Editor's note: Positive progression in veterinary hospital design


Involvement in a hospital design project requires lots of attention to detail-but don't let that cause you to lose sight of your overall purpose.

“There’s always room for improvement.”

You’ve likely heard this common saying several times before. It’s a phrase that keeps people striving for more. It pushes them to explore their resources, discover new ways to change the world around them and succeed in this increasingly fast-paced society.

It also reminds us that because nothing is static, no project is ever 100 percent complete. For some, that’s incredibly daunting-especially if you apply it to veterinary hospital design. If you’re a practice owner, you may be thinking something along the lines of this: Wait a minute. I just completed a giant remodel that cost me quadruple the price of my own house (or more). You mean to tell me my work still isn’t done?

Don’t shoot the messenger. There are always ways to improve upon your practice, even after you’ve changed the design—but you already knew that. Still, it can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The idea of improvement as a constant process, a continual reaching for achievement of goals that are also shifting over time-which, for some, renders their already-unrealistic goal of perfection impossible-can lead you down a very slippery slope if you only focus on the negative.

Whether you’re still in the planning stages, pending construction or finishing your new clinic, it’s easy to get bogged down with the details and the what ifs: What if we used this material for the floors instead? I’m worried the kennel area won’t turn out large enough. I wish we’d thought to add an extra exam room or two.

But stop for a second: why are you doing all of this? Ultimately, you’d like to improve the health of your patients, right? You want to serve and care for them the best you can, and a great facility is a solid basis for that.

Your patients (and clients and staff, for that matter) are no exception to the rule-they are always changing. So even if construction on your clinic just wrapped up, once you settle back in, you can bet you’re going to find a list of things you forgot or wish you had added. Even Merit Award-winning practice owners feel this way-click here to see for yourself.

The sooner we accept that the course of improvement is never-ending, the easier it is for us to look at the larger picture and see what opportunities we may have to make advances down the line. We can use what we have available to us at the moment, make a plan for the future and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

More importantly, it allows us to appreciate what’s happening right now. So remember to celebrate the tiny victories as you go through your own design process—as they add up, you’ll see just how many reasons you have to be happy with your veterinary practice.

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