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Adding value to a practice — immediately
New graduates can shed still-learning stigma by bringing business sense, skill to the table


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Working on the standards of care made the owner realize how long it had been since he had reviewed and updated the practice's preventive healthcare services. He also appreciated the organized and systematic approach the AAHA compliance format provided to help organize his thinking.

Keri grew enormously from this experience. She recognized the importance of involving the entire practice team and the members' unique roles in compliance and patient care. She also saw how having clear standards helped improve patient care. Basic healthcare standards were things that she, as a new veterinarian, would be able to do immediately and that, in turn, would favorably impact her financial contribution to the practice and show her value.

With the practice owner's encouragement, Keri led a staff-training program on the hospital's new fecal policy. To make it fun, she gained the help of the technicians. The goal was to show everyone how a fecal flotation was done, the parasites they could discover through this testing method and the zoonotic implications to the human members of a pet's family. They invited staff members to bring in fecal specimens from their own pets, and they let them run the tests themselves so the hospital team members could talk to clients based on their own experiences.

Work pays off

The staff welcomed the clarity the standards of care provided. Having standards bolstered their confidence in discussing routine preventive healthcare procedures with clients; they knew exactly what they should be talking about and how to explain the benefits.

The standards of care helped the doctor and hospital team become more consistent in making and reinforcing wellness recommendations. This led to increased client acceptance, improved patient care and better financial results.

Continuing education

Even after Keri left the practice to return to school, the doctors and staff found more ways to use the care standards she helped create. When they hired a new hospital team member later that year, they used the standards to help ensure a good match with their hospital's patient care values.

Following graduation, Keri joined a larger practice. Buoyed by the success of her summer experience, Keri asked the practice owners she interviewed with about their care standards and spoke of her previous experience.

Based on what Keri had learned at VBMA meetings and her practice experience, she thought to ask about the hospital's standards of care, how many patients she could expect to see during an average day, the hospital's fee structure, the production expectations the owner had for new graduates and how the different departments worked together.

All of the practice owners Keri spoke with were surprised and impressed with the questions she asked and her compliance experience. She received employment offers from all four of them. The three-doctor suburban practice Keri joined did not have written standards of care when she interviewed with them. They decided to put them in writing after talking with her, and this ended up as the deciding factor in her decision to join the hospital.


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