Resolutions that make veterinary practice life more meaningful

January 5, 2020
Tannetje' Crocker, DVM

Start out a new year (and a new decade) with actionable, meaningful resolutions for your veterinary clinic. The entire vet practice can benefit from these ideas!

As veterinary professionals, we spend a lot of time at work. Making resolutions—purposefully, together as coworkers—to improve clients’ experiences, team unity and overall wellness of the practice has the power to create positive change for all of us.

Here are some recommendations on resolutions for your veterinary team in 2020!

1. Leave the drama in 2019. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hospital departments pitted against one another, constant negativity from the staff, or one toxic coworker dragging everyone down—drama at work is a great focus for change in the new year. Here’s how to make an action plan for this resolution.

> Model the behavior you want as a senior staff member. Hold yourself accountable to the standards you set for your staff regarding gossip, client interactions, and professionalism.

> Switch roles. Pet owners interact with each department differently. It helps to get an accurate picture of the good and bad things each staff member experiences. This breeds more empathy and understanding throughout your practice. Try the following:

  • Have technicians help at the front desk.
  • Have receptionists shadow a couple appointments.
  • Have everyone clean kennels and help walk dogs.

> Solemnly swear to train your staff. No idea where to start? Kickstart your program with these tips.

  • Most drug reps can provide you with interactive programs and on-site training designed to promote the culture you desire.
  • Explore the great websites such as www.unchartedvet.com or tracydowdy.com that you can us as a resource. 
  • Podcasts (such as the Uncharted) can also help with specific issues you are encountering in practice.

2. Increase new client appointments. Yes, this one is obvious and benefits everyone. Get it done.

- Get online! You should be using social media to market your business, and technology to communicate with potential new clients.Danielle Snout at www.snoutschool.com can help. The Social DVM at www.thesocialdvm.com also provided several online courses you can access easily.

- Gather the entire veterinary team to brainstorm new promotions.

- Develop a community outreach team. Who are your extroverts, who can talk to anyone? Who truly embraces the practice culture and can authentically speak to it? Those are the people you should send out into the community to engage and promote the practice. Have this team attend dog park openings, seasonal parades, community festivals, marathons and other races (especially pet-themed!) and local 4H and FFA events.

3. Challenge everyone to learn something new. Ask your vet team to brainstorm and each come up with something they will take on for the upcoming year. Encourage and hold them accountable to their personal goals. Here are some examples to get the brainstorming session started.

  • Learn a new surgical technique.
  • Stock and manage inventory better.
  • Participate in online webinars to better communicate with clients.
  • Become more familiar and be able to explain to clients the benefit of a specific medication or surgical procedure.
  • Challenge yourself to use online tools more that are available but not being utilized.
  • Invest in becoming a Fear Free Practice.

4. Make it happen as a mentor. Our profession will move in a positive direction if we connect more with vet students and new grads. Make it a practice-wide goal to try out mentorship experiences—start by trying the following.

  • Allow vet students to shadow over holidays and the summer break.
  • Engage online with students sharing cases and the reality of veterinary medicine.
  • Interact at reunions and alumni events to meet current students.
  • Volunteer for student client communication training.
  • Empower your staff to teach and embrace students.

Involving the entire team in developing and implementing resolutions is the key to transforming your practice and being successful in 2020. Happy New Year!