Let your manager know what you expect him or her to do.
In the world of veterinary administration, a practice manager falls above the office manager but below the hospital administrator. In the breakdown I use, an office manager (usually paid $1 or $2 per hour more than a receptionist) is a front-desk team member who handles some office-keeping duties. A hospital administrator ($80,000 or more a year) manages the entire hospital, including business issues involving associates. A practice manager ($50,000 or more) manages the hospital, but associate doctors report to the owner.
Here's a sample introduction to a practice manager's job description:
The purpose of this position is to provide a variety of analytical, evaluative, advisory, coordinating, supervisory, and technical functions in support of the ABC Veterinary Hospital. Areas of responsibility encompass veterinary practice administration, operational plans, training of staff, ordering and stocking supplies and equipment, funds and resource management, data automation, staffing, safety and security, and review/evaluation/analysis of the past performance of the practice.*
The job description would go on to list major duties, necessary skills and knowledge, any physical effort involved, and the general work environment. Job descriptions are crucial to a solid hierarchy—so get writing.
*Excerpted from VMC Inc.'s Management Tools for Veterinary Practices
Mark Opperman, CVPM, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member, is owner of VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo.