Learn, Teach, Accomplish. Every day.

It is written on the top of the whiteboard in treatment and is one of the things that I brought with me from my time in the Coast Guard.

I recently worked on a new whiteboard video for another clinic on Lyme disease prevention. In order to write up the script for the video, I did some research to make sure that I had all my facts correct or that there was nothing new. In researching, I found the fact that spirochetes (the type of bacteria that causes Lyme disease) are the family that causes syphilis and leptospirosis. Now if I stopped and thought, I knew that leptospirosis was caused by a spirochete, but I hadn’t put it together that they were in the same family of bacteria. And I had forgotten that syphilis was caused by a spirochete. Totally forgotten. Of course, it is not a useful fact for my daily life either. The other thing that I learned was that horses get Lyme disease. I don’t think we knew that when I went to school. Because I was researching, I learned something new.

This got me thinking about all the ways that I and my team strive to learn. I am in early on a Sunday morning, not only because I have an extension on my newspaper column, but because I have a once a month group mastermind with a board certified veterinary dentist. We go over cases, ask questions and learn. I didn’t present any cases today but presented three last month. A fractured jaw case was presented today that was much like mine last month. Although I am taking an advanced dentistry class, I always learn something from the mastermind classes.

There are many online classes available now. I am finishing us my Fear Free Professional Certification level two. I recently spent a day doing my six hours of continuing education to renew my National Veterinary Accreditation Program class II certification. Although I probably had down some of the classes for the requirement earlier, I like to learn and completed the six classes required to write health certificates for pets and exotics. Although when I realized it was read text and take quizzes, I questioned that decision. I am also taking a weekly class on veterinary cytology. As I am taking the classes, sometimes I remember my professors teaching me in vet school. Sometimes I remember the knowledge from a conference or article and sometimes it is something that has changed or is new. There seem to be compartments in my brain to remember where and when things came to be knowledge for me.

While I was learning, Garrett and Brian were in doing kennels. Garrett said that he had learned that there are different strains of rabies virus. He is taking a class toward his Licensed Veterinary Technician degree. After several classes, he will be eligible to sit for his Veterinary Technician National Examination. Needless to say, there will be lots of learning and studying for that! In the meantime, he had to write a research paper. He chose rabies because I had just been to Africa working with rabies and it sparked his interest. Garrett and I have participated in advanced daycare classes and gotten a whole stack of reference texts and DVDs.

Although we learn daily, sometimes it is big things that we know we learn and sometimes we just absorb little things. Brian took a little longer to come up with what he had learned because he looked for a bigger thing. He said that Stephanie had taught him how to fix a twisted or kinked IV line. He will still have to have supervised practice before he can do it on his own, but there is a tremendous benefit in cross-training and supervised doing is a great way to learn.

I did feed the bat while I was attending the mastermind class. Yesterday during the bat feeding, I took the opportunity to teach Kenzie that bats are not ‘creepy’ and that they really are kind of cute. We also discussed how intelligent they are and that they are quite beneficial. Anything that eats mosquitos by the thousands is great in my book. This bat is in because of our wildlife rehab program. He was found in a parking lot and will have to be fed by hand by me every day until he is released. As much as I love bats, I hope we have a week of warm weather so he can be released before spring. That is another way we learn. Before we realized insectivorous bats required preformed vitamin C, I observed that the baby bats had lesions that looked a lot like scurvy. Reaching out to some researchers and bat rehabbers, I may have started something because a few years later, it was a proven fact.

Sometimes we learn by trying something. Kristen is doing well at the front desk, but she hasn’t had a lot of time with her trainer. She has been working through our customized training videos and she brings a lot of client service experience, but is really doing a training that could be called ‘thrown to the wolves.’ This is best for Guardian Animal because she is able to do many of the things needed and we have no one to stand in that place without her. Even still, Saturday morning was quite hectic with patients and boarders coming and going, medications needing refills and the normal scheduling and phone calls. At the end of a somewhat stressful day, she said that she learned ‘staying calm helps others stay calm.’ I suspect that she knew this, but practicing it allowed her to see that it really was true and worked.

Learn, Teach, Accomplish. Every day.

It is written on the top of the whiteboard in treatment and is one of the things that I brought with me from my time in the Coast Guard, but it goes farther. I have built my practice on caring and educating clients. But we can learn something from everyone. And we can teach everyone something. And a day without an accomplishment of some sort is somewhat of a waste. Not that we don’t need days to rest and rejuvenate, but even then we could learn something.

Learn, Teach, Accomplish. Every day.