Veterinary managers: Heres whats bugging you


Responses from the 2016 Firstline Career Path Survey.

Firstline asked all you practice managers out there to name your top on-the-job frustrations. And your answers were honest and real. Here are your word-for-word comments from the Firstline Career Path Survey, broken down by category-plus some helpful resources for those days when you're about to blow your top.

What's your top staff-related frustration?

Getty Images“Staff members who say they want change but are the first to go back to the old way of doing things after changes in policy or practices are put in place.”

“Lazy people, drama and liars.”

“Having to micromanage staff to make sure they follow through.”

“Hiring! It's hard to find good staff members who actually want to work and don't expect to be paid a huge amount.”

“Younger generations not knowing the meaning of work.”

Resources to help save the day

  • Problem employees: Is it you or them?

  • Meet the millennials on your veterinary team

  • Does your team know you start every day $900 in the hole?

“Employees who take advantage of the owner and don't appreciate what they have-i.e., higher-than-average pay for the field and good benefits.”

“Generation Y and younger staff are lazy with an attitude that they are owed just for showing up. They have no qualms about asking for raises when they are in no position to request one. They need constant recognition.”

“Pettiness between coworkers.”

“Inability to problem-solve. Making big issues out of small things. Not seeing ‘the forest for the trees.'”

“Staff wanting to give away products and services because clients don't perceive the value of the care they receive.”


What's your top doctor/owner frustration?

Getty Images“Inconsistency within management and protocols!”

“Trying to get owners to continue to move forward to make the changes that will improve their practices for doctors and staff.”

“DVMs who refuse to talk to clients or see patients just because they don't want to. Expecting their staff to work late and miss a planned event so that they can get out in time to go to their event. Huge double standard going on!”

“Doctor doesn't value or respect any of her employees. No raises and she tries to cut our hours because she doesn't want to pay us. She brings her children in and expects us to clean up after them, including the bathroom after they've dirtied it.”

“Doctor's family working at practice. Conflict!”

“Management not being able to make decisions without having to jump through hoops and lengthy red tape.”

“No appreciation. NONE! No raises for staff, no bonuses. No uniform allowance. No comp days off. Nothing. No appreciation for the work I do. No raises. No incentives. No verbal appreciation. Same for all my staff.”

“Practice owners who don't actually want to run their business and shove it off on people who aren't qualified to do it.”

“The owners have a hard time getting together to get on the same page with changes.”

“The owner won't retire and sell practice.”

“Boss's wife is impossible!”

“Owner who does not allow me to perform my duties as a manager and micromanages everything.”

“Our owner is waning in interest in building the business other than boosting the business to sell.”

“The owner I work for does not want to change and accept the help of a consultant.”

“Veterinarians often do not make good business owners.”

Resources to help save the day

  • Managers: Getting through to the boss

  • 12 ways to manage your manager

  • How to handle a micromanager-even if it's you

“Receptionists and technicians make the practice-they should receive the respect and compensation they deserve. CE is just as important for them, but most doctors feel veterinarians are the only ones who ‘rate' it. It's frustrating to try and motivate and retain staff when owners don't want to spend money!”

“Being caught between two owners who don't always agree-having to mediate or pick a side. It's unnecessary drama.”

“Veterinarians not wanting to charge clients appropriately.”

“Too much variance in the products and treatments each DVM recommends.”


What's your top money-related frustration?

Getty Images“I haven't had a raise in years but have been OK with that due to my love for the job and my health insurance being part of my compensation package. That has now been canceled. Although my income will go up slightly, it will not cover the expense of insurance. Sadly, to be able to provide for my family I may have to leave my position, which I've had for years.”

“Clients who can't afford care for their pets.”

“Acknowledging that no one is compensated appropriately in veterinary medicine (CSRs, techs, DVMs) for all that we do but also understanding the business side and why it is this way. Especially when you compare everything that our jobs require to our human-medicine counterparts.”

“Not being able to pay staff a decent wage. Veterinary technicians are leaving this field due to poor wages.”

“Not receiving the raises the staff deserves. The owner keeps saying we are not generating enough but in my eyes we are.”

“No upward mobility, cannot earn living wage.”

Resources to help save the day

  • A new way to look at team pay

  • How to ask for a raise

  • What to do when the client says, "No"

“Being corporately owned, meeting financial goals is very stressful. I am not SELLING a pricey pair of jeans, I am OFFERING the best care possible for our patients, which can become very costly-hundreds to a few thousand dollars. We are a mixed clientele of lower middle class to upper middle class and most cannot drop down cash. We can't force people to come in for their vaccines. Meeting expectations of visits and revenue can get very frustrating.”

“Can't pay people what they're worth.”

“Client complaints about costs yet I can hardly pay my own bills due to cost of living increasing more than my salary.”

“Lack of quality applicants and inability to offer the pay grade to attract the best.”


What is your top client-related frustration?

Getty Images“Clients not treating the veterinary field with respect. They often refer to MDs as ‘real doctors' right in front of the veterinarians who went to medical school just like MDs. Why aren't we treated with the same respect and seriousness as human hospitals?”

“Rude clients.”

Resources to help save the day

  • The 5 most difficult veterinary clients

  • 3 ways veterinarians have got human doctors beat

  • Debating the cost of care with Mrs. Haggle

“The 25 percent of stupid customers.”

“Clients' perception that we earn high wages because we ‘charge so much.'”

“Complaining clients who really have nothing better to do.”

"Poor acknowledgment or understanding by the public of the skill and knowledge used to take care of their pets, the risk involved in animal handling, lifting, etc. and the cost of providing quality medical care to our patients."

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