The 15 ingredients of effective veterinary team training - DVM
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The 15 ingredients of effective veterinary team training
A pinch of mentorship and a spoonful of reading go a long way in advancing your career


9 Attitude

A holier-than-thou attitude stands in the way of training. Call it arrogance or narcissism, but effective training begins when we acknowledge that we don't know what we don't know. Add this to the concept that we probably have forgotten more than we remember and there becomes a whole nest of things that can be the focus of training.

10 Teach to learn

Teaching is the best way to learn, so have trained staff members teach the newcomers. And have the newcomers repeat the task back to the instructing staff members.

11 Education station

An education station (read more about it at serves as a useful tool to keep these issues top of mind. A library of CDs, videos, books, handouts and templates will serve your practice well.

12 Theme

A theme of the month helps keep minds active. Plan each year to have 12 monthly themes or issues to focus on.

13 Training/retraining list

As soon as your team has learned a new skill or topic, make sure that this duty goes onto a retraining list. Most assuredly as soon as your team learns a new duty, it undergoes individual interpretation and morphs into a modified duty. Identify clarify/verify and training/retraining items. Using daily worksheets, ask staff what they need to revisit.

14 Phases of a career

It's been said that one's professional career can be divided into three phases: 1) learn all you can, 2) earn all you can, 3) lead (teach) all you can. Each phase can take 10 years. With the profession's current emphasis on production pay and the necessity to retire student debt the "learn all you can" phase gets shortened. With the shortened learning phase, burnout sets in earlier, because in our profession learning is the fountain of youth.

15 List of 100

Make a list of issues for which training is essential. A beginning list for a practice might have 100 items. Like blocks in a wall, the list of 100 are basic duties to more complex duties, helping the practice acquire more skills and expand its array of services. There are six essential steps for each item on the list of 100. They are:

> Visual introduction: Provide a quick view of the project.

> Reading: Provide templates, pictures and videos of the project to be reviewed.

> Hand-to-hand demo: Provide a working demonstration of the project.

> Flying solo with supervision: Provide the trainee the opportunity to go solo with supervision.

> Allow independence: Provide the opportunity for the trainee to work without supervision.

> Repeat 1, 10, 100 or 1,000 times: Provide the trainee the chance to perform the duty repeatedly. By the time he or she reaches 1,000 repetitions, he or she should be proficient.

Dr. Riegger, dipl. ABVP, is the chief medical officer at Northwest Animal Clinic Hospital and Specialty Practice. Contact him by telephone or fax (505) 898-0407,
, or Find him on AVMA's NOAH as the practice management moderator. Order his books Management for Results and More Management for Results by calling (505) 898-1491.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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