Believe it or not, performing surgery isn’t what drains me — most days!
Probably the most exhausting part of my job is talking on the phone. I was saying to a vet friend of mine the other day, “Veterinary school did not prepare me for how much I would have to talk on the phone!” She agreed and said, “Just talking in general.” So true!
Do not get me wrong, communication and the relationships we have with the hospitals we serve and the clients we have are the lifeblood of our business, but it can be draining! Every career, every job, every role has a facet that is more draining than the rest. We need to do the work of uncovering what’s most draining so we can turn to the work of balance.
Many days, we are actually finished with surgery in the early afternoon (one of the many things I love about my job) yet I am still stuck with a phone that is always ringing. Just the other day, I took my dogs for a 45-minute walk and when I returned there were 6 phone calls I missed. I then have to spend time returning calls or they are hanging over my head until we deal with them the next day.
It has gotten to the point that I think we are not serving our customers as well as we should because I will often just let them go to voicemail even though the workday is still going on for everyone else.
I knew it was time for me to stop carrying the phone at all in order to get some sanity back in my life. The obstacle that kept me from doing this sooner was that we did not have a consistent second surgical assistant. One person worked Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and another person worked with us just on Tuesdays (there’s a long story about how this transpired, but this is the way it has been for years). That one issue kept me from being able to hand of the phone at the end of our workday during the week.
After much contemplation and angst, I knew it was time to make that leap and have two full time assistants which meant the wonderful, awesome veterinary technician who has been with me for 5 years was no longer going to be able to work with us on Tuesdays.
I will be honest with you, this is not a decision I wanted to make. I love this person very much and she was a rock for me when we had all those team issues a few years ago. She is a rock-star technician who has been able to do this job with excellence while only doing it once a week. Nicole and I really just enjoy working with her and seeing her once a week. Restructuring my team without her was not an easy task!
As Nicole said, “Sometimes it sucks to be the boss.” Truer words have never been spoken.
What I do know though is sometimes hard decisions have to be made.
Sometimes the right decision is the hardest decision.
What hard decision have you been putting off?
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