Beat bullies in veterinary practice

Some of my co-workers have decided they don't like me, and they criticize my work constantly. What should I do?
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Dec 01, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

Q Some of my co-workers have decided they don't like me, and they criticize my work constantly. What should I do?

"Anytime there's a group of people in one place doing work they're passionate about, there's always room for conflict," says Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member Mandy Stevenson, RVT, a technician at Rolling Meadows Animal Hospital in Adrian, Mo. "Over the years I've found that—in veterinary medicine particularly—you end up working with people with a variety of different personalities. Couple that with a lot of work and stress, and it can get intense."

The key, Stevenson says, is to put yourself in others' shoes. In some cases your co-workers might be frustrated about something else at work or in their personal lives. Or they might not understand the way you do certain tasks.

"Try to discuss the issue with co-workers individually. Ask them if there is something specific that concerns them and ask how they would do it differently," she says. "If I have learned anything in veterinary medicine, it's that there are 10 ways to do one thing. Sometimes just sharing ideas of how you were taught to perform a task can help."

When groups become a problem, Stevenson says, you may need to get your manager involved. "Unfortunately, there isn't always a way to get around this if you're new to a clinic with an existing, unaddressed problem," Stevenson says. "Remember why you're at your practice—to do your job and contribute. You won't always get along with everyone you meet, but you can always try to make your workplace the best it can be."