Veterinary Team Personal Preferences-Self Care

April 28, 2016

Explore your veterinary team’s personal preferences for self care

Veterinary Team Personal Preferences

Veterinary Team Personal Preferences

This in turn will increasing staying power (employee retention) and improving career satisfaction.

(Worksheet to accompany CATALYST VetPC Gem in Ten-Self Care Video)

Kaleidoscope of Colors

It is more than just a kaleidoscope of colors that makes up your veterinary team! It’s generations, beliefs, heritage and communication styles. Your team is made up of people with varied stories, from various regions from around the United States, maybe even the world!

It can be beneficial to identify your team’s personal preferences in a fun, creative, engaging way. Consider, during an upcoming team meeting, asking your team to stand up and direct them to various areas in the room indicating which their preference is. Ahead of time, you may post a large paper with the choices listed.

Move to the area of the room best describing your personal preference:

  1. Coffee      Decaffeinated Coffee             Soda                 None of those listed
  2. Bubble Bath Read a book at home     Read a book at the coffee shop  None of those listed
  3. Stay-cation Adventurous Vacation    Family Vacation         Oceanside/Relaxing Vacation
  4. Food choices: Italian       Mexican        American              Cajun

This is considered a low risk conversation, fun and comfortable.

As a manager, you can use this information to offer “Thank you” items, anniversary gifts, or other forms of appreciation.

The point is, we all have a myriad of likes and dislikes, for different reasons, at different times in our lives. Is it any wonder it can be challenging to manage a veterinary team with so many personal preferences? We may be best served in serving others by simply asking! You may be surprised to learn some of your team members absolutely cringe at the thought of receiving a massage. In that case, if you gave a team member a gift certificate to a spa for a massage, the team member may be disappointed.

Get to know your team on an individual basis.


A higher risk conversation, which can still be discussed as a team, is identifying personal stressors and relievers. Break your team into small groups (no smaller than 3 and not larger than 5) to talk amongst themselves about things that “stress them out.” and things they do to “chill out.” Have them write out stessors and relievers. You may offer examples:

Stressors: kids going away to kindergarten/college, wicked busy schedule, ill parents, finances

Relievers: a day in the park with kids, a hike in the mountains, bubble bath, laying in the sun

After the small groups have shared the things that stress them out and help them to relax, bring the team together in the larger group to share their findings.

Now, you as a manager, you have a very defined idea of your team’s stressors and relievers. Now, your team knows what stresses each other out and how to offer support when “chilling.”

This is also a good exercise around the Holidays, one of the most stressful times of the year. PLUS, veterinary hospitals tend to see more euthanasias during the Holidays, too. A DOUBLE WAMMY for veterinary teams!

Hopeful you will learn more about your team with these exercises, ultimately increasing staying power and improving career satisfaction.

If you have questions, comments, or wish to share your team’s experience while participating in the exercises, feel free to reach out to us at

Worksheet: Identify Relievers & Stressors

Yours in Self Care,

Rebecca Rose, CVT

Rebecca Rose, CVT, CEO of CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultants







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