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Final Thoughts

Finding Refuge at Work

Dear Colleagues,

By now, I hope you’re as excited as I am about the AAHA Board of Directors’ vision for empowering veterinary -practice team members to proactively take control of their self-care and embrace workplace cultural transformation. Seeking -inspiration from Gandhi, I firmly believe that “a hospital’s -culture resides in the heart and soul of its people.”

The next steps along this journey will require work, both from you as an individual and from your team as a group. Begin by reviewing the action steps in the previous chapters and pick a handful that resonate with you. Stay tuned for the exciting resources that AAHA will be releasing over time. Ultimately, we intend to provide tools to help practices develop cultures that are so good, employees can find refuge at work from their complicated lives.

Such a refuge is fervently protected at my own hospital. Team members’ knowledge that they are safe, valued, and respected provides them with certainty at work despite the many challenges we all face outside of work. I’ve seen tangible benefits to the business, including decreased staff turnover and an easier time attracting new staff because of our reputation for cultivating this positive culture. I’ve also found it easier to implement change and “best practices” when the staff is empowered to care for themselves and for the team.

Under Dr. Cavanaugh’s leadership, I’ve also seen changes in AAHA’s headquarters, where they are “walking the walk” and are challenging the staff to take accountability for wellness in their own lives. The results have been very encouraging. The staff have enjoyed regular yoga sessions, mindfulness breaks, wellness walks with office dogs, group team-building activities, and other events that have placed self-care at the forefront of their minds. The employee review process has been restructured to put more focus on behaviors and attitudes that promote a positive culture, not just on productivity. This cultural shift positions AAHA to provide an exceptional member experience.

I believe that once your team is on board with creating a workplace where they can thrive, you will soon recognize positive change in your hospital. It won’t be long until you can look back on what you’ve accomplished as a group and realize how much healthier and happier you are. I encourage you to invest in yourself and your practice team, and reap the benefits of a cultural transformation.


Mark McConnell, BVMS, MRCVS
AAHA President 2017–2018
Co-owner, The Emergency Veterinary Hospital,
Springfield, Oregon

AAHA’s Guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing
  • Open Letter
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Final Thoughts
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The Link Between Healthy Workplace Culture and Optimal Personal Wellbeing
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Want to share with the entire team?

Pick up free copies of AAHA's Guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing and the roundtable discussion, The Link Between a Health Workplace Culture and Optimal Personal Wellbeing at these locations:

  • [email protected] ( Rosen Centre Hotel)
  • Health & Wellbeing Center ( VMX Expo Hall)
  • AAHA booth ( VMX Expo Hall)
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