as team captain, and key member of the operation, but she also understood she couldn’t have accomplished as much as she did all by herself.  If we had a record dollar day, everybody was congratulated for hustling a$$, everyone was commended for keeping up, everyone was given kudos by everyone.  And we did things as a work group.  When I went to college, Mary took the staff to Chinese lunch to see me off.  When the crazy short-staffed summer was over, she bought wine.  So you had motivation to work harder for your team.

At Noah’s Ark, we weren’t a team so much as a family.  The difference is in Mary’s work team, we IMG000had a clear goal and wanted to perform well to accomplish that goal.  At Noah’s Ark it was more of a camaraderie  and when that was impossible, tolerance to black sheep of the family.  A little less successful, but still more togetherness then most.  And we had a group Christmas party and went to the Gentle Doctors Benefit as a group.  So our employers made sure we had some fun together, not just the daily grind.

Most other vet hospitals have been fractured.  Everyone was out for themselves, and no talk of team or family or otherwise was mentioned.  I find this mentality most surprising the smaller the staff.  But a small group (forced to spend time together at work only) is different from teams or families.  In Washington, we did nothing for any holiday, and when we did (once), it was held over our heads as “our holiday bonus.”  At emergency, every hated everyone else and once your shift was over, people RAN out of there.  Not nice environments to have to spend time.  It makes it more of a grind, and I think affects general work and productivity.

surpriseSo despite Mary’s many (and accumulating) short-falls, she really did run her business most effectively, from the high standard of patient care, congeniality toward clients, speed of practice, staffing, and success in general.  She’s a (homophobic, lying, cheating, manipulative, selfish, on and on) $hit head, but she knows the story when it comes to running a vet hospital .  Even with our personal problems, I have to give her that.

Lessons Learned (turned into frustrated rant)

12 Apr

Maybe the wrong one in a perfect world, but the system is flawed.

100% True Statement:  I worked my A$$ off for veterinary hospitals all my (employed) life.

Go ahead, click on my blog’s search bar or in these tags.  Type in DVVH to see how hard I worked–and gave my life to that hospital, only to have my boss/former-mentor go through a midlife crises and refuse to write me ANY letter for my veterinary application.  I guess if you catch your closeted boss cheating on her wife with your hairdresser (and a mother of 3), hostility will ensue.  In Seattle, I volunteered for the weekend kennel duties that no one else wanted to do.  At my current job, I, at first, took the cleaning position (impossible to fill) that was set up for off hours.  And type in Noah’s Ark to get an idea of the crazy schedule I worked for 6 years.  And an idea of how shitty some of my coworkers–and the younger vets–were.  And how those same co-workers are finishing up vet school right now.

My first nine-ten years as a veterinary assistant, I was always the first to volunteer to work weekends and holidays.  I ALWAYS worked extra when the hospital needed it.  I understand the value of teamwork, and knew the position the veterinary business-owners were in.  I knew I should look at the bigger picture.  Every time some flake quit and we were short-staffed, or someone refused to do a bit extra for the good of the business and the good of their co-workers, or if the schedule got overbooked and overwhelmed–I stepped up.  I was always one going above and beyond.

Though, I hardly ever got anything out of this (extra money, bonus pay/trinkets, make-up time off, put on the “good-list”) I looked ahead.  Back then, it was enough to know that in the end all the effort and sacrifice would be worth it–I would realize my dream of being a vet.  One day, I would make my OWN rules.  And they would be superior.  MY hospital would not have these same problems, because I lived through them as a grunt.  I did the hard work so I knew I was bound to reap all the benefits.

Vet school admissions did not care. Instead they rewarded my flaky, absentee, and dead-beat co-workers who only sort of worked. My hard work got me nothing but tired, bitter, in debt (low pay, high school loans) and rejected from veterinary school.  As a matter of fact, I would blame a lot of the extra working and stepping up for my lack of 4.0 GPA that got me HERE.  “Here,” being 28 years old, paying impossibly high undergrad loans, in a dead-end job with low pay/high stress, in SpoCompton, and starting over from the very beginning on a new career.

Lesson 1:  Loyalty and dedication will get you–nowhere.

Since my dream has alluded me, I am much more wise to the cost-benefit scenario.  Which is why I just refuse to let the vet hospital I work for right now (or any vet hospital ever again) to use me up.  When it comes down to it people are going to look after their own self interests.  This is not good or bad necessarily–just human nature.  As long as your boss isn’t directly affected by a short staff or tasks undone, they don’t care if the work-load is unequal.  They will approach the weaker links and guilt them into doing more then normal, in the name of trust and respect.

Lesson 2:  The employees that go above and beyond, work hard, help extra, get things done fast–are exploited.  

Fact A)  If you are lazy, adhere strictly to your schedule, refuse to trade or accommodate others:  The boss will stop asking you to do so.  Sure they see it as not trusting/respecting/depending on you, but in effect–you are rewarded, by NOT having to do any more then the bare minimum to keep your job.

Example A)  People that went on, or are going to go on, vacation are complaining about working extra when it is someone else’s turn for vacation.  To amend this Employer, first, uses snide comments to employee with impending day off.  Secondly, tries guilting employee to get them to work MORE than the previously discussed extra days.  Third, tells whiny employees to call co-worker into work on their (my) day off.  And I’m certain, finally gives the cold-shoulder to “lazy” employee who had the audacity to take their normal day off while someone else was on vacation.

As a side-note:  I DID go in to work on my day off.  It didn’t sit well either because I was the first employee there on the “crazy-busy day.”  There were 4 hospitalized cats.  The schedule showed one dental, then 3 appointments starting late morning–one was a recheck and one was a simple drain removal.  Ummm–I suppose “crazy-busy” is subjective.  The tech pretended she didn’t even have a CLUE I was called into work.  Until the other co-worker came in, and she said, “she did get your message” and I knew that at least those two had discussed my coming in.  And everyone acted like–you should be here, not thankful in the least.  One of our doctors called and my co-worker said, “She did show up.”  *insert snarky tone* So I knew my boss and all my co-workers had been conspiring against me, and looking down on me for (intending on) taking my normal time off.  Anyway, I cleaned all the cages, started laundry, and finished setting up for the only procedure of the morning–by myself.  Then, the answering machine was checked and the dental had cancelled.  So I had come in (out of guilt) on my day off, to clean 4 cages and start laundry. . .  The tech said, “Aren’t we lucky?!”  Then looked at me and said, “Well you’re probably wondering why you’re here now.”  And I said, “Somebody is lucky, but I don’t think I’m a part of that ‘we.'”  And I just left then and there.  What a waste of gas.

Which brings me back to my point of everyone only looking out for themselves.  So the employer LET everyone go on vacation during the same month.  When you approved simultaneous vacations, you made a conscious choice–I had no part in that decision, so I should have no part in that decision’s consequences either.  Not my fault, so it shouldn’t be my problem.  Maybe the boss should have come in on HER day off to help clean cages and start laundry?  Why should I (or anyone else) have to forgo their normal time off?  What do I GET out of it?  You shouldn’t offer vacation time if you have no back-up plan, anyway.  If you can’t schedule accordingly or have a substitute when people are absent, let people TRADE for strings of days off.  If the tech wants days A, B, and C off she could trade the assistant for days D, E, and F.  And it’s up to those two to work out which days work for both of them (with employer approval of course).  No day is left short, and two people have taken strings of days off.  Winning.

Fact B)  It’s true, when it comes right down to it co-workers are going to look after their own schedule, make sure their own vacations are plausible, and do however much, however fast they are comfortable with, no matter the burden on you, the business, and everybody else.

Example B)  So you want Thursday, Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday off (just for the summer!) and want me to give up my Thursday-day-off to accommodate YOU?  And you had the worst timing ever, asking during the short-staffed month, when semester projects and finals are impending for school.  Honestly, what kind of reaction were you expecting during this time of high stress???  This is not a mutually beneficial scenario.  Not only did I apply for all my vacation time so it is expanded by my day and a half off, but I am still the ONLY employee to work every Saturday.  WHY IS EVERYONE, BOSS INCLUDED, SO QUICK TO FORGET THAT?!  In addition, I would still have to fight (see previous sentence) to get my half day off–every friggin’ week.  People, I have a weekly half day off because I work all Saturdays.  All. Of. Them.

AND trading days off with you would then get put smack dab in the middle of a week–which sucks.  Wednesday only works for you, because you already have TWO full days off, and every other Saturday off (a better schedule then my current one).  And, worst of all if I traded around with you I would have to work with Dr.  “Makes me effing crazy.”  Three.  Days.  In.  A.  Row on some weeks.  I would have to be institutionalized.  Serious–no exaggeration.  My answer is N-O, and I think it was disrespectful and selfish for you to even ask me and then for you to act chilly toward me when I gave you my honest reason for not wanting to.  And why put it all on me anyway?  Ask the receptionist to work out an A and B schedule with you–since you two already rotate Saturdays.  If you offered to work some of her Fridays so she could have Friday through Monday off every other week, things might work out well for BOTH of you.  I don’t need to be involved at all.

I can compromise.  Compromise being doing something I don’t really love, in exchange for getting something back–that the other party may not love.  I can compromise.  And I will.  But I’m no longer going to put myself in a lose-lose position.  I will mentally run a cost-benefit and fairness analysis first.

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A Fair Shake

7 Apr

My posts make it sounds like I hate my job and everybody there.  This is not the case.

The frustration with this (and ANY) vet hospital is the culmination of 12 ish years getting a raw deal in assorted ways:

DVVH:  I was constantly told I was THE most dedicated employee who went above and beyond at my job, yet I didn’t get a raise for two and a half years–and then it was +0.30 cents above my minimum wage salary.  I worked all holidays–without any overtime pay.  We regularly stayed a minimum of an hour later then we were told.  We were regularly understaffed.

Noah’s Ark:  I was constantly making up for the negligence, in either attendance or competent work, of my co-workers (who then waltzed into vet school).  My schedule WORE.  Me.  Out.  Once, I worked over 30 days in a row (see hog blog).  I had to work a lot of hours all the time, every other Saturday and twice a day Sunday, and extra on every holiday.  I did take a couple of trips, missing work, during my employment, but I had to FIGHT to get them. . .  And endure being on the “bad list” before and after each of them.  Also, I ate my lunch on the run–pretty much as I was working–all 6 years.

Emergency:  Luckily, I worked only 2 days a week.  On these days, I worked (very short staffed) without a lunch OR dinner break for 12 hours straight.  When I say break, I don’t mean a legit sit down and stop working while I have a full-on meal or *gasp* leave the premesis, I mean any time at all even to grab something to eat.  They understaffed dramatically!  They would write my checks out for random amounts (always shorting me) so I had to keep an eye on my hours and regularly e-mail about getting more of my money.

Aurora:  We were over-scheduled to a point, that in order to do the expected daily cleaning tasks I would have to come in an hour early, after work closed (can’t mop when anyone is in the building!), or Sundays.  Lunches were always cut into, because they would schedule either vet or tech appointments right through that time.  I would be working my a$$ off while the “office manager” strutted around as a peacock, and the oldest employees (vets included) would play on their phones/internet.  We should have had enough staff, but if you only count people that actually worked–we were drastically under-staffed.

Those are negative things I can think of at the moment anyway.  AND there were good things, for major example:  My twice-three times yearly bonus checks at Noah’s Ark.  We’re talking $3,000 to $4,000 checks, here x multiple times a year.  That is awesome, and I appreat(ed) them very, very much.  In fact, because of those bonuses, I can hardly criticize my employers at Noah’s Ark at all.  I’m sure I have an overabundance of bad stories about each place though.  You just hear it about my current job, because that’s where I am day in day out, and because now I have this blog forum.  Believe me, this is the best of any vet job I’ve had.  It’s just the way all vet hospitals are run that has made me tired of taking the crap.

And as for the doctor I don’t like to work with currently:  Dr. Pig-Sty, Dr. Noncommunication, Dr. No-Time-Managment Skills.  Whatever you want to call her–is someone whose WORK style I cannot stand.  But I think she’s a nice person.  It’s not that I don’t like her at all.  Now, Ev in Seattle–I didn’t like at all.  The vet at emergency–I thought was negligent and too gruff/antisocial.  Mary doesn’t really count since she and I had a major (personal) falling out, due to her mid-life crises, but I liked working for her the first time around, and I think (when she does show up to work) she’s the best veterinarian I’ve worked for.  THIS vet–at least has a decent personality.  I like to have conversations with her.  She’s interested in feminism, in fitness, in news–she has interesting things to say.  I could see having a beer and a chat with her.  She just makes me effing crazy at work.

WORSE Jobs Then Mine

17 Feb

In the interest in enjoying MY job again, here is a list of things that would be even worse:

Job at a sewage treatment plant.

Addiction counselor at a homeless shelter.

Working as a janitor at Wal-Mart.  Check that–just working at Wal-Mart.

Past veterinary jobs I’ve had:  Emergency where I would work 12 hour shifts with literally no breaks, AND the doctors would be MIA, Aurora vet hospital with pretentious and entitled clients and cold co-workers, DVVH with a mid-life crises boss who scape-goated me, or even Noah’s Ark where I had to spend 3-6 hours per day walking/cleaning/treating a high volume of animals with irresponsible co-workers.

Any night job.  9 PM-4:30 AM will.  Not.  Work.

Daycare or preschool aide working with toddlers.

Working at the food stamp office, DMV, or any other disgruntled government operation.

Any type of engineer or mathematician.

Sales–especially if travel is required.

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MY Hospital [Part 2: Physical Hospital Organization]

29 Oct

-keep hospital name, number, address, and vets on walls by all phones

-play classical music in reception.

-in reception, have a gift shop with leashes, treats, books, etc. . .

-keep dog scale in reception to be easily accessible

-hang price sheets by phone

-have file boxes for prescriptions, drop offs, hospitalization, surgery, and boarding in back

-have file boxes in reception for drop off, hospital, surgery, and boarding going home that day

-in reception, have mail-box-type square slots for multiple filled prescriptions–behind some sort of locak-able door?

-in reception, have a file box for “to-be filed” records

-no clutter on reception counter, exam rooms, etc. . .

-have breath mints, lint brush, outside exam rooms

-have slot for files outside each exam room door

-have each exam room stocked identically

-have cat exam room with scale and cat stuff inside

-don’t store product/hospital supplies in exam rooms

-keep a mini fridge in each exam room with vax

-in pharmacy, have a list taped to doors of what meds are in each cabinet and what shelf it’s on

-in cupboard have names of drugs typed on shelf where it belongs

-have a tiny fridge just for meds

-inside pharmacy cabinets have rows labeled for specific meds

-put a whiteboard by all phones in the back

-have a bulletin board in back with vet names on top for phone messages

-1 book for each logged controlled substance—all stored in an accordion “pendiflex” file

-have internet access in common area that can be monitored

-have a treatment board for hospital meds and squares to be checked off twice a day

-have a separate board for routine vax

-have a surgery board that displays pet first and last name, weight and results of mandatory pre-surgery blood work

-also have a scale in back near sx prep area

-use colored letter stickers with first 2 letters of owner last name on radiographs

– type radiograph labels in consistent manner

-on radiograph envelope, mark first and last name of animal, date each radiograph is taken, what part was radiographed, and vet who ordered/took it

-keep sheet next to processor to show date & person who cleaned and refilled fluids

-never dump processor chem down the sink

-immediately outside surgery room have a cupboard (like in den) for gloves, masks, etc

-have small washer & dryer just for sx items

-put spray hose on bathtub

-use plastic storage drawers as well as shelves in inventory room

-in overstock room, have shelves with specific labels for products

-in inventory room, food room, vax fridge, and pharmacy have check lists to mark off items as they are used