If you ask employees what would make them feel appreciated, you will notice that many of them will say that they would simply appreciate a “thank you” or “good job”. You can increase wages, benefits and retirement packages, but if your employees don’t feel appreciated you are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Saying thank you, showing appreciation and acknowledgement doesn’t mean we all have to sit around a drum circle singing kumbaya and patting each other on the back. But taking the time to notice an employee’s good behavior and work ethic will likely improve morale and sprinkle some sunshine into what may have been a dark and dreary day.
When I first came into practice at an ER facility, I had no idea what I was doing. I was an assistant and had restraint skills, but not really any technical skills. One of the first cases I remember was a cat who came in laterally recumbent and was having difficult time breathing. It was a crazy night and all of the other assistants and technicians were in the middle of about 20 million other emergent tasks. I remember doing the only thing I knew how to do: I comforted the kitty and gave it oxygen via face mask while the doctor spoke to the owners about its condition. Honestly, I felt absolutely helpless. I couldn’t place an IV catheter. I couldn’t take radiographs by myself. I felt like I was letting the doctor and the cat down.
After discussing the cat’s prognosis, the owner elected euthanasia. I continued to pet the cat and provide flow-by oxygen while a licensed technician placed an IV catheter. I briefly spoke to the owner and told them how sorry I was that they had to make this decision. My doctor gave the final injection and the cat was at peace. I went home that night and felt like a little fish in a really big pond!
I woke up and continued on at work making it a point to absorb any information I could. About a week later I received a card in my mailbox at work. The dyspneic cat’s owner had taken the time to tell me thank you and that she appreciated me being there to pet her cat and talk to him during his final moments. I was amazed that this woman even remembered my name. I felt so utterly useless that I never even realized that it meant something to her. I have saved that postcard for 14 years and often read it when I am having a bad day.
Appreciation is something that all of us human beings strive for. We want the approval of our peers and coworkers. The easiest way to do this is simply to say “thank you” or give genuine compliments on work performance. Hearing “Hey, good job getting that IV catheter in that bulldog.”, or “You did a great job keeping your calm dealing with Mrs. Grouchypants today!” is the little boost you can give to your employees and coworkers to really make them feel appreciated.
You never know what kind of day someone is having, and small acts of kindness may truly push this person to smile and do the best they can. Kindness is something we should strive for in our profession and as human beings. Believe it or not, it very well may be the thing that gives you a happy and cohesive team.
We should also not forget to be appreciative to our veterinarians and management team. So often we forget that they don’t always get the thanks they deserve. It means a lot to show support and appreciation to those above us. Be grateful for any knowledge they bestow upon us. The sense of responsibility they have pales in comparison to our daily tasks. Never forget whose butt is on the line when things go wrong. So in closing, I simply say “thank you” to those who have taken the time to read my little article. It means a lot to me and I hope that in some small way it brings perspective to you! Kindness costs nothing! Sprinkle it on everything!
About the Author
Jade is a licensed technician of 9 years who lives in Port Orchard, Washington. She enjoys emergency and critical cases, dentistry and creating a bond with her clients and team. During her off time she is busy keeping up with her two crazy Basenjis!