Ask Katie: Can my veterinary practice afford to fire this employee?


Yes. Youre helping the veterinary hospital by getting rid of the toxic team member who brings down the whole veterinary team and sucks the air out of the room.


Question: We have a toxic team member who needs to be fired. The problem is, it's going to make us short-staffed, and I don't want to put that burden on the rest of the veterinary practice team.

What if you're just an employee?

Owners and managers can fire toxic team members. If you're an employee who has stumbled into a workplace with a toxic team member, here's Katie's advice.

Answer: I completely understand the epidemic that is short-staffed veterinary hospitals. I don't talk to a single practice owner or manager who isn't looking to hire someone. The thing is, by allowing the toxic team member to stay, you're already burdening your team (and maybe even affecting patient care). Toxic people suck the air out of the room; they leave the rest of the staff feeling depleted and demoralized, which reduces productivity and may even increase absenteeism and turnover.

Get the toxic person off your bus. Then acknowledge to the team that you understand they'll have to pick up the slack until you hire a replacement-and thank them in advance for doing so.

As a bonus, take the salary of the person you just let go and divide it up among the rest of the staff, just until you get a new person on board. That extra “thank you” will go a long way. And you never know, your team may become so efficient that an extra person won't be needed after all!

Katie Adams, CVPM, is owner and management consultant at Agrygation Consulting. Got a question for Katie? Email us at

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