Professional Behavior in the Workplace for Vet Techs
March 18, 2015
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Being a veterinary technician is a rewarding career — and fun if you love animals. Who wouldn't want to experience stories of joyous recoveries and have hilarious tales to tell at family gatherings? But sometimes, amid all the "barking," being a professional can take a back seat. Here are a few tips on professional behavior in the workplace to help you keep it together.
Pay Attention to Your Appearance
The standard scrub set is one of those amazing perks of working in medical fields: They're comfortable, easy to clean and come in neat colors and patterns. When working in the veterinary clinic, these attributes can sometimes get lost behind mounds of animal fur. A good tip for all animal caretakers is to bring a change of work clothes and to use those handy lint rollers that are a staple of every veterinary office. Wiping a damp paper towel gently across your scrubs will also remove the hair and fur that looks careless in excess. Keeping your uniform fresh gives the appearance of a clean, well-run office and good personal hygiene while lessening the chances of disease transmission from one pet to another. If you have long hair, it should be worn pulled up or back and out of the way. Jewelry should be minimal and discreet, as well.
Never Critique the Client in Private
You may think that door is closed, but Room 2 heard you say that "Mrs. Jones has no business owning that puppy." Unfortunately, that's Mrs. Jones' room. You don't want to return to an upset client, and this is never a good situation. Mrs. Jones might forgive you, but she might also tell all her friends what a horrible staff your clinic has. If you must tell stories later on, make sure you alter the names or speak in general terms; other clients don't appreciate hearing a mean opinion, either.
Speaking to the veterinary client about his or her pet is truly an art. All types of people have pets, and your communication with one client might be completely different from the next. A good rule is to speak as though you're addressing a young adult, and explain medical terms and technical procedures as you use them. Some clients ask questions that are unexpected, others may mispronounce things and some are very, very confused. Your job in these situations is to never to be condescending or judgmental. Instead, explain the discrepancies, answer the questions and, if necessary, excuse yourself to regain your composure.
Respect Your Co-workers
One of the biggest workplace issues in any field is gossip. It's rude and unprofessional and rarely has positive consequences on clinic culture. Keep conversations between co-workers positive and strive to settle differences between the people involved. If there are problems that are difficult to resolve — such as personality conflict, grievances of behaviors or after-work drama spilling into work — it may be necessary to ask a third party for intervention. Most problems can be resolved simply through communication, scheduling and compromise.
Above all, remember your position as a veterinary technician calls for professional behavior in the workplace. Some days may be more difficult than others, but in the long run, the people who count will notice and remember your efforts.
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