I love back to school time. Even more than New Year's Day, I find the beginning of an academic year energizing. I have loved it since I was a little girl, getting new shoes, a new lunch box, organizing all of my notebooks and folders....it always felt like I was prepared to accomplish great things. I loved being a student myself, and I love watching my children as students. As they cover and decorate their books, sharpen their pencils, and pack their book bags, I am reading through the numerous documents sent out by the school district about their plans for educating my family. Luckily, I have time to do this because of my amazing and competent team at Gladwyne Animal Hospital taking care of everything expected and unexpected that happens there day to day.
Last night, though, after a full day of kicking butt in surgery and appointments (a topic for a future blog post), I nearly threw the whole pile of back to school papers away. Here is why, and next is how it relates to veterinary medicine:
I was struggling through the most poorly written document on the introduction of a type of computer called Google Chromebooks to the tools that students will have access to during the school year. I didn't even get to the end of the letter, but on the last page there was a consent form to sign that had, thankfully, a bottom line: my child will need a username and password to be assigned by the school district. Fine. I am sure that Google Chromebooks are a good thing, but the document was so poorly written that I was not only bored before finishing the first paragraph, I was wondering who the district staff member responsible for writing it was. That person needs to know that I trust the district to make decisions on implementing new tools, and if I wanted four pages of information on Google Chromebooks, I would have gone to the internet and read some clearly stated information about it. (I did that this morning.) What I wanted from the district was about four sentences: "We have decided after researching the evidence to use "x" in the classrooms. In order for you child to take advantage of "x", you need to do "y". Here is how to do "y". Please contact us or go to "z" web page if you have questions about "x" or "y"." That would have been ideal, but if they really felt the need to give a large amount of information, they should have proofread it. The letter was awful.
How does this relate to dogs, cats or veterinary medicine? I hope that I have earned the trust of my patient's owners and that they know we are always there to answer all of their questions any time. With that, I think that most of those very busy people really just want to know clearly and concisely what I think the problem is, and what action they need to take to solve the problem. At that point, if they have questions, I have answers.
Lower Merion School District has earned my trust. The teachers and administrators have not let me down. While I still love back to school season, I do not have time to read infinite pages (nor do I want to see that much paper wasted) about policies and procedures. I trust that the policies and procedures are valid, and if I have a question, I'll ask.