When you step into the veterinary clinic, chances are the first person you see is not the vet. Client Service Representatives (CSRs), Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) also called Vet Nurses, Techs, Vet Assistants or Animal Care Assistants (ACAs) all work as “support staff”. No matter what you call them; the support staff are doing it all.
But the way we see it, the team that runs the show, and allows doctors to focus on medicine are not given nearly enough credit.
From booking appointments, to tackling spicy pets for blood draws or nail trims; support staff are often pulled in multiple directions and expected to do it all, with a smile on their face. So why then, do we see such a dramatic respect difference from clients when it comes to dealing with support staff?
The support staff are often just as involved in the triaging and care, just as emotionally invested, and equally as knowledgeable. Without them, the veterinary hospital would cease to run.
So what can we do about it?
The first step in change is recognizing the need for it. Within the hospital, team members should continue to treat their staff with the respect and value they treat doctors with. Try using “Power Thank-You’s”, which elaborate on the merit of the words.
An example being: “Thank you for doing that cytology so quickly, it allows the appointment to run much smoother for me!”
Have a monthly book club to bring everyone closer, organize a restaurant night or write randomized “warm and fuzzy” statements calling out excellent work from team members.
Changes to how we interact with our own team members, can dramatically make a difference in the work environment and show them just how valued they are.
Now when it comes to the client facing side, we can encourage more respect for our support staff by singing the praises of the unsung heroes to the clients. Ensuring the clients see how much we value our team members work behind the scenes and verbalising how appreciative we are for their roles.
The reality is - vet hospitals are not a one person show. Medicine takes a whole health care team. Without the incredibly skilled support staff, veterinarians would not be able to do what they do.
As such, hospitals - as well as the industry as a whole - needs to not only actively build up support staff but also go above and beyond to ensure that clients are respecting and valuing the work they put in everyday.
We at Scribenote would like to shout out, and thank all of the incredible and dedicated technicians, client service representatives and assistants that tackle the many roles and responsibilities their jobs throw at them.
We see you, we respect you and we deeply appreciate you.