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Take Charge

practice manager

Crunch Time

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A practice manager shouldn’t be an absent employee’s automatic replacement. Cross-train team members and empower them to look after each other.

As the young manager of a small veterinary practice, I regularly spent part of my workweek covering shifts for vacationing or sick veterinary technicians and client service representatives. As the animal hospital grew alongside my confidence and status, I pitched in only occasionally as a courtesy and not under compulsion or out of desperation. When […]

health

Who Calls the Shots?

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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, […]

manager

A Lasting Impression

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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 […]

practice owner

When your boss is the problem

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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, […]

recession

The worst and best of times

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Practices that conserve cash, champion job security and nurture clients will be ready to capitalize on an economic resurgence. When leadership takes care of the team, the team takes care of the business.

It became official June 8: The United States began its pandemic-fueled recession in February 2020 after experiencing the longest economic expansion in the nation’s history. The announcement was a bit difficult to reconcile because many veterinary practices are experiencing abnormally busy summers. However, as unemployment safety nets dissolve and consumer confidence erodes, hospital managers need […]

change

We will bounce back

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COVID-19 tested the ability of practice leaders to adapt to change. The profession will emerge better equipped to tackle the next challenge with optimism and grace.

What a dynamic time this is. As I write this article in mid-April, I wonder how my veterinary practice will be operating when you read this in early June or afterward. Will stay-at-home orders still be in place? Will the veterinary team at Daniel Island Veterinary Hospital be healthy and able to work? Will pet […]

managers

The forgotten team member

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Outnumbered and full of responsibility, practice managers aren’t immune to the personal struggles afflicting doctors and staff. Solutions are within reach.

As veterinary practice managers, we frequently discuss supporting employee wellness and combating veterinarian compassion fatigue, but our own stress and disengagement are less commonly addressed. Let’s do it now. Why are we ignored? In part, it’s a numbers game. The ratio of doctors and technicians to managers is high, so more emphasis naturally is put […]

value

You bring value to a practice

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Hospital managers have a huge say in a clinic’s financial course and whether the owner achieves an ideal selling price.

One of our primary responsibilities as a practice manager is to sustainably maximize shareholder value (profit). Whether you have full access to the accounting and play a role in major financial decisions or have limited governance over categories like human resources, inventory or marketing, your actions can shape profit and ultimately the practice’s value. When […]

strategic

What’s your game plan?

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You can’t rely on a stroke of luck to get your practice to the next level. Strategic planning and written goals are essential.

When executed well, strategic planning sessions can be an invigorating experience where dreamers and number crunchers join forces to improve a veterinary practice. If these leadership meetings are not part of your hospital’s culture, here are ways to get started. Review the Mission, Vision and Core Values Formal leadership gatherings are a great time to […]

feline veterinary care

Improve the feline experience

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Devoting a day to cats and practicing low-stress handling techniques all the time will elevate wellness care in the mind of pet owners and improve medical care.

For the past five years, October has equated to CATober in my practice, a month where we rally around all things feline. The marketing program was a response to the industry’s call to expand our reach and enhance our approach to feline veterinary care. Nearly seven years after the release of the Bayer Veterinary Care […]

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