The problem with bad habits is that most of the time, you don't even realize you have them. In the veterinary world, some bad habits are ubiquitous and have just become part of "the norm" of clinic life.
Veterinarians set an example for the rest of the team, so it's extra important to acknowledge the bad habits that seem to accompany this role within the practice and work to rectify them, not only for the sake of the staff, but for the veterinarian themselves and for their patients' well being.
Are you guilty of any of the following?
1. Giving Discounts
A very common bad habit vets can get into is giving in to discounts. By giving discounts, vets are ultimately communicating to clients that their services are overpriced and undervalued. Whether it's providing free services, refunding costs for tests that come back as WNL, or charging a lesser exam fee than is appropriate, there are a number of ways discounts are given. Of course, it is important to be considerate of a client's budget, but if estimates are done correctly and costs are properly communicated to clients, discounts are unnecessary. Keep that revenue within the practice to purchase new equipment or provide raises for the staff!
2. Micro Managing
We all know that veterinarians to wear far too many hats: business owner, diagnostician, client counsellor, staff manager, and many more. The one hat that should be tossed aside sooner than later is that of micro-manager. While it is important to keep tabs on the team, a good veterinarian realizes that micro-managing tendencies just cause more chaos than anything else. It can cause people to feel untrusted, disrespected, and frustrated. Having the right staff in the right roles is crucial in creating a cohesive team where colleagues trust and respect each other to perform their duties to the best of their ability.
3. Ignoring workplace issues
Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that a veterinary team doesn't mesh together or work well as a team. Veterinarians often know these problems exist and instead of turning a blind eye, it should be a goal to ensure these issues get addressed. The longer issues linger, the worse they get and the more areas of the hospital they affect.
4. Being afraid to advance
The world of medicine is constantly evolving. Clinics will send staff to CE events but hardly even consider advancing their practice forward with the newly received information. Instead, many vets would rather continue on as is because "that's the way it has always been done." Vets should look to improve their practice, medicine, and staff.
5. Not utilizing staff
One of the biggest insults to staff is not utilizing their skills. Almost everyone has worked for a vet who had one scare during a procedure causing them not to trust a single credentialed technician to perform very basic skills. While we understood the fear, team leaders need to recognize the frustration this builds within the team. In turn, not using your staff to their full potential slows down procedures and the entire flow of the day drastically, and is a huge cause of staff turnover.
6. Treating cats like small dogs
Cats are not small dogs in kitty costumes. They require (and demand) different treatment protocols, clinic environment, diet, and medicine. A veterinarian's approach to handling and treating feline patients can be much improved with just a few simple steps.
Remember: just because it is the way things have always been done, doesn't mean they should stay that way. If you (or someone you know) is guilty of these bad habits, it's time to reassess and take charge of setting the best example possible for your team.