Fair and Square
Veterinarians should have a basic understanding of the rules of competition. You don’t want to run afoul of antitrust laws.
Federal antitrust laws are discussed when transactions between corporate titans are in the news, such as the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. Such laws, however, are the foundation of modern American capitalism and a subject that veterinary businesses need to understand, at least in principle. In a truly free market — one with no regulations […]
Bond With a Pet Trainer
An outside expert can meticulously answer many of the questions your clients pose and prepare pets to be willing participants in veterinary care.
Clients have asked me almost every conceivable pet behavior question over the past 20 years, including some that I never envisioned. And while at the beginning of my career I was always willing to spend lots of extra time with clients during an appointment, I soon found that to be exhausting, unsustainable and, later as […]
Shortages and Excesses
Politics and Policy
We have too few veterinary professionals (and dogs) and too much student debt. There is a way out.
COVID carried on a curious relationship with the veterinary industry throughout 2020 and early 2021. Much has been written about the industry’s financial strength and gains during this period, hopefully putting to rest chronic fears that pet health care is a fragile sector and susceptible to sudden downturns. The toll on human lives is a […]
A practice manager shouldn’t be an absent employee’s automatic replacement. Cross-train team members and empower them to look after each other.
As the young manager of a small veterinary practice, I regularly spent part of my workweek covering shifts for vacationing or sick veterinary technicians and client service representatives. As the animal hospital grew alongside my confidence and status, I pitched in only occasionally as a courtesy and not under compulsion or out of desperation. When […]
Build a Financial Foundation
You should work with the present and future in mind. Setting aside 10% of your earnings now will pay off big-time decades from now.
A crude definition of financial life planning is bringing the future to the present while you still have time to act. More formally, it’s the process of organizing your financial goals into something workable so that you can live in financial security in the style you desire. Financial life planning involves the proper handling of […]
Better Safe Than Sorry
Workplace violence is nearly impossible to predict, but having a safety plan in place is in everyone’s best interest.
We owe it to everybody on the veterinary team to take all reasonable precautions to prevent a violent or dangerous workplace situation, whether the circumstance involves a potentially volatile client or an upset employee. Here are the most common threats you might face on the job and the steps you can take to de-escalate them. […]
Feel the Warmth
Try not to fixate on hardship and negativity. So much good is happening all around you.
It’s sleeting nonstop outside and I’m beginning to worry that someone might slip if the clinic parking lot ices over. Meanwhile, the woman in Exam Room 4 has rosy cheeks, a steaming cup of Starbucks and a thick knit turtleneck sweater. I smell cinnamon as she blows on the latte both to cool the drink […]
Constructive Criticism, Poor Communication and More
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 […]
It’s All Coming Into Focus
We know (or think we know) where veterinary medicine is headed over the next decade. Let’s prepare for and enjoy the ride.
I have been around long enough to be wary about futurists, the people who all too often predict a future that looks pretty much like today, only more so. None of these futurists seem to be able to see around corners or alert us to unanticipated dangers. Too bad the futurists of 1750 didn’t understand […]
‘Just’ a GP
General practitioners are the heart and soul of veterinary medicine, so stop discounting their career choice.
Teddy Roosevelt once said that complaining and not offering a solution is whining. Fair warning: I’m about to whine. I recently spoke with a brilliant, young fourth-year veterinary clinical student. She is smart, driven, compassionate and eager to make a difference. (Come to think of it, all veterinary and veterinary technician students are determined to […]