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Q&A: Ease the doctor-staff tension
I'm a new associate, and one of the receptionists hates me. How do I get along with her?
"Strong words!" says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Shawn McVey, CEO of Innovative Veterinary Management Solutions in Phoenix, Ariz. Hopefully the receptionist doesn't really hate you, but tension between new doctors and veteran team members is not unusual. Fortunately, it doesn't have to cause a permanent divide between the two of you.
As most practice owners know, the reception team—or, as McVey prefers, the "client service representatives"—can be the key to success for pet owners and other team members. They are the hub of the practice, with most information either coming from them or going through them. So having a good relationship with the receptionist is imperative to your success.
With any conflict, the first step toward resolution is to view the other person's needs as legitimate. Make the first move and approach the receptionist, acknowledging the conflict and your wish to resolve it. Cite a specific example of an interaction that made you feel "hated," and ask for the receptionist's interpretation of events. If you find that this exchange leads in a positive direction, commit right then and there to resolving the issue. Follow up two weeks later to ensure the problem has actually been solved.