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The Gift of Gab

Talk the Talk

A well-trained CSR team will confidently and knowledgeably engage clients. The return on investment is greater efficiency.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the question, “Do you want it done fast or right?” You might respond, “Both!” Here’s another question: Would you rather have a client service representative (CSR) spend three minutes or six minutes quoting fees over the phone to a potential client? Given how busy your practice is, you’d prefer three minutes. But […]

pandemic future

The Next Chapter

Practice Smarter

At some point, you might want to roll back changes you made because of the pandemic. In the meantime, remember to update your fees regularly and re-engage clients with whom you lost touch.

I often wondered over the past year when I would be able to write this article, but today I see signs of optimism. What will life look like when we are out of the pandemic, and how must we adapt to the reality that follows? First, let’s take a quick look back. Although COVID-19 took […]


Take the Fear Out of Injections


A series of small steps will pay off with a happier pet, a relieved client and stress-free return visits.

One of my clients used to joke that she did more shopping when she saw me at the veterinary hospital than she did at the grocery store or on Amazon. She’d buy food for all four of her pets, chronic medications, heartworm and flea/tick preventives, treats, toys, harnesses, toothbrushes, and even ID tags and collars. […]

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 […]

sale mistakes

8 Mistakes You’ll Regret

Legal Lingo

You must check all the boxes when buying or selling a practice. Skipping a step could leave either side unhappy.

The purchase or sale of a veterinary practice can be an overwhelming journey. Even seasoned clinicians will encounter numerous potholes — emotional, financial and legal issues — on the road to closing what in many cases can be a multimillion-dollar transaction. Here are eight gaffes that frequently occur in the veterinary world and suggestions for […]

working interview

Auditioning for a Job

Take Charge

Remember to follow the rules when you bring an applicant into the hospital to shadow a team member or do actual work.

Finding the perfect candidate to fill an open veterinary position is often a challenge. After you conduct a résumé review, reference check and 30-minute conversation, you still might not know whether the interviewee truly possesses the skills, knowledge and personality necessary for success. Inviting top candidates into the clinic for a job shadowing opportunity or […]


A Few Antidotes to COVID Stress

Go With the Flow

From requesting help to practicing mindfulness to controlled breathing, you have options for counteracting the pandemic’s effect on your psyche.

From the pandemic that brought you the terms “social distancing” and “Zoom fatigue,” here’s another one to add to your vocabulary: COVID stress. Little did we know when the pandemic emerged in early 2020 that COVID-19 would continue to disrupt our lives over a year later. COVID stress is the inevitable result of the uncertainty […]


Our Complicated Relationships

Discharge Notes

When compromise is impossible, splitting up is sometimes the best option for conflicted and downtrodden veterinary professionals.

I encountered a veterinarian who wanted to sacrifice herself to our profession and a technician who wanted to rebel against it. The veterinarian — we’ll call her Jane — is a full-time doctor, married to a spouse who travels more than 50% of the time, and the mother of a 6-month-old daughter. Her daughter’s child […]

pay raise

What About a Raise?

H.R. Huddle

A request for a pay hike can come at any time. Employees must be prepared when asking for one and managers need to know how to respond.

Veterinary practices, like many other businesses, often award pay raises during annual employee reviews. The timing is logical because it’s a moment for performance-related feedback. But what if you’re a practice team member who thinks you deserve a raise outside of the normal timeframe? For example, you’ve taken on extra duties during the pandemic and […]

employee training

Educate and Document

Getting Technical

Whether you and your employees like it or not, safety training is a must at veterinary clinics.

Many practice managers and employees cringe at the thought of conducting or attending safety training, the most dreaded meeting of the year. Among the excuses heard about why training doesn’t happen regularly and consistently are: we’re too busy; safety training is boring and nobody cares; “it” will never happen to us; getting the whole team […]