You have been given the opportunity to join a very elite club. It involves long days, sometimes even longer nights, sick patients literally falling from the ceiling with a slow appointment slot or two squeezed in between. Do you join? Or rescind the invitation that has been thrust upon you?!? You didn’t ask for this, but you know it happens every year. The crazy days of summer are here! But wait… they have been here for some of us, for the past two months or so. The month of May brings the end of the school year to a close and kicks off the beginning of summer break for most of us. How do we survive and stay sane?

May is a roller coaster of busy days and lagging hours. One day is slow, will it stay the same? Not likely, it’s probably because it’s the end of the school year, field day, end of the year parties and awards programs are your client’s priority. The next day it is slammed, boarding at maximum capacity, no appointment left empty! What has happened? School is out, people are home with their children and pets. Most importantly for them, summer vacation has started.

Truth be told, this is not “vacation time” in the field of veterinary medicine. If anything, many of us dread the summer months and the craziness it brings. How do you cope? Do you build up defenses over the years? Learn how to survive and pass your knowledge onto the younger ranks? Help your peers through the day with your words of wisdom? What is your secret? Care to hear mine?

Bring snacks and stay hydrated.

Food is love here in the South. Make a coffee run. Cupcakes are always a big hit! Water with fruit is a refreshing way to increase your water intake. Sometimes we get so sugared out it defeats us. A nice fruit or veggie tray hits the spot more often than not. Get a vendor to provide an ice cream truck or a food truck for your staff.  Just ask. They will do it! I promise! 

Laugh and try to relax when you can.

Laughter is truly the best medicine some days. Play music in your treatment area and sing along when the mood hits you. Pass the baton and let your co-workers pick their favorite station each day. Do you have a prankster amongst your staff? How many videos have we all watched, witnessing people playing jokes on their co-workers? Let that tiny DVM climb into the supply closet and jump out at the next person who opens it! Just don’t forget to let her out.

Take that puppy or kitten room or that healthy yearly appointment.

Let them make you smile and lick your face! See the family’s joy when you ask them where their new puppy came from and if he is fitting in well.  Scratch that cat behind the ears and let her head butt you while purring so loud you can’t even hear yourself think. 

Be positive.

I know it is hard and sometimes it sucks to be the cheerleader all of the time. But, your peeps need to hear your positivity. Keep up the kudos and “good job” comments. Know that all shifts will come to an end. In all honesty, someone is looking up to you I would bet. Show them the rockstar you are and that you do not let the hectic summer days get you down. You are better than the craziness that is walking through your clinic door and can handle anything thrown at you.

Take time for yourself.

Do you enjoy exercising? A quiet walk in the morning before your shift starts or an evening jog might just hit the spot. Yoga fanatic? Remember to make time to fit in that new class you have been wanting to try. Splurge and get yourself a pedicure. A massage. Eyeing those new shoes? Go for it. You deserve them. My go-to is a hot bath at the end of the day. I relax with a good book and a glass of wine or coffee depending on what I have going on the next day. I love dark chocolate, that is my weakness. A little piece here and there goes a long way. Try to fit in your decompression time as you can. Do not forget yourself. You are important, too. If we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of our patients and clients. They need us just as much as we need them. 


Jamie Rauscher is a Registered Veterinary Technician and Medical Manager of a nine doctor practice north of Atlanta. She is President of Georgia’s Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association and serves on several NAVTA committees. Her interests include pain management, sick pet care, and anesthesia as technician empowerment. She is currently pursuing her VTS in ECC.