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How do I convince the doctor that we're understaffed?

Q. How do I convince the doctor that we're understaffed?

Dr. Mary Ann Vande Linde

"Often doctors don't see the problem, because they're busy in the exam room," says Mary Ann Vande Linde, DVM, a practice management consultant with VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. "They don't know you get slammed at 5 p.m. with clients backed up out the door."

The solution: Time each part of the client's visit, noting how long the client waits up front, in the exam room, and during checkout. You'll measure this for about a week to document any regular staffing shortfalls.

Now you have evidence that client service is being affected. The next step: Present these facts to your boss, and couch your message in positive terms. For example, Dr. Vande Linde says using the word "and" instead of "but" may make your boss more receptive. You might say, "We strive for great service. And I've found areas where we can improve. When we're busy, I've noticed we don't always give clients medical care plans. I think adding another staff member may help us offer better service."

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