Who are the support staff members who work in veterinary clinics?
Let me tell you about the ones who work for me, in chronological order, as they come to work each day..
Kristi arrives early, sometimes before I’m even awake. Her first duties are to feed, water and exercise the pets that are boarded or hospitalized. Those who are on medication get treated prior to the arrival of the rest of the staff. She lovingly cleans and disinfects each pet’s cage. She always takes the time to talk to each dog or cat and pet them so they know they’re appreciated.
All this time she has a phone in her pocket in case a client has an early-morning need for an appointment or just pet care advice.
Kristi usually takes care of having the lights and computers on, also before anyone else arrives.
Somewhere around 7:30 she changes hats and begins to take in surgery patients for the day and prepare for the outpatients we will see before surgery.
Around that same time Stephanie, our receptionist, arrives and takes over office duties.
Kristi shifts gears and assists in the Examination Rooms, Laboratory and Treatment Room as we see outpatients.
Later, when appointment time is finished, she changes modes again and becomes my very-talented surgical assistant.
Stephanie has a warm, welcoming smile as pet owners arrive at our hospital, and an understanding voice as she answers the phone countless times each day.
She is expected to juggle the phone, check someone out after a visit and pull medical records all at the same time. Her duties include typing, filing, pharmaceutical inventorying/ordering and much more. Sometimes a receptionist works in the office so much she loses skills she has previously honed in the Examination and Treatment Rooms. To keep those skills up, she helps out there, too.
Just before noon Shelly arrives to begin her workday. As a mother of four, including a premature newborn, she’s already done a day’s work before she arrives at our hospital.
Shelly is a charmer who makes pets and people instantly comfortable.
Cindy is the team member our clients never see. She cares for our boarders on weekends and holidays. Cindy allows us to have time with our families.
You might think that Cindy takes on this job because she has nothing else to do, or to have some time with pets because she has none of her own. On the contrary, Cindy has a full-time job during the week and four dogs of her own. She just loves helping pets that much.
I am blessed to have Shelly, Kristi, Stephanie and Cindy. They are a terrific team of pet owners and pet lovers without whom I couldn’t begin to care for our patients.
They are the best team a veterinarian could ever hope for.
One must be a special person to work in a veterinary hospital. She, or he, must be a good balance and combination of soft and tough, strong and gentle. Smart. Quick. Devoted. Friendly. Helpful. Flexible. Cheerful. Willing to sacrifice. Tireless.
Are you good enough?