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Start a Positivity Jar & focus on the positives in your veterinary team

Posted in Management @ Nov 8th 2016 - By Judy Gillespie interviewing Jen McLeaod, Veterinary Nurse, Coral Coast Veterinary Hospital
Start A Positivity Jar And Focus On The Positives In Your Veterinary Team

Working in the veterinary industry it's easy to focus on the bad stuff - how about encouraging your team to focus on the positives instead?

This week I saw a post from Coral Coast Veterinary Hospital on Facebook:

"The staff all had a staff meeting this week. Part of the meeting is to read out the positivity jar created by our lovely nurse Jen. During the month staff can thank other colleagues by writing a secret note in recognition of their awesome efforts! #feelingthelove #greatteam #coralcoastvet"

And I thought the concept of a 'Positivity Jar' was an awesome idea so I asked veterinary nurse and instigator Jen McLeod if she would mind answering a few questions so I could share the idea with the Vetanswers community.

1. How long have you worked at Coral Coast Veterinary Hospital?

 I've been at CCVH for the past 2 years.

2. Where did the idea of a ‘Positivity Jar’ come from? 

Pinterest.  It was something I was doing at home for myself and thought it would be great to start one at work too. 

3. What did the rest of the team think when you first suggested it?

Everyone was really open to the idea and embraced it.

4. How long has it been running?

A couple of months now.

5. What do you think are the benefits for your team of the ‘Positivity Jar’? 

The veterinary industry can be very busy and stressful so it can be hard to find the time to acknowledge a co-worker's efforts, to express gratitude or to even see a positive in some situations which is really important in an industry where stress, anxiety and depression are very common.

It's a great training tool to get everyone looking for the best in one another and encourage staff to think positive thoughts. It's also been great for our junior staff that only work behind the scenes a few hours a week to feel like they're really part of the team and their hard work is being recognised. 

6. How did you go about setting it up? 

It was very simple I just used an old coffee jar and some left over bits and pieces from puppy school to jazz it up a bit. I also tied and glued a pen to the jar of course so it didn't go missing! It doesn't really matter what it looks like.

7. How does the whole process work? 

Staff members are encouraged to write a note about every staff member daily/weekly then put it in the jar. An allocated team member then reads them out at our staff meetings. 

8. What are some examples of the things people have written?

"Thanks Dr Emma for being a great boss and always taking time to teach me new things." 

"Thanks Ave for cheering me up when I was feeling down and putting a smile on my face."

9. What tips do you have for other practices that may like to introduce it? 

My only tips would be to:

  • Have some fun with it,
  • Remind staff that it will only work if everyone is involved
  • It's not a competition 
  • Read the notes regularly to keep everyone inspired.
  • Also put read notes up on a pin board in the staff room it's great when you're having a bad day or when you're struggling for inspiration. 

10. What's your next project?

A random acts of kindness calendar is in the pipeline  :-) 

If you have any questions for Jen about setting up a Positivity Jar for your team, just ask them in the Comments section below. And once you have your own Positivity Jar set up don't forget to send us some photos :)

About Jen

I'm quite new to nursing and have only been working as a qualified nurse for approx 3 years. 

My favourite parts of the job are helping sick/injured patients feel better and helping the healthy animals stay that way and live longer lives by educating owners about responsible pet ownership and preventative care. I also enjoy developing close bonds with clients.  Also, I love working in a team of likeminded girls who are caring, kind and compassionate with a warped sense of humour so we can have a laugh at those times when all you want to do is cry. 

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