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Leadership

emergency hospital

My dog broke his leg

Practice Smarter

Sure, veterinary practices are super busy, but curtly turning away emergency cases or making pet owners endure long, silent waits won’t endear clients to your hospital. Video or audio visits, anyone?

My 18-month-old, love-of-my-life Great Dane rescue dog broke his leg. Ben was playing in the backyard and caught his right front leg in something, causing a greenstick fracture of his distal radius. This happened in the early afternoon, so I called the veterinary practice where we have been a client for over a year. Now, […]

mindfulness

Your unique path to mindfulness and flow

Go With the Flow

Identify an appealing activity that you can consistently incorporate into your regular routine.

Our most recent article, “Flow in Uncertain Times” — read it at bit.ly/TVBFlow — reviewed the key elements of the flow state. When in flow, we are likely to: Have clear goals that we are inspired to pursue. Experience a deep focus of attention and effectively tune out distractions. Be fully present and accepting of […]

burnout

How to reduce burnout

Getting Technical

The pandemic has made work and daily life even more stressful. You can mitigate the tension if you set expectations for clients, fine-tune staff schedules and practice self-care.

Burnout is an inevitable aspect of working in the veterinary profession. Characterized in many ways, it’s commonly described as “persistent physical, mental or emotional exhaustion caused by long-term stress, usually as a result of excessive workplace and/or personal responsibilities.” A function of where you work rather than what you do, stress-​related burnout is more prominent […]

practice owner

When your boss is the problem

Take Charge

Conflict with a practice owner can arise from insecurity, personality differences or unapologetic callousness. A manager who understands the root cause can help bring harmony to the clinic.

How should veterinary hospital managers neutralize a practice owner whose behavior toward staff is unpredictable or relentlessly difficult? How do you help the team to cope with such a leader? When bosses behave badly, managing up can be the remedy. Reality Check Hospital managers often feel a sense of ownership. The majority of us, however, […]

mental health

You can help

H.R. Huddle

Recognizing signs of mental distress in team members is the first step in getting them the assistance they might urgently need.

On the day your practice hired Maria as a veterinary nurse, you were thrilled. Not only did Maria have plenty of experience, but she was compassionate and caring, too. A win-win. Nowadays, though, you notice that Maria is on edge much of the time, experiencing what seem to be panic attacks. Some days her anxiety […]

flow

Flow in uncertain times

Go With the Flow

Rather than being overwhelmed by a unique and daunting situation, practices and their owners seemed to tap into their inner reserves and resources and then meet the challenges with agility.

The last few months have been unique in their level of disruption of behavior patterns, norms and lives across the globe. It’s easy to occasionally become overwhelmed by both the magnitude and rapidity of the events that unfolded and continue to unfold. So, discussing “flow” in the context of recent national and global events might […]

delegate

I dare you to delegate

Give yourself a well-deserved and well-justified break by assigning some of your tasks to people qualified to take them on. Everyone from your patients to your staff will benefit, and so will your clinic.

Twenty years ago, the KPMG megastudy on veterinary medicine noted: “The majority of animal care is still being delivered through a highly fragmented and inefficient system. This includes issues related to excess capacity, staff utilization and the use of capital resources.” The report went on to say, “There is some evidence that practices that utilize […]

trust

Trust your team to be great

Autonomy, a sense of purpose and well-timed feedback can elevate your employees to the next level of performance.

I’ve been lucky recently to have had really good conversations with practice owners and managers about workplace culture. Inevitably, we get around to discussing why people do certain things in the clinic. In particular, why do some team members seem able to take the initiative when others need more structure and guidance before they take […]

patient flow

The P.U.R.R.fect hospital patient flow

You can improve outcomes by utilizing lean process techniques to optimize the way a patient moves through your hospital.

Moving a patient through a veterinary hospital is a complex activity involving many opportunities to make minor improvements that would result in better outcomes for the hospital, patient and client. Lean processes are those that have been analyzed and refined to maximize efficiencies, experiences, accuracy and financial outcomes. Utilizing studies of lean process techniques, I […]

bonding rate

Diminishing returns

Practice Smarter

A client bonding rate of 60% is nothing to celebrate. Use surveys, mystery shoppers, reminders and other tactics to get pet owners to come back to your clinic time after time.

When I present seminars, I talk about all the financial information that can be gleaned from practice management software, but do you know which benchmark I consider most important? Your practice’s bonding rate — the rate of return of clients within 18 months of their last visit. It’s your practice’s success rate. You might know […]

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