One of the biggest challenges for new vets (and a concern for experienced vets who have to work even faster) is being highly efficient. It’s so easy to get caught up with cases especially if you’ve never seen them before and you need to research. Even spending a few extra minutes on each consult will gradually put you further and further behind. Next minute there are two consults waiting and you still have another spay to go.
Here are five ways you can increase your efficiency so you can save time, stress less and keep on top of things especially when the walk-ins and emergencies start coming in.
- Have lots of templates you can access quickly. Templates for consults, discharge instructions, spay write ups, everything you type daily. Templates will significantly speed up your write-ups. The template I use the most is my consult template which I have added below. Notice I already have the answers for a normal animal filled in. It saves time and I can change them quickly if I need to. I also don’t fill out everything for every consult.
MM pink <2sec
DDS (dental disease score): 1/5
Oral cavity: Normal
Respiratory character: Normal
No arrhythmias, murmurs or pulse deficits
Femoral pulses normal
- Have a to do list and set out a plan of attack. I counted one day that I got interrupted 22 times. These distractions slow you down. If it’s not urgent just write it down on your list and get back to what you’re doing. I’ll admit I’m terrible at multi-tasking so keeping the focus on one thing at a time really helps.
- Delegate tasks to your nurses.
Nurses are so important! They can reduce your workload considerably. Most vets are perfectionists but if you spend your time doing everything or making sure everything is done right you will never finish. Prioritise what you can only do (surgeries, consults, typing records) and get them do the rest.
- Keep your eye on the time.
Most clinics will have clocks everywhere but I always wear a watch too. Regardless, you should know what the time is throughout the day. As a result you will know when you need to finish tasks and when you need to move on to the next case.
- Memorise the locations of everything.
So much time is wasted trying to find alligator forceps, otoscopes or even pens. If you are just starting at a new clinic it is well worth your time going through all the cupboards and drawers to see where everything is. My old boss made me do the stock take in my first week at the clinic and boy did it help.
So there you have it. If you stick to these five strategies I guarantee it will speed you up and save you a lot of time and stress. It'll also get you moving in the right direction to become a highly efficient vet.