Project you: Continuing education in kindness

May 13, 2016
Sarah Mouton Dowdy
Sarah Mouton Dowdy

Sarah Mouton Dowdy, a former associate content specialist for dvm360.com, is a freelance writer and editor in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kindness and positivity in the workplace arent schmaltzy, starry-eyed idealstheyre necessities if you want to perform your best. Heres what the dvm360 editors have been reading, watching and doing to up their kindness quotient.

What we're reading…

Have you ever had your feathers ruffled and your day sabotaged by someone's rude comment or action? It's probably not because you're too sensitive. Rudeness distracts us from the task at hand and disrupts our ability to learn, understand and remember information-a fact that is annoying in everyday life and potentially devastating in the medical field.

According to this article in New York Magazine by Travis McKnight, a randomized trial published in the September 2015 issue of Pediatrics found that “a rude comment from a third-party doctor decreased performance among doctors and nurses by more than 50 percent in an exercise involving a hypothetical life-or-death situation.” According to Amir Erez, one of the study's authors, “You can be highly motivated to work, but if rudeness damages your cognitive system than you can't function appropriately in a complex situation. And that hurts patients.”

Thus, for your sanity and the safety of your patients, don't take rudeness in your clinic lightly. Want tips specific to your workplace? Here are 10 ways to breed positivity in your veterinary practice.

 

What we're watching…

Many have bought into the tired (and tiring!) flow chart where happiness follows hard work and success. According to this Ted talk from psychologist Shawn Achor, those who follow this model will only keep creating new goals that define success (e.g., a promotion, a new car, a new relationship, etc.) while happiness remains elusive. Achor insists we need to flip the flow. Those who want to be successful and become better at their jobs should start happy. People with a positive mental state are better at getting and keeping jobs, are more resilient and experience less burnout and turnover than those who are negative, neutral or stressed. Doctors who are positive are 19 percent faster and more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis (ahem…more support to eliminate rudeness in the workplace).

And just HOW do you START happy? Achor provides easy (we promise!) ideas for building lasting positive change that even a busy professional like yourself can fit into your daily or weekly routine. We're trying one out below…

 

What we're doing…

One of the ideas Achor puts forth in the TED talk is to engage in random acts of kindness, such as sending a quick note of appreciation to a colleague, mentor, or loved one. If you'd like some other ideas, check out this calendar from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but we guarantee you won't be getting eye rolls from the recipients of your kind acts.