Code of Conduct

SVC  Code of Conduct

Addendum to SVC Handbook


“What It Means to Uphold Our Core Values”


This Code of Conduct sets behavioral expectations for each member of the Sunnyvale Veterinary Clinic team.  Together with the Employee Policy Manual this document presents policies and expectations that pertain to new and present employees alike. Adherence to and violations of the guidelines in the Code of Conduct should be regarded as having equal weight as those in the Employee Policy Manual.

What it means to make SAFETY my first priority

  • If I or one of my colleagues senses that an animal is aggressive or may be headed in that direction, I will use muzzles, towels, gloves, sedation and any other approved methods to handle that animal

  • I will NOT be dismissive of anyone’s concern for safety – if any member of the staff expresses concern about a patient’s potential aggression that concern must be taken seriously – by doctors, technicians and any other staff members

  • When I see a potential safety hazard – an item on the ground, a sharp instrument left out, a wet floor – I will actively take steps to correct the safety hazard.

  • I will not leave safety in the hands of someone else – I will own it.


Examples of unsafe behavior

  • Getting close to or moving quickly around an animal who’s unknown to you or knowingly reaching for or touching an animal who is marked as a caution.

  • Leaving needles or other sharps out on tables

  • Forgetting to turn off oxygen or anesthesia machines

  • Not using protective gear during x-rays

  • Moving or disturbing a sedated patient, especially after reversal

  • Neglecting to clean up after spills or pet accidents, or not using caution signs while mopping


What it means to be truthful and ethical at all times (INTEGRITY)

  • I will not lie, avoid telling the truth about something, cheat, steal or otherwise deceive any member of the SVC community.

  • When I know there is a “right thing to do,” I will do it – whether it’s helping someone, or admitting a mistake, or easing the pain of a client or patient.

  • I will not involve any of my colleagues in a situation where they have to lie, or avoid telling the truth, cheat, steal or otherwise deceive.

  • If I know that another colleague is not being truthful about a situation, I will do my best to convey the truth

  • I will not hold it against any of my colleagues for telling the truth, even if I am involved.


Examples of dishonest or unethical behavior

  • Changing time clock entries to correct tardiness or to give yourself more hours

  • Asking someone else to clock in for you

  • Making a dosing mistake and not making a note of it in record or telling a manager or veterinarian

  • Wrongly accusing another colleague of doing something to cover up your mistakes

  • Willfully inflicting pain on a patient

  • Saying you completed a task (or signing off on a task) that you did not complete


What it means to stand in other people’s shoes (COMPASSION)

  • Before I express my opinion at work to a colleague or client, I will think about how that opinion might affect them

  • When I find myself frustrated at a colleague or client, I will stop to remember that there may be reasons for their frustrating behavior of which I’m unaware

  • When about to interact with others, I will interrupt my thoughts about my agenda, and stop to consider what they need from me, what they want, or what is happening in their world at that moment and how I can be of service to them.

  • I will not assume that all people will react to my words, my tone or my actions in the same way.

  • In thinking about what I want to accomplish during my day, I will also think about how my wishes may be in or out of line with what is best for SVC or my colleagues – I will weigh my needs against others’.


Examples of uncompassionate behavior

  • Getting impatient with a client who is having a hard time making medical decisions for his / her pet

  • Using a sharp tone in your voice with someone who needs guidance

  • Reacting to someone else’s emotional situation by first expressing how it affects you

  • Withholding care or comfort from a patient, client or colleague when you know it might ease their situation because it’s inconvenient for you

  • Saying “NO” when someone asks you for help

  • Assuming the worst possible explanation for something you hear or observe rather than giving others the benefit of the doubt


What it means to make personal connections (PERSONAL TOUCH)

  • I will introduce myself to clients and colleagues if we’ve never met.

  • If I don’t know much about a client or colleague, I will ask them about themselves and look for things we might have in common.

  • I will use people’s and pet’s names when addressing them

  • Before walking into a room with a client or pet or colleague, I will take a moment to make sure I know names, reasons for the visit and any important details that might be relevant

  • I will never forget that on the other end of the phone, SideNote, email or any other electronic communication, there is a person and I will take a moment to think about that person while crafting my communications

  • Regardless of what kind of day I’m having, I will remember that mine might be the only name, face or personality someone comes in contact with at SVC and I will make sure that the association is a positive and memorable one.


Examples of impersonal behavior

  • Asking a client who they are when they walk into the lobby or when you walk into a room

  • Getting the genders or breeds of patients wrong

  • Not making eye contact

  • Not introducing yourself

  • Not saying your name when you answer the phone

  • Cutting people off when they are trying to connect with you


What it means to keep moving forward  (PROGRESSIVE MEDICINE)

  • I will look for better, more innovative medicine, for customer service improvements, for new ways of thinking about my work and the work of SVC.

  • I will embrace the opportunity to learn new equipment and techniques

  • I will educate myself so that I can educate clients and colleagues

  • If I find ways of innovating, I will share them with my managers and colleagues and I will take some responsibility for implementing them

  • When presented with continuing education and new training, I will eagerly take advantage of the opportunity.


Examples of non-progressive behavior

  • Not bothering to learn how to do something so no one can call on you to do it when needed

  • Saying “no” to trying something new

  • Complaining about inefficiencies or imperfect procedures but making no effort to improve them

  • Being unwilling to change how you do your job because it requires work or is intimidating

  • Dismissing questions from a client or a colleague about new modes of treatment


What it means to be a member of a team (TEAMWORK)

  • I think of myself as part of a whole, not whole, and I work as though I’m connected to my colleagues, not in spite of them.

  • I don’t say NO to a colleague who asks for my help.Ever.I may not be able to say yes to the request immediately, but the answer will never be NO.

  • I make an effort to “see” clients and colleagues – I adapt my efforts based on what they need and what they want.

  • Before I decide that someone is doing something incorrectly, I ask them why they are doing it their way – maybe I’ll learn something.

  • If I need help, I will ask.I will not assume that others can read my mind.And If I see a way in which I can help, I will offer.I will not wait for others to ask.

  • I will not spread my negativity.If I have problems, concerns, issues, challenges, I will keep them to myself at work.


Examples of non-team behavior

  • Rolling your eyes, making hand gestures, sighing or using other non-verbal expressions of frustration or reluctance.

  • Making up excuses why you can’t help someone

  • Taking over rather than teaching or explaining

  • Criticizing in public

  • Assuming the worst in clients or colleagues, questioning motivations without evidence

  • Taking long lunches and breaks or complaining about taking a break or lunch late

  • Never being willing to stay late or work at an inconvenient time

  • Being unwilling to train or instruct, if asked, because it requires effort

  • Talking about colleagues or clients negatively

  • Switching shifts or making up excuses to switch shifts so you can work with some people and avoid others

  • Seeing ways in which you can help someone with their job and choosing instead to complain about how they didn’t finish their work

  • Criticizing or mocking someone for needing help or not knowing how to do something

  • Slacking off, not doing extra jobs when you have the time, not being willing to do “dirty” or unpopular jobs.