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Great ideas for improving the health and well-being of your veterinary team

Posted in 1. Mental health resources @ Nov 25th 2019 - By Dr Sasha Nefedova, General Manager PETstock VET
Great Ideas For Improving The Health And Well Being Of Your Veterinary Team Red

Mental Health challenges in the vet industry have received lots of attention in recent months. 

From national interest on The Project to a review of Victorian Vet Board Guidelines, our profession is scrambling to work out the best solutions for affected individuals as well as safeguards for colleagues and patients coming across individuals with mental health challenges.

So where do you begin? 

At PETstock VET we run several projects to help improve health and wellbeing of all staff including our groomers, vets, office team and retail staff. 

Here are some of our initiatives that you may find useful in your practice.

Get your team “Fit for the Future”

Every month we pick a new focus for fitness and health including mindfulness/meditation exercises, fun runs, healthy cooking competitions, social engagement etc. 

It can be as simple or as complicated as you like and you can be creative with something that suits the size of your team. The point is to make it a priority, make it fun and get the leaders within your practice engaged and enthusiastic. If you make it a regular activity and participate yourself, your team is much more likely to follow.

We keep logs of our achievements (for example we had a month where each day you had to do 10 000 steps/day – most vet nurses I know would do this in half a shift!) and give prizes to teams that achieve the most for that month like movie tickets or a gift voucher.

Sharing & celebrating achievements

Our teams also post photos on Yammer (our internal company social media platform) to share fun images and keep up the momentum. If you don’t want to set up Yammer, then a Messenger Group or Facebook Private Group works just as well or you can keep it simple and just keep a tally on a whiteboard in your tearoom. 

Recently one of our clinics suggested some ‘in-clinic exercise tips’ to keep active when standing and monitoring an anaesthetic (squats are good – just remember to check for hazards!) or getting the whole team to do some jumping jacks before a surgery to get the blood flowing.  

Yes there is a cost, however....

All of this costs our time which is a significant expense – but the cost of an unhappy workplace can be far greater. 

If you’re not sure this will work for you start “on the lower dose range and do a treatment trial”. For example, maybe you could plan to start your team meeting with 5 minutes of physical activity and a ‘check in’ to hear a personal highlight from each team member. Then If you start to notice a change after 2-3 months, keep it going and always acknowledge your team members that are engaged and participating. 

If you have any questions for Sasha about the PETStock VET Fit for the Future initiative, just ask them in the Comments section below.

About Sasha

Dr Sasha Nefedova joined the PETstock VET team in August 2016 as General Manager following several years at the University of Melbourne developing their veterinary CPD programs. She has worked in general practice and ECC in Australia and the UK. Her clinical interests include animal behaviour, endocrinology and wound management. She also has a 2 year old daughter Mila and is hopeful Mila will grow up to eventually enter an equitable and welcoming workplace (so far all signs point to ballerina but things may change!). 

Sasha and the PETstock VET team are always on the lookout for ways we can create a nurturing environment in a “corporate that cares”.

 

 

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