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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Birch Baker

What we do at High Street Veterinary Surgery makes it a Smooth Operating Practice.

We have RULES at High Street Veterinary Surgery.

Well, they are kinda guidelines, really because everybody needs to work within some guidelines. - (Thank you Jack Sparrow)

I learnt this when raising children, training dogs and horses and working with cattle on property.

I could not have everyone and everything running about doing their own thing, especially the dogs!

The impact of the dogs doing whatever they wanted, even though they were well-trained dogs, would be chaotic, and cattle would go everywhere.

The guidelines were, let's work together to get the cattle into a mob and then guide them in this group towards the yards and then quietly and calmly move them into the yards.

Dog rules: 1. You stay behind me until I ask you to do anything different. That way, I knew where they were all the time.

  1. Don't bark. You upset everybody when you do this—particularly cows with calves. A corollary to this is that people do not shout, yell or bark either. Otherwise, it becomes acceptable.

What has this to do with working in a veterinary practice?

LEAD BY DOING. If you obey the rules, then the others will.

Rule 1 The intent is good Rule 2 the no-blame rule Rule 3 the no-disrespect rule Rule 4 No swearing Rule 5 Every pet deserves to be seen by our wonderful team. Book an appointment.

Rule 1 The intent is good. Start with this, thinking that everybody, the clients, the team, the suppliers, and everyone intends to and wants to do the right thing. Because they do.

Rule 2 The no-blame rule. When things go wrong, look at why, not who. Were they not trained properly, were they tired? How do I, as the manager, fix this and ensure it does not happen again and ensure the team understands this?

Rule 3 The no-disrespect rule. If someone is snappy, are they tired, or have a problem at home? Feeling ill? When ready, ask them and talk about it. Do not assume there is trouble in the camp. There is generally a reason, and kindness is the best way to deal with it. We do a workshop on this and ongoing discussions.

Rule 4 No swearing. Well, Sometimes one lets loose. But then they apologise. It's the insidiousness of constant swearing and acceptable use of nasty words that cannot be tolerated. It's a precursor to bullying.

Rule 5 Every pet deserves to be seen by our wonderful team. Book an appointment. This is a bit of an outlier. But we are at the clinic, here to help animals. Book them in, and do not try to solve their problems over the phone.

So that's it, really. Everyone on the team knows these rules and appreciates that we all work within these guidelines.

As I said, you cannot have everyone running about doing their own thing; everyone MUST be working together to achieve the same outcome, be it getting cattle into the yards or saving pets' lives.

You know what, the best thing is? This works!!

One of our wonderful vets loves these rules/ guidelines and has made up a little story to help her remember. It goes like this: "At High Street Vets, we always welcome our clients in. We treat each person with respect which means no swearing. If something happens to a client or pet that is disappointing, we always believe that the intent was good and will work it out with no blame."

This is different to our VALUES.

Our Values were discussed and agreed on by the whole team and are reviewed regularly.

We can talk about them next time.

Cheers, Jocelyn

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