Podcast #16

When you are looking to start your career, or switch jobs, you will often be looking at a multitude of clinics. Most job ads are relatively similar, ‘We have all the toys…we have a great team…. We want someone that has a positive attitude to join our work family…’. It can be very hard to know if that clinic will actually be good to work for once the Job Ad is over. Also, what indicators exist that suggest a really good clinic?
swimmers in green caps running into the water at the start of a race.
KICK ASS VETS will go over surface indicators that are a 'litmus test' that underlying, this clinic might be great to work for!
Below are some ‘Green Flags’. Surface indicators that are suggestive of a good work environment:
Clinics that are able to communicate efficiently and effectively throughout the entire interview process are more likely to have good communication, and an organized practice moving forward. This also suggests that you will have better communication when discussing cases, that the clinic will be more open to discussing any changes you might suggest, and you will be more likely to have performance reviews. Also, if you have a difficult client they are more likely to be supportive and helpful in resolving your conflict.
A clinic that asks for, or at least is very supportive of, a working interview is a clinic that wants to ensure they pick the best person for the job, as well as a clinic that isn’t trying to hide anything. Clinics that enforce a working interview are less likely to be desperate, and are more likely to be concerned about having a happy working team. Also, great clinics will organize various opportunities for their potential staff, including surgeries or other procedures, to not only expose the possible staff to their working environment but to assess the skills of that employee.
A clean and organized clinic, where the current staff can find everything they need readily and cages aren’t left for hours uncleaned, is a sign of a well oiled machine! It implies that the clinic values efficiency and systems that will make your work day more organized, as well as a sign that it is staffed well enough to keep drawers stocked, and cages/floors clean. It implies a well-functioning clinic. You can start this investigation through images or videos found on job ads!
soapy dog in bathtub.
A clean and organized clinic is not only nice to work in, but it is an indication of a well-staffed, motivated and happy work environment!
Clinics that have a good working relationship with specialists, a good continued education plan, and an attitude to willingness to learn and adapt to new medicine is always a good sign. This not only shows that clinics are performing appropriate medicine, but they are more likely to be willing to let you perform the medicine you have just been taught, more likely to have a cliental base that is interested in good medicine and less likely to fight you on new practices. In your interview ask about VIN memberships, relationships with specialists, and about CE.
Clinics that have a friendly, well-staffed team, especially when staff have been at the clinic for many years, is a very good sign. This indicates not only a friendly working environment, but also that there is room for you to grow and progress academically. It also indicates that you are much more likely to receive good mentorship, and are much more likely to have successful salary negotiations as there is likely room to grow financially. Also, a clinic having long-term experienced staff can be amazing- a good nurse is worth a thousand textbooks!
Clinics that are busy but well functioning, and that see a diverse case-load, are great to keep your brain occupied and give you exposure to new challenges. However, this also suggests that the clinic owner/manager is a good business person, that the clinic has a good reputation, and that the clinic is practicing up-to-date medicine by seeing many different types of cases. This also suggests there will be opportunity for you to pursue individual interests as your career progresses.
exam of a snake's mouth
A fun consult, this little guy had a piece of his substrate stuck in his mouth. Being in a clinic where you see a diverse case-load is not only fun, but suggests that a clinic is still motivated to learn and try new things!
Equipment that is up to date, functional, and appropriately used in the clinic is important. If full in-house bloodwork is not available, a clinic having a relationship with a lab where there is pick-up either once or twice a day is important, along with some minimal in-house bloodwork required for emergencies (blood glucose, BUN sticks, PCV/TP). This shows that a clinic is using the tools they have efficiently and effectively, and that the clinic is organized.
Clinics that have a well thought-out, and made well ahead of time schedule is a plus. This suggests not only that you will know your schedule ahead of time, but also that there is either enough staff for the clinic to predict the schedule, or that they will put their full-time staffs’ needs first. Also, this suggests an organized clinic, and this means you are less likely to be working late and overtime.
A clinic that has access to resources for you to use day-to-day is helpful. This includes good textbooks for you refer to, as well as a VIN login for the clinic. This suggests not only that the staff are continually learning from their cases, but also that the clinic owner/manager is putting financial resources into the clinic to ensure good medicine, instead of hoarding every possible penny for profit.
All of the ‘Green Flags’ above can be determined as present or not during your interview (or better yet, working interview!). You will never know for sure how a boss/manager will be when you ask to do an ultrasound course in 2 years, or ask for a raise in 6 months, however the indicators above, if present, will suggest an underlying behaviour/ideology that makes future actions more likely.
Written by Dr. Ann Herbst BSc, DVM

Published August 1st, 2019

Advocate for yourself, you are the only one that will!

Most Recent Blogs
KICK ASS Boundaries for Locums
Locuming can leave you just as stressed and exhausted as full-time work, if you don't set the right boundaries!
Imposter Syndrome
Chances are you will experience Imposter Syndrome in your career, so tackle it head on!
KICK ASS Confidence
Confidence is knowing that you cannot know everything, and new/recent graduates need to know this!
Stay In Touch With Kick Ass Vets