5 Veterinary Staff Meeting Games to Refresh Your Practice Culture
Every veterinary practice has a culture, whether consciously established or organically manifested. Whatever the culture is at your practice, its effect ripples through almost every aspect of operations, from the talent you attract and the morale of your team to the communication with pet owners and the public image you cultivate. If your practice culture is trending to the negative, it's essential to take control, and hit the refresh button.
Fostering a truly positive culture takes a holistic approach that factors in all aspects of the veterinary practice. That said, veterinary staff meeting games can get you at least some of the way there while bonding teammates, enhancing communication, and raising energy levels.
5 Veterinary Staff Meeting Games to Elevate Practice Culture
Try these veterinary-friendly games to create and maintain a strong practice culture—one your team looks forward to working in each day.
1. What's on My Scrubs?
Dr. Andy Roark of the "Cone of Shame" podcast and YouTube show has created a card game called, "What's On My Scrubs?" specifically for veterinary teams to enjoy. The game is a veterinary version of Heads Up—a player holds a card to their forehead, and the other players help them guess the card. This veterinary practice-specific game includes 200 cards printed with fun phrases like "chicken-flavored toothpaste," keeping you and your team entertained during your next meeting. "What's On My Scrubs?" also fosters teamwork, as working together is essential.
2. Two Truths and a Lie
Looking to help integrate a new team member or simply get current ones to know each other better? The game "Two Truths and a Lie" achieves this with a generous dose of creativity. To play, each team member writes two truths and one lie about themselves. The notecards are placed in a hat, and a player takes a card and reads the information aloud to the group. The team then guesses which fact is false about that specific team member. In addition to the fun, this game sparks a deeper appreciation for each team member's individuality.
3. Trivia Games
After your veterinary team's next continuing education or training session, follow it up with a rousing game of veterinary trivia that reinforces the same topic in a light-hearted way. You can set it up like Jeopardy, Password, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or another game show to enhance it further. Between rounds, you might also rotate "contestants" so all sections of the team work together, rather than only with members in their specific department. Prizes can motivate further, especially if they speak to the specific needs of the team and practice. You might even consider taking a cue from The Office television show and offering veterinarians time for an in-practice nap. Read your team, and get creative!
4. What Did We Do Well Today?
When team members are on edge and negativity gains a foothold, help team members learn to shift gears to positivity by naming something that went well today, this week, or this month. Gather your practice's team members, and encourage each person to share a personal or team win, describing how the positive experience made them feel, and what the occasion meant to them. Having each team member share their perspective—whether serious, minor, or silly—spreads the positive impact of a job well done, enhancing morale. Add a game element by either matching anonymous wins to people or rolling dice to determine questions that bring these stories out in entertaining ways, like "What was the messiest thing I did today?"
5. Field Trip
For a real treat, take your veterinary team meeting to an engaging, off-site location for games, such as a bowling alley, arcade bar, board game cafe, mini-golf course, or even axe throwing center. Add prizes for incentives, but make sure everyone leaves with a full belly and bright smiles. Your team will appreciate the chance to step away from the daily hustle and let loose in a relaxed, friendly environment.
Going Beyond the Game
Games may provide some welcome fun for your veterinary team on the surface, but underneath, they can do so much more—be it breaking the ice, provoking critical thinking, practicing communication strategies, providing continuing education, or helping your team cope with daily stressors. They can also bring more voices to the table and introduce new perspectives that help to break old habits and inspire a new, more positive approach. In the end, these efforts are likely to pay off with an engaged team and improved practice culture.