Thursday, May 27, 2010


Practice Tip 4 – Policy

Writing, nevertheless updating, a policy manual can be a daunting task. What to include? What not to include? How much detail? These are all questions that come to mind. The answer? Well, it’s like baking a cake—include just the right amount of each ingredient to get a good result.

The first thing to realize is that you and your staff need to use this as a reference tool – not just something that looks good on your bookshelf. It needs to contain those policies and procedures that make your practice “tick”. Most policy manuals in my experience come from outside sources and don’t represent exactly what goes on in the practice. The end result? Rather than being a training and correction reference tool they collect dust.

Also note that your staff wear a number of “hats”. The first one is the General Staff “hat” – those duties and policies that govern what they do as a general staff member. This policy binder would include what they wear, what the hours of operation are, when they get paid, overtime guidelines, holiday guidelines etc...

The second policy binder for each staff member needs to contain those policies and procedures that define the processes specific to their job. It should also define what finished services and products they produce that contribute to the overall success of the practice.

A good example is getting the patient weighed before placing them in the exam room for the admitting DVM. It can get forgotten and this leads to frustration on the part of the DVM, right? So this is something that needs to go into your policy and procedure manual. You then train the receptionist and correct as needed using this as a tool. Tip: Look for areas of frustration in your practice and you’ll find overlooked policies and procedures. Get these written up and your staff trained and drilled on them ASAP.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

VETERINARY HIRING and the “white-water” employment scene…

Practice Tip 3 – Employment

VETERINARY HIRING and the “white-water” employment scene…

I hear it all the time: it is getting more and more difficult to find, hire and keep good quality veterinary staff. I wouldn’t say this is new thing but there are certainly some different forces at play today than there were, say, 20 years ago. For example, one practice owner recently complained that a large specialty practice opened up and scooped his technical and reception staff, “all for an extra $1.00 per hour”.

This was occurring with neighboring practices as well. After many years of having the same “loyal” staff, he is now scrabbling for new staff in an already short staffed market. The fact of the matter is that within the veterinary profession we are experiencing what is being referred to as a “white-water” employment scene. All the more reason to be very pro-active in this area of this practice.

Here are some basic tips to address this in your practice:
Money is a necessary fact of life BUT rarely the true motivation for staff. The bottom line? Use your staff or lose them. Most staff consider leaving one hospital for another just so they can do more things. So push them to do new things. Train them to do things that they are not trained to do. Remember - keeping them busy is the BEST way to boost moral, not money. It doesn’t hurt to add a bonus pay system and you'll be a step a head in the game.

Make sure to follow your instincts. If you think one of your staff members is unhappy, chances are they are! It never hurts to “check in” and keep in good communication with your staff. You’ll be surprised at what may look like a small disagreement is a huge problem waiting to blow up. You handle it before they start looking elsewhere.

Keep your hiring division “open”. I always kept a sign up front indicating we were looking for bright, motivated people to join our high quality team. You’ll be surprised who comes in the door. Clients can be a great source of new non-technical employees and they love telling others about you.

Please give me a call if you have any questions...

Dr. Joel Parker, President
Veterinary Economics Contributor

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I have learned so much of myself...

"A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel free. I just feel great. It’s a good feeling and I am thankful that this opportunity was given to me by sending me to this program. I have learned so much of myself that I can handle things personally as well as professionally and I look forward to learning more and applying the knowledge in my life. Thanks!"

Gabriella Svoreny, Office Manager, Clearwater Animal Hospital, ON
Personal Values & Integrity Course

I now feel more in control of any employee situation...

"This course was especially helpful in the way that it provided me with more tools regarding bringing in the right person to get the job done. I feel that I have a better understanding of how to pinpoint where people are on the Tone Scale and respond in a way that enables communication. Furthermore, I now feel more in control of any employee situation that comes my way. I feel more confident in being able to give orders as well as handle employee concerns."

Julie Camberg, DVM Practice Owner, Northside Animal Clinic, MO
Hiring and Handling Personnel Course

I feel very positive that the use of the above technology will improve my practice and my life...

"I am very enlightened now and energized to put this into effect in my veterinary practice. I will review and follow important stats – assign conditions to these stats and then follow the condition formulas for these stats. The objective is to expand all stats – which will expand my practice. I will also reward up stats and punish down stats from here on out in my practice. I feel very positive that the use of the above technology will improve my practice and my life."

Kirk Reese, DVM Practice Owner, Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital, TX
Ethics For Business Survival Course

I am excited to utilize these tools...

"So much of my life up until now has been a series of dreams, plans; so many of which have failed to come to fruition. Now I know why. All I had were plans, without the actual structure or series of necessary steps to make those plans a reality. I am excited to utilize these tools; whether they be applied to a goal of cleaning out the garage, making sure I have the garden this summer, that vacation, lifestyle, clean office or secure retirement. I just have to work through each step, one-by-one and finally get there."

Janelle Walker, DVM Practice Owner, Best Friends Veterinary Medical Ctr, OR
Planning & Policy Course

Friday, May 7, 2010

A fabulous set of tools at my disposal...

"This was a fascinating course...Now I know that I have a fabulous set of tools at my disposal that have application in all aspects of my life! I’m very excited to start implementing this new knowledge in my practice. I know it is going to result in a cohesive team able to achieve our goal. Again, the supervisors were central and critical to the grasp of the material."

Dr. Ruth Doe, DVM, Practice Owner, Nob Hill Cat Clinic and Hospital, CA
Ethics for Business Survival

Has increased my overall awareness of communication...

"Great course. Has increased my overall awareness of communication so it is easier to pinpoint specific areas of weakness... I look forward to taking these skills back to my practice to continue to improve, as well as coaching staff to improve their skills."

Shelagh Morrison, DVM, Queensway West Animal Hospital, ON
Improving Business through Communication

A definite must for any executive...

"I only wish I’d taken this course 8 years ago when I first bought my practice! Oh the headaches I would have avoided. A definite must for any executive. Very practical and easy to implement."

Dr. Ellen Colwell, DVM, Practice Owner, Sykesville Veterinary Clinic, MD
How To Write Effective Company Policy

Experience many revelations...

"Basic Hat for Employees is quite an interesting course. I experienced many revelations as I worked my way through it. It is full of tools to help you in business and personal life. Particularly with the completion of this course, I am very anxious to start applying the concepts in all aspects of my life. The supervisors were most helpful in enhancing my understanding and appreciation of this course."

Dr. Ruth Doe, DVM and Practice Owner, Nob Hill Cat Clinic and Hospital, CA
Basic Hat for Employees