7 New Year's Resolutions for Veterinarians

December 19, 2017
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

Consider these seven business-focused New Year’s resolutions to help you achieve your practice goals in 2018.

Congratulations! You’ve made it through another year of overseeing a successful veterinary practice, caring for (mostly) adorable patients and effectively managing employees. But what do hope for in 2018? New clients, increased technology for the office, a stronger work-life balance? Consider these seven business-focused resolutions to help you achieve everything you strive for in the year ahead.

1. Learn something new.

Whether it’s technology, social media or a new veterinary certification, learning something new will add to your skill set and increase your business’ success. Knowing where to start or what subject to choose can be daunting, but consider the areas of your business where you’ve struggled. Maybe it’s gaining a better understanding of your company’s finances or adding integrative medicine into your patient offerings. Whatever the topic may be, vow to make 2018 the year to finally get it done.

2. Delegate more.

When running a business on top of treating patients, it’s easy for veterinarians to overwhelm themselves by assuming they need to do it all. Make it a point in 2018 to clear your plate a little. You’ve hired a talented staff — trust them to assume additional responsibilities. This will allow you to focus on the most important aspects of the practice and free up more time for appointments. You don’t need to stress over making the weekly schedule or filling medication requests when there is a manager or veterinary technician who is also trained to fulfill these tasks.

3. Network with peers.

In recent years, business owners have become accustomed to operating within a digital sphere. And while LinkedIn groups and online industry forums are important for making connections, face-to-face interactions are still significant. It can be even more rewarding for your business if you connect with a group within your community. A local Chamber of Commerce or charity organization offers the added potential of word-of-mouth advertising and the possibility that a pet owner who is seeking a new veterinarian is a part of the group as well.

4. Don’t settle.

Admit it, there’s some part of your veterinary practice that isn’t working like it’s supposed to. And it probably hasn’t for a while now. Whether it’s a diagnostic tool, piece of equipment or management software that has broken several times or is delaying productivity, stop settling — make a change.

5. Become a better communicator.

The best way for a veterinary practice to make money is to see as many patients as possible within a given day. But when veterinarians run from exam room to exam room and use any spare moment to analyze test results, they cut themselves off from them rest of the team, even when they are physically present. In fact, many veterinarians report feeling isolated. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Make a conscious effort to communicate more frequently with your staff. Let them know what you need from them to run your practice more efficiently, commend them for taking initiative and celebrate successes together.

6. Read more.

It’s important for your business, both medically and professionally, to remain abreast of the latest information and tools. If you’re current to-do list doesn’t include reading, carve out dedicated time in 2018. Start small with abstracts of research studies and then move on to business-focused books and published work from peers. Reading is also a covert way to schedule more uninterrupted time for yourself.

7. Improve employee training.

Develop the knowledge and skills of your veterinary staff through ongoing educational opportunities. Consider client-focused training, such as cybersecurity measures for protecting patient files. Or decide that 2018 is the year you and your staff officially become Fear Free certified.