Q&A: Handling criticism from a co-worker at your veterinary practice
A: It seems that anytime you have a large 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, particularly in veterinary medicine, I've found that you end up working with people who have a variety of different personalities. Couple that with work stress and sometimes very high volume, and it can get intense. When you become the center of a difficult situation like this though, it becomes overwhelming."
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 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 you practice 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. You could be doing a wonderful job and still have people that want to cause issues," she says. "The most important thing to remember is why you're at your practice—to do your job and contribute. We won't always get along with everyone we meet, but you can always try to make your workplace the best it can be."