Pay It Forward in the Hospital

November 19, 2019

Ideas for Veterinary Team Members

The idea of “Pay It Forward” often conjures up thoughts of buying the coffee for the person behind you in the drive through, donating items to a charity or simply smiling at a stranger as you pass him on the street.

These can also be known as “random acts of kindness” and have been used to fuel positive movements globally.  Not to mention the numerous social media campaigns that are beginning to emerge as we enter into a holiday season.

We would now like you to take this idea from the random stranger and refocus it on your team and the workplace.  Doing random acts of kindness in the clinic creates connection as a team. It also generates an environment that others want to be a part of and leaves the giver feeling good – a sort of back door approach to self-care.

According to Google, the definition of paying it forward is to respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else.  Imagine a workplace where team members focus on ways to pass along kindness to other teammates, with no expectation of having it done in return.  A positive chain reaction!

This doesn’t have to come and go with the holiday.  It can be ongoing if you commit to a “pay it forward” culture within your hospital.

Specific Ideas

The following ways are just a few of the ideas you can take to your team as ways to show kindness and pay it forward. With a little bit of thought, many more can be initiated.

  • Set up the hospital for the next day’s procedures the night before when you are NOT due in the next day.
  • Make notes on a patient’s file so the following visit is a more personalized experience, allowing the next team member to be successful.
  • Share positive patient progress with a team member who was involved in a difficult case.
  • Identify a charity that a teammate has a particular connection to and donate to it in his/her name.
  • Clear the snow from a teammate’s car (during winter) when you leave first and don’t say anything about it!
  • Pay off someone’s account balance in your hospital.
  • Restock supplies for someone, especially if it is one of their regular responsibilities.

Food related…food in locker

  • Leave a basket of K-cups, tea bags and hot cocoa for everyone to enjoy.
  • Post a list of team members’ favorite things in the break room so that everyone knows what they enjoy.
  • Offer to pick-up lunch for the folks who can’t get away from the clinic.
  • Keep a ‘when you forget your lunch’ basket or locker with non-perishable food. Encourage people to add and take as needed.
  • Load a coworker’s pet food into his/her car.

Kind words go a long way…

  • Anonymously tell someone how awesome they are by being specific and genuine.
  • Keep a ‘gotcha’ jar that recognizes teammate’s accomplishments – read them daily and don’t announce who wrote the note.
  • Post inspirational notes around the clinic (obviously in appropriate places).note with hand drawn dog
  • Choose a day and compliment the first 3 people you see.
  • Practice gratitude during morning rounds and team meetings, allowing team members to share things that are important to them.

A culture of caring for each other is an extension of self-care.  The time that you will invest in starting and maintaining a supportive culture will lead to improved job satisfaction and team longevity.  We encourage to you to consider being intentional with paying it forward within your veterinary team, and do it all year long!

Yours in kindness,


red help buttonIf you want this cultural shift for your team and don’t know where to start, we are here to help!  CATALYST VetPC offers team workshops as well as personalized coaching sessions to help develop your team’s mission, vision and values to develop a positive, healthy workplace.  Schedule your exploratory call today!

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