Ignite your passion for practice with a little time off - Firstline
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Ignite your passion for practice with a little time off
Rekindle your love for veterinary medicine with time away from the job you love. Here are six steps to fan your flame


1. Just do it.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? But every action begins with a decision to change. Perhaps you're thinking, "I'm the assistant or receptionist. I don't make scheduling decisions. What can I do?" You can decide to change. Encourage your team to get out on time. Say, "There are two hours left until the end of our scheduled shift. Let's push hard, dig in, and we can all get out on time."

If you're a leader or a manager, hold a meeting and let your team know you're changing the tide and you're going to respect time. Let them know they are to leave no later than the designated hour. Then be there to shoo them out. We have even left phone calls for the following day, if they can wait, to ensure our team members' evenings off are secure.

2. Respect the day off.

If your co-worker is scheduled for a day off but you have a question, first ask yourself, "Can it wait?" If it can't wait for an answer, check within the hospital and medical notes to see if you can determine the answer from someone else. Perhaps they passed the case off to another co-worker. After checking with everyone else, as a very last resort, do you call the person on his or her day off? If there's a call for me on my day off, the caller is always super-apologetic, and the question is one only I can answer. This is either because I forgot to pass off the case, leave a medical note, or otherwise document what needs to be done next.

3. Value the vacation.

Your co-workers work hard to earn vacation time. So if you're a team leader or manager, how do you respond to vacation requests? You say yes, and you see to it they get that time off. Ask them where they're going and be excited for them. They'll come back to you happy and rested. Don't sigh and tell them you'll see what you can do. Take the request and work it out.

And as a team member, it's important to follow your hospital's protocols for requesting time off. Make sure you give adequate notice for your manager to make arrangements. And don't expect to be able to take impromptu mini-vacations at a moment's notice with no resistance. Give the respect you'd like to receive.

4. Have happy holidays.

As we approach the holidays, this can be a busier time in our industry—especially if you work in a facility with boarding. Respect that people have traditions and family events at Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and other holidays. Don't just schedule your team with a "deal with it, I have to cover the shifts" attitude. Remember, they love what they do, but they have lives outside your clinic's doors. Try this instead: Place a sign-up holiday sheet in the treatment area with the number of slots each day you need filled. Designate a technician, assistant, and so on, if you feel you need to. Then allow your team to write your holiday schedule for you! Let them know all shifts need to be covered and watch it happen. Your team members will be thrilled they had some say.

If you're not in charge of holiday scheduling, encourage team members to do their part to fill the holiday schedule. Keep positive with the changes and encourage others to do the same. An important note: Don't pressure people who aren't married or don't have kids to skip their own holiday celebrations to cover for others. It's important to respect everyone's need to celebrate holidays and enjoy time off in ways that are meaningful to them.



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