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20 easy steps to better veterinary team members
The very best veterinary team members—and job applicants—do these things


7. Anticipate clients' needs

Pay special attention to opening doors and carrying pets out to clients' cars. Smile and thank owners for coming in; after all, it's the client spending of discretionary dollars that pays for salaries, benefits and all other costs to run a practice. (Remember, your actions speak loudly.)

8. If you want to learn, ask for in-house continuing education

And if you want to see charity work come into the practice, offer to put in some free time to do it. Remember, you can expect out of a job only what you put into it.

9. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all

Be honest and prepared to discuss those tricky people situations tactfully. And don't gossip. Got a problem? Bring it to the leader's attention—anonymously if it's that bad.

10. Calmly discuss issues and problems as they arise

How do you handle an issue that needs attention? Suggest solutions, and offer to see they get the appropriate follow-through.

11. Don't be discouraged if your suggestions seem to be set aside

A lot of things are demanding the practice leader's attention and resources: the IRS, OSHA, inventory, maintenance, benefits packages, customer relations, staff morale, staff illnesses, sick family members, vacation schedules and employee issues all compound daily. Understand that choices must be made.

12. Take ownership of your own feelings

Avoid "you" terms, and offer "I" references. Specifically avoid saying the words, "You always ..." Rather, think in terms of "I feel this way," or "I am reacting to ..."

13. Read a good book on human nature

Try a relatively short, simple book like Don't Sweat the Small Stuff—and It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, or try diving into a more challenging text such as Games People Play by Eric Berne.

14. Watch your body language

Remember, 85 percent of human communication is unspoken; only 15 percent is verbal. (Best advice: "Be there," mentally and physically.)

15. Dress like you care; look like you care

Touch up the outpatient clothes—or your clothes—with light starch. Better to be a bit overdressed and really clean.

16. Handle time off right

If you need some time off or special considerations, be prepared to return those considerations by accepting and asking for more time to help other staff members who'll be covering your time away.

17. Accept change

Without change, things cannot improve or advance. Don't hold onto traditions just because they're traditions.

18. Remember that nothing and no one is perfect

Focus on the good aspects of your job.

19. Be a nurturer

There are only two kinds of people in this world: Nurturers and drainers. One hundred percent of all employers who've ever fired the office "Godzilla" (aka: the practice energy drainers) are smiling today.

20. To thrive, you absolutely must like your job

Clients and employers will notice, and the practice will prosper in this new era.

Believe this author/employer: If you're unhappy, the employer is aware but doesn't know if he or she should work with you, send you on your way, or hope that, given time, you'll catch fire and love the place.

Dr. Michael Riegger, Dipl. ABVP, can be reached at http://nwanimalclinic.com/,
, 505-898-1491, on VIN or at Iowa State University as a guest lecturer.

For a complete list of articles by Dr. Riegger, visit http://dvm360.com/riegger


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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