3 (positivity) mind hacks for veterinary technicians

September 19, 2019
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

In a session focused on small, practical changes veterinary technicians can make in their thinking and habits to prevent compassion fatigue or burnout, Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Kristina Guldbrand, ACC, BS, CVT, CSP, offered more than a dozen suggestions. Here are our three favorites.

Anton Matigorov/stock.adobe.comAddressing small steps to manage tough experiences in the workday of veterinary technicians-and hoping to start attendees on the journey to healing-Kristina Guldbrand, ACC, BS, CVT, CSP, gave Fetch dvm360 attendees many tools in her session “The black hole of veterinary medicine: Burnout and compassion fatigue.” Here were a few on the menu you could share your own veterinary team.

Break-time timer 

A veterinary technician for 12 years in shelters as well as general, emergency and specialty practices, Guldbrand told audience members she knew the pain of neglecting your own physical and emotional needs on the job. She said she wound up with a kidney infection and missed work because she didn't take enough breaks to hydrate and urinate: “Because I didn't have the ability to take care of myself, or thought I didn't, I made myself sick.”

That prompted the practice team to finally make a small but important change to ensure people got the breaks they needed. And all it involved was a timer and a Post-it.

“You started the timer, put your name on a Post-it, and were allowed to walk away for 10 minutes,” Guldbrand says. “Anybody can get by without you for 10 minutes. You didn't need to explain yourself. It was a game-changer.”

Build better affirmations

Do positive statements work for you? Guldbrand encouraged attendees to make affirmations that can be true even on a busy, crazed day where you wind up with more work than expected.

“Don't say you'll get all 15 things done on your to-do list,” she said, because at the end of the day if you only get to 10, you might beat up on yourself. “Say, ‘Today, I'm going to do the best job I can. I'm a hard worker.'”

Affirm who you are and your overall intentions-not your checklist.

A final request

Guldbrand wrapped up with something she said optimists do, according to studies, either consciously or not: Look for things to be grateful for.

It takes 21 days to build a habit, she says, and in this case you're trying to notice good things in your environment, not bad things.

“Speak or write three specific things you're grateful for every day for 21 days,” she told attendees. “That's my challenge for you.”

And now it's a challenge from Fetch dvm360 for you.