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 […]
Talk the Talk
Learn to use better phrases so that your client communication is more positive and meaningful.
Rather than making a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of 2020, I chose a word for the year: communication. As I reflect on my actions and the communication skills I practiced, I’m reminded of how much words matter. The right words spoken at the right time can build connections with people and positively affect […]
Videoconferencing has been associated with an uptick in discriminatory and marginalizing behaviors.
A colleague instant-messaged me a few months ago to ask for advice. She shared that she was trying to renegotiate hotel contracts as her organization was moving to virtual meetings due to COVID-19 restrictions. Before the pandemic, most of her day-to-day work involved emails and phone calls. Once COVID-19 struck and the world embraced or […]
Who Calls the Shots?
Veterinary practices have some leeway but must follow the law when they seek to influence employee health.
Few people would object if their employer offered them free gym memberships or voluntary access to a smoking-cessation program. Their reactions might be quite different if certain health benchmarks or controls were made mandatory. All this raises the question of when an employer can require someone to get a vaccine, for example, or stop smoking, […]
Return to Form
When was the last time you updated your client information sheet? Put it online, and ask the right questions.
Remember those old-school client registration forms? You know, the ones on a clipboard that we gave to clients, but only until the pandemic emerged, at which point we either created digital versions or disinfected the clipboards after use? Even before curbside care became normal, our client registration forms needed an overhaul. When COVID-19 hit, many […]