Efficient Veterinary Team
September 14, 2016
Your veterinary team members want to be efficient, professional and offer great patient care. This can be accomplished by having well-defined job descriptions, improved communications and allowed to grow their career in veterinary medicine. As a manager or team lead, how can you do all that? How can you support them in being efficient?
4 Tips to Team Efficiency
1. A Day in the Life Exercise-Updated Job Descriptions
Often times job descriptions are “one-size-fits-all.” That simply does not work in today’s veterinary hospital. Your team comes to you with varying degrees of formal education, passions and expertise. When I explain to managers, “Your team’s job descriptions need to be updated,” I see the despair in their eyes and see their face sadden. I know they are thinking, “When in the world am I going to find the time to do that?!”
No fear, there are ways to include your team in the updating! Consider using the exercise I call “A Day in the Life.” Other teams have used this with great success and buy-in. You simply ask your team to track the duties they perform for three days. Once collated, you will see there are duplicated duties and gaps that need to be filled.
Reference = PDF Download day-in-the-life
2. Daily Rounds Improve Communications
While working with a veterinary hospital on the Northside of Denver, I was EXCITED to see the team gather at 7:15 AM for team rounds before the doors opened at 8:00! “YAY,” I thought, “the team is geared up and ready to go with an idea of what lies ahead!” I was so proud of them.
We also had a “Team Huddle” at Town & Country Veterinary Hospital, where I worked for many years. At 8:05 AM, available team members gathered in front of the treatment board to discuss cases, discharges and the upcoming appointments. Just having fifteen focused minutes can improve team communications for the rest of the day. You may consider shift rounds as well.
3. Consistent Messaging
My litmus test, when asking team members about messaging, hinges on their responses to heartworm disease and prevention. I learn an immense amount about consistency (most often inconsistencies) between doctors, receptionists and technicians/nurses. Rarely have I found a team with consistent messaging about when to test, how often to give preventative and what educational handouts are used as aids in client education.
I encourage veterinary teams to identify their top 10 services and then create consistent messaging around these topics. This includes identifying how that service is best for the pet, pet owner, veterinary team member and veterinary hospital. Also, outline treatment plans, pre- and post-care instructions, educational handouts and value statements. Make this a fun, engaging exercise with your entire team.
4. Encourage Team Members to Excel
When you have team members that are excited about veterinary medicine and eager to grow their career, encourage and support them! You hire motivated, enthusiastic team members. It’s important to keep that momentum going! I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT there is NO glass ceiling (limits) to the career options within a veterinary hospital.
There are numerous ways to cultivate a career within the veterinary hospital. By identifying passions, nurturing their desire to grow and offering support, it will ultimately build morale and job satisfaction. When your team is happier, valued and shown appreciation, there will be greater synergy and team efficiency.
All-in-all, your team wants to be a part of a efficient, productive and supportive practice. The way to create this is through defined job descriptions that morph and grow with the team member, increased communications, and career opportunities within your veterinary hospital.
Yours in Team Efficiency,
Rebecca Rose, CVT
Founder and CEO