week 1: survived!

It was a really, really good week.

It was crazy, too. Totally crazy.  6-8 appointments every day.  Downtime, when it happened, was much, much appreciated.

Key lessons learned:

– Figure out the computer system before you open.  We’re figuring out our computer system (which does medical records, appointments, boarding calendar, inventory, invoicing, EVERYTHING) in real time, which is tricky.  We didn’t charge any sales tax for the first three days we were open. Winners!

– Order equipment early.   I’m still waiting on MAJOR equipment, everything from an x-ray machine to a surgery table to my credit card processing machine. Everything that was supposed to be here the Friday before we opened.  C’est la vie.

– I can only imagine that it is impossible to order EVERYTHING you need before you open.  Literally every other appointment I have wanted desperately a drug that I didn’t have in stock. Fortunately clients have been wonderfully patient, and fortunately suppliers offer next-day mail on most things.  So it’s working itself out, and I think things will be much better in even just a week.

– Good, smart friends are invaluable.  I have seen some tricky cases that I haven’t been able to handle on my own; so far owners seem to particularly appreciate me saying “I think I know what’s going on here, but rather than waste any time or money pursuing that, i want to run this by a specialist”. Hopefully the vet’s at school don’t get too sick of me.

– I’m always thorough on my physical exams, but am still practicing being thorough on my rule-outs, diagnostics, etc.  I know better, but still I have found myself falling into a trap of narrow vision. For example,  an owner brought an elderly cat in for a second opinion; the previous vet had diagnosed an inoperable thyroid tumor.  I spent untold hours researching hyperthyroidism (common) and thyroid tumors in cats (rare) before realizing that it was MUCH more likely to be a lymph node rather than thyroid.

– MANY times I wish I had a senior veterinarian standing over me; it would at least increase my confidence and save me from endlessly researching EVERYTHING I see and calling for consults on every other thing I see.

– Clients seem to value kindness, thoroughness and sincerity more than the ability to practice perfect medicine.  This is particularly helpful to me in my current state.

– I NEVER thought that I’d be the vet who limits my recommendations based on my perceptions of a client’s wealth, or based on my own personal opinion. But I totally am. I’m working on it, though.

– I really love the town I ended up in.  The people have mostly been just wonderful. I love being able to make my rounds to the bank, post office, lunch spot and hardware store on foot during a quick lunch break.

– I love being able to make my own work environment.  We have a lot of fun, work really hard, and end the day pretty satisfied. It’s really awesome.

– My assistant deserves a whole separate post. She is awesome.

We did really good this week, all in all. I hope we can keep it up, and stay as busy as we were!

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One thought on “week 1: survived!

  1. Holly

    I am so impressed with you. Good onya!

    “- Clients seem to value kindness, thoroughness and sincerity more than the ability to practice perfect medicine. This is particularly helpful to me in my current state.”

    tolja. You need to like the people as well as their pets and clients know it the nanosecond you don’t mean it (the sincerity part). Good medicine is necessary, perfect medicine….not so much. And the ability to refer when out of your element….in-freaking-valuable. It adds much client confidence to your image. I absolutely do not expect my vet to refer .everything. However, if we have tried a number of treatments and they are not working….send me on or at least offer it. Kindness more than anything else will draw people in, as will honesty.

    the narrow vision thing? Once you have 6 months under your belt, you will take that information in during your exam, digest it a bit, roll it around and taste it for accuracy then either use it or tuck it away and make your own diagnosis or add it TO your own diagnosis. That is nothing more than lack of experience. You will remember them even if you tuck them away and you will pull that out of your memory as something to think about when you have clients with similar (but maybe slightly different) symptoms.

    “- I NEVER thought that I’d be the vet who limits my recommendations based on my perceptions of a client’s wealth, or based on my own personal opinion. But I totally am. I’m working on it, though.”

    The personal opinion *maybe* needs worked on, the other…I’m divided on. For whatever reason, people don’t feel a need to pay vets, farriers and barn owners. And for some clients who don’t have a good grasp of what medicine (human or veterinary) costs…..they can make decisions they can’t pay for . YOU can’t afford that right now. Again, in 6 months time you will develop a radar for those clients who can do what they say, those who want something they can’t have, those who can’t make good decisions and those who have a clue about the health of their pets. Some clients you will have to lead, some you can lay out the options and some …. shouldn’t have pets.

    I am so excited for you! My wish for you is that you succeed, that you have much contentment and experience just enough speed bumps to make you appreciate all the good times.

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