COVID, How it has Affected Our Working Relationships… A Discussion

COVID, How it has Affected Our Working Relationships… A Discussion

In this past crazy year of 2020 Pandemic, so much has changed in how we communicate, how we handle our emotions and how we view our patients and their owners. We have been charged with learning and utilizing new technologies and adding, or in some cases deleting, our common practices.  I wonder, is this the “New Norm”?  Because of this, have we lost our empathy and have we disassociated ourselves from our basic principles?  Or….

Has it made us more aware, more in tune with our clients and have we worked harder to find creative ways to make our clients feel included with their animal’s diagnosis and/or prognosis?  Maybe we have more empathy, as we can imagine how we would feel if it were “our animal” in a certain situation.

Our companion animal counter parts have had to adjust to “curb side service” and now so do we.  By not having the owner with you in the exam room, have we lost the ability to obtain the whole picture?  Reading an owner’s body language, listening to their verbal tone and observing their interactions with the horse have always been helpful to a  technician or assistant when getting accurate and thorough histories.

How do the owners perceive us as Technicians/Assistants, even the practice as a whole.  Are our COVID Compliance safety guidelines spelled out for staff and clients alike and are our clients aware of what to expect when they bring their animal into the clinic?  Has there been a practice that felt the need to “fire” a client for non-compliance of COVID safety guidelines?     Or….

Have we become better communicators overall because we have had to listen more closely and clearly pass on the information.  Are we asking more pointed and valuable questions to gather the information?  Have we gained more respect for clients and have we seen some value in those relationships developing?  Has the new social distance of an owner allowed us to be even more thorough with physical examinations, with less unconscious bias based on the owner’s presence?

Do you, as a Technician/Assistant feel comfortable with the protocols that your practice has put in place?  Do you feel comfortable explaining to an owner when you are not comfortable, and are you supported by your practice to do so?

Have we as Technicians/Assistants gained appreciation and trust in our practice owners for their handling of 2020?  Has anyone lost respect for their practice because of the way COVID was handled?

With all of these changes, what are the positive changes that you would like to see stay in place once the “New Norm” arrives?  Is it embracing Zoom Calls and Zoom updates, Tele- Medicine, texting owners progress reports, curb side service or something else?

These are some of the topics that we would like to discuss further with our members via our Leadership Sharing FB Site.  Once a month we will be posing a question referring to this article and would love to hear your responses.  I think there is much to be learned from 2020 and how each of us has handled the challenges put in front of us.  We are a resilient group, not to mention clever and innovative.  Our passion for our profession and the animals and owners that we serve can bring us much joy.  Let’s share our experiences, we look forward to hearing your insights.

Andrea Whittle, LVT                                                                                                                                                      Wiss Costanza

For those of you that are not familiar with the Leadership Sharing Platform, check it out here;