What do you do when veterinary staff members break equipment?


Training and communication are your best bets when it comes to preventing accidents.

Q: How do you deal with staff when something gets broken; for example, dropping clippers that shatter or other equipment?


How do you avoid broken equipment, and what action do you take when something gets broken? First, managers and practice owners need to think about whether training has been adequate, says multiple-practice owner Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA.

“Have you trained employees in proper handling and the importance of being careful in use?" Dr. Rothstein says. "Have you communicated the cost of a potential replacement? Managers have a role in deterring breakage.”

You probably can't ask for repayment on a really expensive item-like an $8,000 dental digital sensor-but you can limit access to certain equipment or assign employees who show some carelessness with certain items to different tasks. Much of this depends on the cost of equipment and how often things are being broken. If it's really egregious mishandling-like playfully whipping something around and dropping it-disciplinary action may be called for. In some clinics, the fear factor works well-the crew knows the doctor or owner will be so upset by “spoilage” that they're extra careful with all breakables.

Communication and training are your biggest allies when it comes to keeping equipment in working order, Dr. Rothstein says.  

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of the Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group.

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