The key role these professionals play in cultivating a successful, positive workplace
While veterinarians and technicians are recognized for their heroic work in patient care, practice managers and hospital administrators are just as integral team members ensuring smooth operations behind the scenes and an environment in which all can thrive.
In honor of these individuals, Thrive Pet Healthcare introduced Practice Manager Appreciation Week last year which takes place the third week of November annually. It celebrates the role practice managers play in supporting the veterinary field while providing exceptional care.1 In light of the occasion, dvm360® asked veterinary professionals to describe its importance and raise awareness of the array of practice managers’ responsibilities in the clinic.
In an email to dvm360, Mariana Pardo, BVSc, MV, DACVECC, shared her thoughts on Practice Manager Appreciation Week. “Appreciating veterinary practice managers is not just acknowledging their hard work but recognizing their pivotal role in animal health. Their commitment to clinic operations, client compassion, and ability to maintain a positive work environment makes them indispensable to the veterinary community,” she said.
Practice managers engage with clients to ensure they are having positive experiences at the hospital. This is not an easy feat, as pet owners can be happy, sad, disgruntled, tired, frustrated, or experiencing a variety of other emotions in the clinic as their beloved furry friend is receiving care.
“Practice managers can be the glue that holds a practice together, and also support connections to pet parents,” said Steve Dale, CABC, in an email to dvm360. “Practice managers are part social workers, part HR managers, and part jugglers. Indeed, good practice managers know how to navigate internal conflicts at clinics and mitigate conflicts with pet parents.”
Pardo said, “[Practice managers] provide information, answer questions, and offer support, making the client experience more reassuring. Their compassion and empathy are invaluable in calming anxious pet parents and creating a positive atmosphere for clients and their animals.”
Practice managers are also responsible for listening to and recognizing their team members’ wellness needs so they can be the best doctors, technicians, and client service representatives, they can be. The managers spearhead initiatives in the clinic and outings to help support mental health and promote team bonding.
“For all of us that work in a pleasant, professional clinic we have our practice managers to thank,” said Marc Rosenberg, VMD, in an email. “In my experience, they are the ones that allow us to have fun when we come to work.”
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA, added, in a respective email, “[Practice managers] strive to be the cheerleaders and advocates for the entire veterinary hospital team while leading them towards the goals and vision of the practice.”
Efficient, well-run clinics are in large part due to the practice managers. These individuals combine leadership and managerial skills while also stepping in to assist in many situations with the daily tasks that often may be overlooked, Weinstein said. “Let’s take a moment to thank the ones on the team who: ensure you get paid; buy the coffee; replace the toilet paper; schedule the work week; listen to their doctor’s concerns; listen to the staff’s concerns; listen to the client’s concerns; cover for the sick receptionist; cover for the sick assistant; make sure everyone gets a raise; sets up the holiday party; and do it all with a smile…most of the time,” he shared.
“Many of these duties are unseen by the rest of the staff, but [practice managers’] role is vital in keeping the hospital moving forward,” said Craig Clifford, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), in an email. “Without their dedication, clinics would descend into chaos, affecting the quality of care,” Pardo added.
Every member of the veterinary team helps play a part in making a wholly operating hospital. With National Veterinary Technician Week celebrated in October, it is fitting for Practice Manager Appreciation to follow in November. “Celebrating Practice Manager Appreciation Week is a great way to stop and, with intent, celebrate the knowledgeable individuals who keep the lights on and love going,” stated Beckie Mossor, MPA, RVT, in an email.
Thrive Pet Healthcare invites veterinary industry to honor inaugural Practice Manager Appreciation Week. Thrive Pet Healthcare. November 14, 2022. Accessed November 8, 2023. https://www.thrivepetcare.com/thrive-guide/practice-manager-appreciation-week