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children

The First Step: Acknowledge Inequality

Diversity Toolbox

Ensuring diversity in veterinary medicine requires reframing our thinking and actively helping all children to achieve their dreams.

Did you know that the word “meritocracy” has been used pejoratively? While the root, “merit,” has always meant achievement based on intelligence and performance, “meritocracy” has been used as a satirical critique of an overreliance on selection processes that lack transparency and depend upon inherently biased tools such as standardized testing. Michael Dunlop, a noted […]

retirement plan

Work on Your Clinic’s Retirement Plan

Financial Wellness

An expert adviser can help select the wisest and most rewarding option for practice owners and their employees.

We hear from veterinarians across America — both small and large animal — that recruiting sharp, young clinicians to their practices is difficult. To attract, retain and reward employees, practice owners must offer competitive compensation and an engaging culture as well as a properly designed retirement plan. Further, in an environment where taxes could rise, […]

preventive care

The Paradox of Preventive Care

Creative Disruption

We should celebrate the state of nothingness. The absence of disease is a consequence of frequent visits and client compliance.

One of the many challenges our society faces with COVID-19 is that nothing happens if we wear a mask, wash our hands and physically distance from one another. Nothing is a good thing, right? No one gets sick. However, recognizing and reinforcing behavior that results in the absence of disease is difficult. The same can […]

growth

4 Threats to Sustained Growth

Politics and Policy

The veterinary profession isn’t doing enough to support the booming pet market. Change must come from the top and from practice owners.

The economic surge in pet health care and services has exceeded 14 months. There’s no end in sight. The fundamentals appear to be in place: rising pet ownership, growing demand for pet services, the millennial and Gen Z appetites for human-quality pet health care, the acceptance of online delivery models, access to capital, etc. The […]

chart of accounts

How to Account for Your COGS

Money Matters

A list of codes can be as complex or as straightforward as you want. In the end, it will help you monitor and adjust your expenses and prices.

Imagine this scenario: A practice broker says you will get a much higher price for your veterinary hospital if you reduce your spending on the cost of goods sold (COGS) from 30% of gross fees to 25%. In a practice grossing $2 million, you would need to cut spending from $600,000 annually to $500,000. Alternatively, […]

violence

Prepare for the Unthinkable

Protect and Defend

Unforeseen violence can happen anywhere, sadly. Do your best to prevent it and always be situationally aware.

Earlier this year, the United States saw multiple mass-casualty events linked to what police commonly call an “active shooter.” A quick Google search noted at least 71 such events since 2011. Unprovoked acts of gun violence are sometimes random and sometimes retaliatory. Businesses, churches, schools, movie theaters, outdoor public events and even military installations have […]

political divide

The Great Political Divide

Diversity Toolbox

Let’s find the middle ground in the interest of free speech and mutual respect. Clinic leaders can play a key role.

I’m sure we can agree that the last decade in the United States has been politically polarizing. Despite constant calls for unity, we have seen increased sociopolitical unrest, broken friendships, shattered familial relationships and much, much more. The data bears this out. Ahead of the November presidential election, Pew Research Center studies found that 90% […]

communications

It’s About Time

Talk the Talk

Improving your client communications will mean less wasted effort and will help build loyalty and compliance.

Many veterinary practices are dealing with staff shortages, increased caseloads, more client demands and curbside care inefficiencies. This is why it’s imperative to streamline client communications while still focusing on building trust and rapport. Combining efficiency with client engagement is the key to enhanced loyalty and compliance. Why Communications Are Inefficient Let’s look at some […]

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 […]

goals

The Upside of Letting Go

Discharge Notes

Trust yourself to adjust your career goals.

“How did I get here?” the veterinarian asked me. His shoulders slumped as though his white coat had lead in the pockets. “I don’t like my job, I don’t like where I live, I don’t like where I’m going, and I haven’t enjoyed where I’ve been.” Our profession is seeing an epidemic of self-inflicted anxiety […]

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