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5 Stress Triggers in Vet Techs

by Lori Hehn - June 21, 2018 at 11:11 AM
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Let's face it. A busy veterinary practice can be a stressful environment. Knowing the triggers for stress may help you to manage it better!

I know a lot of veterinary technicians. Friends, past colleagues, and employees. I have made it a point to ask them what are some things that cause them stress in their job- big or small. Collectively, here are some major stresses they mentioned.

If you can identify these in your life, see if you can find a solution to help when these instances occur. This may help you open a dialogue with others you work with in order to find solutions.

1) Working past closing time

We all do this on occasion. Identify the reasons why the practice is closing late, especially if it is happening often. Is it a staffing issue, or is it just lack of? 

2) Having to take a short lunch break because we are busy

 This is a difficult one to fix. Our day to day schedule is unpredictable. I bring my lunch every day because it takes away "me" time when I have to go pick something up. I would rather eat the lunch I brought and listen to music or read a book for the short break I have. That being said, it is best to at least leave the building during lunch or go sit outside. Because if you stay inside, you will inevitably asked to answer that line, or hold this dog for a minute while you are on lunch.

3) Doctors not sedating fractious patients (bruticaine anyone)?

No thanks! Who loves it when it takes 4 people to hold down that big gator-rolling dog for a blood draw, x-rays, or nail trim? Why is no one raising their hand? Ask for sedation sooner when possible. I turn away nail trims that are too fractious, or have them come back with sedation. If I need to sedate a dog for a procedure, I have the owner drop the dog off so I can sedate, and we can get the job done in between appointments so we don't feel rushed. It is safer and less stressful for the dog and the staff.

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4) Fear of failure

Especially for new graduates, there is sometimes a fear of procedures we do. Inducing anesthesia, intubation, monitoring, CPR/emergency triage, not being able to get the IV catheter in, etc. I am here to tell you that you can do it. If you are uncomfortable starting out, ask for help. Always double check if you have a question, or have an experience technician help you or watch you do something to provide feedback. We all started somewhere; just don't be afraid to try. The more you perform these tasks, the more confidence you will gain (and the less stress you will feel).

5) Difficult clients

Who doesn't get stressed when clients are difficult to deal with? I think we all do. Remember that the only person you can control is yourself. Be friendly and helpful, empathetic when appropriate, and if the situation is escalating it is time to get the doctor. It isn't your place to manage higher level conflict. We do, however, appreciate it when you help to diffuse the situation when you are able. After it is over, try to forget it and move on. Don't carry that stress with you. Check out "Dealing with a Cray-Cray Client," with tips on managing these types of clients.

No matter our career, we all have work-related stress. Having a plan in place in regards to how we will react to these triggers is paramount.

What are some other ways work causes you stress? How do you handle it?

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About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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