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Leadership

manager

A Lasting Impression

Take Charge

A manager who delegates properly will create a veterinary team that performs autonomously and confidently.

My tenure at Daniel Island Animal Hospital is drawing to a close. (More on my impending move in future articles.) As I work to organize the practice for success in my absence, I look for ways to enhance my teammates’ involvement, empowerment and motivation. My skills in organization and delegation are being stretched. I have […]

psychological safety

Install a Psychological Safety Net

Veterinary practices thrive when team members feel free to admit mistakes, propose ideas and express opinions. A close-mouthed culture does no one any good. 

Several years ago when I co-owned and managed a small animal general practice, we hired a newly graduated certified veterinary technician who was enthusiastic about animal care. She brought a zest for learning and a desire to connect with the team. With roughly a year of full-time work in her wake, this CVT — let’s […]

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 […]

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