Game of Thrones – Veterinary practice edition: What to do when your office culture feels more like an epic power struggle

by By Kate Zirkle

11 min read

To be alive in 2019 means you’ve at least heard of the hit tv show Game of Thrones on HBO. The highly-anticipated series finale recently aired on May 19th, 2019.

Even if you’re not a diehard fan, you have at least some sense that it’s a show about the epic power struggle for control of the Seven Kingdoms between many characters. The level of honor, deceit, and manipulation vary wildly and unpredictably.  

It makes for great television but what do you do when your veterinary practice feels more like an episode of Game of Thrones than a healthy office culture? Read on as we take a lighthearted and humorous look at veterinary practice culture through a Game of Thrones lens.

Identify Your Main Characters – Game of Thrones Style

Let’s see if you can identify any of your techs, supervisors, doctors, owners, or yourself by their true Game of Thrones nature. Warning: spoilers and humor ahead

Ned Stark:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Ned is that one tech who, for better or worse, has no filter. He speaks his mind openly and quite often with little regard for vet office politics. He questions the behavior of each of your doctors – why are they “always” late? He criticizes your receptionist for how she manages appointments. He criticizes you for scheduling. He even questions your practice owner’s decisions.

Ned thinks he’s acting with honor and honesty but ends up losing his head and getting fired for being too difficult to work with. Oh, Ned…

Robert Baratheon:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Robert is the oblivious practice owner. He’s so close to retirement that he just doesn’t have the energy or desire to effectively lead his veterinary practice anymore. His office might be crumbling around him yet he remains woefully ignorant.

If he’s not careful, his empire will go belly up and he’ll be left with nothing. His clever and cunning staff may even stage a coup to regain control of the floundering practice.

Joffrey Baratheon:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Joffrey is the practice owner’s meddling son. With no veterinary or business background, he enters your practice with an unfounded sense of authority and entitlement. He treats your staff like garbage and generally makes your job a million times harder.

You spend your days putting out his fires and secretly hoping that something will pull his attention away from your practice so that you can get back to business.

Cersei Lannister:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Cersei is the ruthless receptionist. She trusts no one and invokes fear in the rest of your staff. She is shortsighted, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. And yet, she is the face of your practice. Just imagine how she makes clients feel.

Without intervention, Cersei will take your practice down with her. Handle her wisely.

Jaime Lannister:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Jaime is the tech you recently put on a performance improvement plan (PIP) due to his bad behavior. He appears to be improving and progressing throughout his program. You have high hopes that he is turning a corner and his changes will stick.

Alas, Jaime lets you down in the end. He reverts back to his atrocious behavior and pays the ultimate price for it. You have no choice but to terminate him.

Lord Varys:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Varys is that one doctor who prides himself on being the Master of Whisperers. He collects and spreads gossip throughout your practice. He meddles and manipulates for his own personal gain. He focuses more on secrets than medicine.

You may need to put Varys in the hot seat and confront him on his actions.

Jon Snow:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Jon is that trusty tech whom you’re eager to promote to supervisor. He is reluctant to lead even though he’s damn good at it. Other techs look up to him as he sets an honorable example and supports those around him. He is loved by many.

However, it’d be wise to counsel Jon on the dangers of workplace romance before things heat up.

Daenerys Targaryen:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Dany is one epic practice manager. She is strong, ambitious, and has very clear goals. At her best, she surrounds herself with wise advisors and strives to make her practice a better place. At her worst, she is impulsive, reactive, and forceful.

Danny is all of us before our morning coffee. She too should be counseled on the dangers of getting romantically involved with a coworker.

The Night King:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

This is death itself. To think that death isn’t a major player in a veterinary practice is sadly unrealistic. We’ve all known days where we’ve had back to back to back euthanasias. We’ve lost our favorite patients to old age and illness. We’ve said goodbye too many times.

For ourselves and our staff, the only thing we can do beyond providing mental health support is to look at the God of Death and say, “Not today.”

Brienne of Tarth:
Game of Thrones – Veterinary Practice Edition

Brienne is the epitome of honor, duty, and courage. She remains unwaveringly strong and dedicated. Brienne is what all practice managers aspire to be. She immerses herself in courses, materials, and conferences with the intention of being the best practice manager she can be.

She arms herself with knowledge and tools to effectively lead her practice. She sets an amazing example for her veterinary staff by living her values every moment of every day.

[bctt tweet=”Are you channeling your inner Brienne today?”]

Moral of the Story

So, how many characters did you recognize in your own practice? Based on our humorous and fairly sarcastic list, hopefully not many! Did we miss any of your favorite Game of Thrones characters? Let us know. We’d love to hear your take on this cheeky topic.

Kate Zirkle is a Marketing Manager for VetSuccess. She is passionate about animal rescue, personal development, and travel. When not working to advance the veterinary industry, she can be found kayaking, reading, and planning her next trip.

Kate Zirkle

Kate Zirkle

Kate Zirkle is a Product Marketing Manager for Vetsource. She is passionate about animal rescue, personal development, and travel. When not working to advance the veterinary industry, she can be found kayaking, reading, and planning her next trip.

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