5 Ways to Ensure You Leave Work On Time
While leaving work a few minutes after your scheduled shift each day may not seem like a big deal, those minutes can add up over time and take a toll on your mental health. Always staying late can severely impact your job satisfaction, and is one of the main contributors to burnout in veterinary medicine.
Staying late may seem unavoidable during these times of short-staffing and overbooked appointments, but you can ensure you leave work on time and take care of your mental and physical health. Here are five ways to help you leave the hospital at closing time.
#1: Switch your mindset when you arrive at work
Working with a tight-knit group is great, but when everyone spends the majority of the day chit-chatting and gossiping, you cannot accomplish all your tasks. Instead of spending the first half hour—or more—catching up on what everyone did over the weekend, immediately switch your mindset to work, and be ready to jump in and answer the phones, calculate anesthetic doses, and provide nursing care to hospitalized patients. Do not take precious time during your already overbooked schedule chatting and getting pushed behind—talk with coworkers and run personal errands only during lunchtime. Switching your mindset will not only improve efficiency but also will help you set aside any outside-of-work worries that may be troubling you.
#2: Learn to say “No”
Veterinary professionals are known for stretching themselves too thin and always agreeing to help a pet in need. However, being soft-hearted can make leaving work on time impossible. If you are the one who always agrees to stay late, cover another’s shift, or stay behind for that emergency C-section on Friday night, you need to put boundaries in place. Don’t see yourself as leaving work—instead, consider yourself as going home to care for your children, spend time with friends, cook dinner before 10 p.m., or to simply read a book for fun. You deserve time outside of work to rest and recharge, and without an appropriate work-life balance, you run the risk of becoming burned out.
#3: Use technology to increase your practice’s efficiency
A veterinary practice with streamlined workflows will experience boosted productivity and efficiency, and help you to not only better care for clients and patients, but also leave work on time. A few updated technology tools that can help you with your tasks include:
- Practice app — A practice app can automate many mundane tasks, and put the bulk of the burden on your clients’ shoulders. Through a practice app, your clients can schedule appointments, receive appointment and health service reminders, request prescription refills, view their pet’s vaccination record, or ask your team pet-care questions. Communicating through a practice app can save your team countless time-consuming phone calls that can make you fall behind schedule.
- Laboratory integrations — Hunting down test results from outside laboratories, whether they come via fax or email, can be a hassle. Then, they need to be scanned into your practice management software and attached to the patient’s record. Wouldn’t you love to cut out all those extra steps, and simply click on the results in your PIMS? With a software program that integrates with common laboratories, not having to search for lab results can save you tons of time.
- Paperless practice management software — Paper charts eat up a lot of your team’s time and typically reduce efficiency. Between scrambling to find charts for a client who has not visited your hospital forever, handwriting notes in an indecipherable scrawl, inputting those notes into the PIMS, and filing away the charts, your team spends a great deal of time on paper records. While making the switch to a paperless program can be intimidating, consider the benefits of doing away with paper charts.
Although these tools can require an overhaul of your current systems, they will be worth the update in the long run, when the entire team can leave at closing time.
#4: Delegate tasks to the appropriate employees
Carrying every burden on your already overwhelmed shoulders is not healthy, so share the load with your team. Delegate tasks appropriately, and ensure each team member works to the fullest extent of their abilities. Veterinary assistants can perform nail trims and anal gland expressions, and technicians can calculate prescription doses and place IV catheters, which leaves your veterinarians free to perform veterinarian-only duties. Giving your team the appropriate duties for their position will not only increase their job satisfaction, but also help decrease burnout and resentment toward coworkers.
#5: Prioritize your to-do list
When you walk into work, are you overwhelmed with the tasks on your plate? Prioritize your to-do list into items that must be accomplished that day, and put off what you can. Although putting off till later an important task that takes more time than you expected may occasionally mean you work late, tackling your to-do list first thing in the morning, and delegating what you can, will usually allow you to head out the door at closing time with a clean conscience and empty plate.
In some cases, your practice may be so swamped with appointments, leaving work on time will be impossible without hiring more staff—which can be a much more difficult task. If your team is struggling to leave work when they should, support them with relief staff until you can hire permanent employees. Contact our Veterinary System Services team—we can help you take care of your team, patients, and clients.