Monday, January 23, 2023

Milliron Monday: At the Office

Dr. Pete Smith in surgery at Milliron Clinic, Athens, Ohio 

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"If you stay too late at work, you aren't organizing your work well enough. If you're here after seven o'clock - unless it's an emergency - I'm charging you rent."
― Jody's newspaper clipping with this memo

Every office has its hierarchy of personnel. It was no different at Milliron Clinic. Jody found it difficult not to intervene and send help when needed, if only in the form of a memo to staff. No one staff member is singled out. Now, it's only for engaging reading.

Memo to Staff: June 10, 1998

    I have one main objective in getting involved with this office - to keep it from getting over involved with my personal life. Example: I have several social and personal contacts of my own with people with horses and dogs. Ninety percent of the time, I hear how well everyone does at Milliron Clinic (sometimes against great odds). Occasionally, I get feedback of one employee being rude (inexcusable but understandable, considering how inconsiderate some clients can be).

    If everyone involved here could mainly be responsible for doing what they do best, things would run more smoothly and not overlap into personal problems as frequently.

    Dr. Smith is most eminently qualified as a surgeon, diagnostician, nutritional expert, animal health consultant, etc. His time should be free for these tasks and uninterrupted whenever possible. All other jobs should be assigned elsewhere - secretaries can and should screen out phone calls and be sure Dr. Smith is not interrupted when with a patient, client, etc. except for an emergency. He should return the call at his convenience, or if they prefer, particularly if long distance, they should call back at a designated time when Dr. Smith can be called to the phone.

    Dr. Smith must, however, be in charge of and be consulted on all vital matters of policy, as he is ultimately responsible - legally, financially, and morally - for everything that happens at the clinic. If in doubt about a policy, reason for procedure, whatever, consult the person in charge of that area. If not satisfied, gather all your facts, ideas, etc., then consult Dr. Smith and the two of you work out a reasonable solution to the problem.

    If you are assigned a task you cannot handle, get help, trade assignments, whatever, until you feel confident to handle it. (The maturing effects of this office on those who manage to survive are very impressive). We have all the talent we need here if we can just organize it and use it wisely.

    My main motive in all this is essentially selfish. I would like more of my husband to myself, uninterrupted by office matters, unbothered by financial worries, etc. I realize this will take time, but I'm willing to be patient - tomorrow is soon enough. Seriously, a little improvement every day, day after day, is what we're after.

    Three specific objectives:

    A. Communication improvements.

    B. Efficiency in every area - proper attitudes, proper equipment to get jobs done well and in reasonably good time, correct priorities, correct emergency procedures needed.

    C. Safety, welfare of man and beast; be sure your actions aren't causing more problems than they are helping. Lack of thought, a moment's carelessness can cost a child's life. Examples: medications, closed doors, barriers to children. 

    Each staff member must take personal responsibility (and hopefully, pride) for his/her own job. Wear nametags - nicknames, CB handles, whatever is reasonable would be acceptable.

Notes from staff:

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


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