Don't let veterinary team member raises raise your blood pressure - DVM
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Don't let veterinary team member raises raise your blood pressure
Be smart about the costs of employing team members and make sure you can pay for what you promise


That thought had seldom crossed her mind. She liked having a lot of staff around, and the clients seemed to love all the attention shown to their pets and the oversight even after closing time that the doctors and staff showered on the pets.

Dr. Flowers had noticed that Dr. Beasley seemed to need a lot of staff to help her. Dr. Flowers sometimes had to wait for a staff member to help because Dr. Beasley had two or three veterinary technicians "occupied" at a time. Dr. Flowers usually didn't say anything—it might rock the boat and that was the last thing she wanted.

She opened another bill. This one was thick. It came from her medical insurance company.

She carefully flattened out the heavily creased stack of papers. The cover letter informed her that the enclosed papers indicated a substantial increase in premiums for the coming year for those in her insurance pool. The gobbledygook within was hard to decipher and Dr. Flowers finally determined that a lawyer in some concrete tower somewhere was holding her hostage. She threw the papers down.

"I'll deal with that later," she said as she waded through the pile of envelopes.

A few minutes later, the office door creaked open. Dr. Beasley slowly made her way toward the desk. Dr. Flowers had papers and envelopes scattered in every direction. "Flo-Flo" was in deep thought.

"Florence," Ann said.

No answer. Flo-Flo could have been robbed without reaction.

"Flo-Flo," Ann finally belted somewhat loudly.

Florence looked up as if in a trance.

"Florence, I need to tell you something."

"What is it?"

"It's the staff. They've all heard about the big raise you gave Marilyn. I think they all want to talk to you."

The art of management

Managing people is not for faint of heart. Veterinary medicine may involve animals but it's a people business. Hiring and maintaining staff and your sanity is a tricky and ongoing process. Here are some rules of thumb to keep you out of the hot water Dr. Florence Flowers has found herself in:

Rule of thumb No. 1: You need to treat your staff with respect and in a professional manner at all times. A close professional relationship is in order. Trying to "be a friend" all the time can get you in trouble.

Rule of thumb No. 2: Employees will never understand your expenses relative to their employment—until they're employers themselves. A corollary is that you as owner had better understand these expenses before hiring and retaining employees. (See sidebar)

Rule of thumb No. 3: Payroll expenses for an employee are to be kept private between employer and employee.

Rule of thumb No. 4: It is better to let someone go than to live with economic consequences that you cannot afford.

Rule of thumb No. 5: No management is worse than mismanagement—but not by much.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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