When I began my journey into emergency medicine, I already had six years of day clinic experience under my belt. Switching to overnight hours was a challenge at first, but as a natural night owl, I became accustomed quickly. The hospital I entered did not have much management to speak of and certainly no chain of command, so any complaints or ideas often went unheard and unwanted. As the years passed by it was as if the soul of this clinic was slowly dying if it had even had one at all. I became depressed with the realization that I would have to start somewhere yet again when all I wanted was for my work to be my home away from home. When the clinic was put up for sale, I was certain that no new owners would keep the existing employees as most had lost their passion to help owners and their pets, often acting in such a manner that owners felt they were bothering them with their emergencies. I began to think of what other career fields I could enter that would give me as much happiness as helping animals and their owners could.
When the clinic was sold, and I met the new owners, many questions came to mind, what changes would they implement? Would I be allowed to be a part of it all? To my surprise, the owners decided to keep me on staff, and little by little my opinions were heard and often used to make necessary changes. As the weeks turned into months and then into years, I watched the clinic go from a place of total sadness to one of joy. Every employee was celebrated for the contributions he or she made. Slowly an environment emerged where laughter and joy were appreciated, caring became part of our everyday routine, and we were encouraged to put our passion into action. When problems or concerns arose, we could openly discuss them, and a solution was always at hand.
Today we continue to learn and grow together, the staff has become my second family, and I can take the time necessary to show every patient and owner the respect and compassion due to them. My soul is complete, and I am happy I stayed with the little clinic that could and does. When it comes to running a great hospital, there are so many factors involved yet so many times owners forget to encourage and support their staff. The soul of a clinic is indeed its people, and I am eternally grateful to the owners that not only recognized that, but lovingly cultivated and grew it.