By Michael W. Miller, DVM
A well run veterinary practice functions as a team. So, let’s compare vet personnel to the positions on the most renowned sport in the wizarding world: Quidditch! Which position would you play?
BEATERS – Client Service Representatives
They may go by many names: Client Service Representatives, Receptionists, or Front Desk Staff. To make this less complicated, I will just refer to them as the Beaters for now. In Quidditch, the Beaters are in charge of keeping the erratic bludgers away from their teammates in order to help their team score goals and catch the snitch. Beaters don’t actually score points, but they can either set their teammates up to succeed or let the bludgers knock them off course.
Veterinary Beaters play a very important role in the hospital. They can keep the bludgers in a practice away, or at least re-direct them so that they are more manageable for the rest of the team to handle. Phone calls are answered, clients are checked in and out, and the schedule is created to set the stage for the rest of the team. Bludgers are continually batted away to allow the hospital to run effectively.
Beaters do not always get the glory the other positions receive, but the rest of the team would be in big trouble without them. By controlling the bludgers, Veterinary Beaters set the rest of the practice up to succeed.
CHASERS – Veterinary Technicians
Vet techs are the workhorses of a veterinary practice, like Chasers are on a Quidditch team. Chasers are in charge of handling the quaffle and working together to score goals. Each goal is only worth 10 points, but that score can add up very quickly with a good group of chasers.
Vet techs are similarly involved in a lot of the important heavy action. Client education, patient restraint, venipuncture, surgery assistance, and on and on and on… The action never stops. They constantly battle to score as many points as they can throughout the day.
Vet techs also must work with all of the other team members. They watch for bludgers that got away from the Beaters, point out the snitch to the Seeker who may have missed it, and try to keep the quaffle away from the Keeper as much as possible. They are integrated into everything that is going on during the game. The best veterinary technicians are similarly involved in some way with every teammate in their practice.
KEEPER – Practice Manager
Practice managers are the final line of defense. In Quidditch, Keepers block scoring attempts to keep the quaffle out of the goal hoops. They don’t get the glory of scoring goals, but they can receive cheers for stopping them.
Likewise, practice managers deal with all the issues that fall to them, with little glory for making amazing saves. They are the last chance to keep the opponent off the scoreboard.
Once a goal is saved, the Keeper then reintroduces the quaffle into play – effectively getting the ball rolling for their team to attempt to score a goal. Veterinary practice managers can similarly turn a blocked goal into a chance for the team to change direction and score. The momentum shifts. The quaffle moves toward the opposite goal. But also like a Keeper, a manager is continually dealing with quaffle after quaffle coming their way. Their job can be overwhelming on a weak team, or made easier by having wonderful Beaters and Chasers setting them up to succeed.
SEEKER – Veterinarian
Veterinarians get the most attention, whether it’s earned or not, like Seekers. Their successes are worth more points and seem to be the most important. Catching the snitch is worth 150 points and ends the game!
But, like Seekers in Quidditch, vets only truly succeed when the rest of the team is functioning smoothly. Viktor Krum, the best seeker in the world, still lost the Quidditch World Cup because the rest of his team wasn’t as strong.
On the flip side, a good team with a bad seeker will often lose. Even on a Slytherin team that was pretty tough, Draco Malfoy’s inability to catch the snitch cost his team. A wonderful veterinary team with a less than stellar doctor will have a similarly difficult time succeeding. A lot of pressure is put on the doctor to accomplish the tasks that score the most points and usually result in a win. It can be a lot to deal with, but there is less of a burden when the rest of the team has their back.
Okay, so I realize that veterinary practices are extremely complex and each individual location can have its own unique culture and team dynamics. Still, the similarities to Quidditch are striking – and frankly fun to think about!
If you are a Seeker, make sure to thank your underappreciated Beaters for keeping the bludgers away. If you are a Chaser, please appreciate all the goals that your Keeper saved. Use this Quidditch analogy to appreciate the value of your other teammates, and discover the magic in your veterinary team.