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Ernie Ward, DVM, CVFT

Column:Opening Shots

Dr. Ernie Ward (drernieward.com) is an award-winning veterinarian, impact entrepreneur, book author and media personality. When he’s not with family or pet patients, Dr. Ward can be found contemplating solutions for the future as he participates in endurance athletics and meditation.

Dr. Ernie Ward (drernieward.com) is an award-winning veterinarian, impact entrepreneur, book author and media personality. When he’s not with family or pet patients, Dr. Ward can be found contemplating solutions for the future as he participates in endurance athletics and meditation.

paycheck

Paycheck Chatter and the Need for Time Off

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: I own a four-doctor clinic and recently overheard our new associate veterinarian complain about her paycheck to a couple of technicians. She told them that most of her classmates received a higher percentage of revenue and better benefits. We have a written policy of not discussing compensation with other staff members. What should I […]

veterinary boss employee

Hunger Pangs, Bad Behavior and Equipment Envy

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: We’re super busy and probably understaffed. I’m OK that we never get to eat lunch, but my boss gets frustrated when I sit down to grab water and snacks in between appointments. What can I do? A: I feel your pain and hunger. Tell your boss that I’m frustrated by the number of veterinarians […]

staff conflict

Tattoos, Stress and Staff Conflict

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: At least once a week, one of my friends on social media messages me to seek pet advice. Many of the conversations take considerable time. If I respond, “Go to your veterinarian,” my friend says I’m not compassionate. Am I a fake friend or is my friend asking too much? A: Real friends don’t […]

criticism

Constructive Criticism, Poor Communication and More

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: I have an employee who can’t take constructive criticism. When my practice manager talks to her privately, the meetings take forever and she is full of blame for others. How can I help her understand that we’re only trying to help? A: First, make sure your communication isn’t part of the problem. Delivering constructive […]

Opening Shots team pay

Staff Strife, Instagram Envy and More

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: My best technician of 10 years is loved by our clients but hated by our staff. She’s patient and kind with pets but condescending and rude to other team members. I don’t want to fire her, but the situation is destroying my team. What do I do? A: Unlike Bigfoot and the Loch Ness […]

overweight cat

Food for thought

Therapeutic diets are a great way to treat pet obesity. Veterinary teams need to remember the three keys: patience, flexibility and creativity.

Pet obesity is a huge problem, with nearly 60% of all U.S. dogs and cats classified as overweight or obese in 2018. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which I founded, conducts yearly prevalence surveys each October to measure not only the number of affected pets but also the attitudes and opinions of pet owners […]

In the internet we trust

Your reputation and credibility are on the line in today's world, so know how to request online reviews and respond to less-than-stellar comments.

I was wet, cold and slouched beside my broken-down car. Desperate for a tow truck, I pulled out my iPhone and Googled. In less than a second, I had three nearby tow services plotted on a map. Each was heralded by a string of stars. The first business boasted a 4.9-star rating from 56 reviews. […]

How pet insurance may save your career

Insured clients, job satisfaction and our ability to provide the best care for pets are all intertwined.

“I can’t do this anymore. This is not how I thought my life would go.” Dr. B stared at the appointment schedule a moment longer before shrugging and walking to the controlled-substances cabinet. Her day would begin with a euthanasia, accented by an early-afternoon end-of-life visit, and finish with a final eternal farewell visit. This […]

3 common communication blunders

Bad body language and a poor choice of words can damage a client relationship.

The veterinarian slumped a little, a sigh revealing her disbelief and signaling her impatience. “Can you explain again how that blood test tells us what’s wrong with Tigger’s pee-pee?” the client asked. The veterinarian didn’t understand what the pet owner couldn’t comprehend. This was so simple. The hashtag #SMH (shaking my head) crossed the doctor’s […]

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