It is well recognised that working within a team has many benefits, and our industry is no exception. The multi-disciplinary team is continuously promoted and spoken about; it is how we hold ourselves to a higher standard, promoting excellence in ourselves and our work. 

Working as part of a team can help us identify where our clinical skills are lacking and any knowledge gaps we may have. Our team can help us develop new skills, innovate and evaluate a patient from an alternative perspective. Through working in a team, mistakes are reduced in number and in effect, while a supportive team also protects against burnout, fatigue and an excess emotional toll from work.

Whether you work as a sole Vetrehabber, or have a team of Vetrehabbers working with or under you, your team can be a part of what promotes and drives you towards ever-increasing excellence.

 

The team approach

Building a team that works together well, that complements one another and that really ‘gels’, can be the first challenge. We have spoken many times about the importance of employing people who have the same core values as you do, and whose strengths complement your weaknesses. However, building a team is not about finding people who think, do and are just the same as you – quite the opposite! The more diversity we can incorporate into a team, the more positive the outcomes can be.

Whether you work as a mobile Vetrehabber running and managing your own business, or are part of a large practice with many moving parts, you can use your team to drive you towards excellence.

Here are some ways in which working as part of a team can elevate the quality of your work:

 

Diversify the services offered

Team members with different areas of interest, qualifications, backgrounds and perspectives can allow us to diversify the services we offer our patients. Diversity may take the form of a tightly knit referral network, the addition of new skills and services to an existing business, or the development and acquisition of new skills in yourself as an individual.

Whatever shape it takes, diversity can be hugely beneficial to your clients and patients. There is no one-size-fits-all, and the more options and tools we have, the more likely we are to find the perfect fit for a particular patient. This helps us to achieve excellence in our service and in ourselves as we continue to develop our knowledge and skill.

 

Improved problem solving and clinical reasoning

Two heads are better than one; when it comes to our patients, different members of the team bring different expertise and experience to the table, improving clinical reasoning and problem-solving. This is why the multidisciplinary team is so essential to our patients. Beyond the multidisciplinary team, having a team of colleagues with different strengths to our own can help us finetune our skills, understanding and observations. Being able to discuss cases openly and safely is essential to prevent us from getting tunnel vision, getting stuck in a protocol or pattern, and can help us to identify and strengthen our areas of weakness.

 

Innovation and implementation of new ideas or modalities

When we work with a team from diverse backgrounds and professions, training and cultures, in a safe and supportive environment, we have all the right ingredients for innovation to occur. This innovation pushes us out of our comfort zone into a creative space where we can learn, grow and experiment.  

 

Increased productivity

Whether we are the kind of person who prefers to work alone, or we flourish when we are around people, our productivity increases when we are a part of a team. When we work closely with peers, they motivate us to do and be better, to achieve greater results, and to become more and more excellent at our treatments. We naturally love to gain the respect and recognition of our colleagues and peers, even more so than with our superiors!

 

Personal growth and development

Being part of a team requires a great deal of personal development. Being able to listen, communicate effectively, adapt your approach to someone else’s style of working or communicating can all be challenges. Our weaknesses or challenges can be highlighted in a team setting, allowing us to develop our emotional intelligence.

When a colleague safely and constructively highlights a lack in our skillset – depending, of course, on our personal attitude to learning  – we are prompted to fill in those knowledge and skills gaps. That is continuing professional development in action.

Naturally, as we work closely with a team, we also feel a sense of belonging and community. This sense of connection is really essential to our long-term satisfaction with work and mental health.

 

Sharing the load and reducing burnout

Work can be a major source of stress and anxiety and can take a toll on our emotional well-being. Working in a team that ‘has your back’ reduces stress, overload, fatigue and ultimately burnout.

No one understands the demands and challenges of our work as well as other Vetrehabbers do, and as such, they are in the perfect position to offer emotional support, encouragement and guidance as we navigate the challenges and sometimes harsh realities of work and life. Having someone – or multiple people – to share this load makes a team and a business resilient. A resilient business, and business owner, is able to overcome the challenges of life, both inside and outside our profession.

 

Opportunities for growth

Working as part of a team gives us many opportunities for growth and professional development. For example, Onlinepethealth offers corporate discounts to our members for teams of Vetrehabbers that work together. This can reduce the cost of continuing education for the individual, provide resources for continuous growth and professional development, and provide information that fosters conversation.

Ongoing conversations among individuals on a learning experience hugely enhance the value of that learning, highlighting the value of engaging in continuing education together with a team or colleagues. 

 

Fewer mistakes

We have all felt that sinking feeling when a case does not progress as it should or has a major setback, and the voice in your head screams, ‘Was that my fault?’ Or worse yet, when someone else, a Veterinarian or owner, for example, blames you for a setback. Working with a supportive team can help us, first of all, to prevent these situations from happening – more eyes on the patient means less chance of something being missed. Secondly, it allows us to navigate the scenario where we are blamed for a setback that may have nothing to do with us.

 

What does your team look like?

Do you work with a team of three or more Vetrehabbers within a large practice? Or do you work as a solo practitioner who does everything themselves from marketing to booking appointments to invoicing and finally to treating patients? In the first scenario, the team is obvious, but in the second, not so much!
As a solo Vetrehabber running their business and doing it all, you might think that you inevitably miss out on all the above benefits of the team – but you need not.  By connecting with colleagues within a community, either a local or a global one, you can experience many of the benefits described above. For example, discussing cases, ideas and innovations within a closed and supportive global community of Vetrehabbers can give you access to many thoughts and opinions you may never have considered before. In addition, you can foster relationships and mutual respect with the members of your referral network, thus reaping many of the rewards of having an actual team of your own.

 

Conclusion

Wherever you are in the world and whatever your work preference, being part of a team is an important part of developing and fostering excellence within ourselves as individuals and as professionals. Only through collaboration with others can we easily identify knowledge gaps and weaknesses in our skillset, allowing us to pursue personal and professional development that brings us ever closer to our goal of excellence.

Additional reading 

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