Practice Management News and Views from around the World – August 2011

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National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues to dissolve as independent organization; folds into AVMA

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has announced that, pending final approvals, the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) will cease to
exist as an independent organization and become part of AVMA.

In early June, the AVMA Executive Board approved purchasing NCVEI’s assets for the $50,000 annual contribution it had already set aside for the group this year. AVMA’s decision
is in response to the NCVEI “funding difficulties,” AVMA says. Assets to be purchased include the NCVEI website, database and brand. As a non-profit organization, NCVEI legally
couldn’t just give the assets to AVMA, according to a prepared statement from the association.

AVMA, along with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, formed NCVEI in 2000 as a resource to help
ensure the economic future of the veterinary profession.

In 2011, NCVEI received $50,000 in funding from AVMA and $5,000 from AAVMC. But AAHA severed ties with NCVEI in late 2010, citing concern over the group’s business model
and administrative costs.

As a result, NCVEI reorganized its bylaws and board, reducing it from 12 to nine members.

But this year, AAVMC also pulled back on its funding for NCVEI for 2012. AAVMC chose instead to direct its resources toward the North American Veterinary Medical Education
Consortium, AVMA says.

In a prepared statement from AVMA, NCVEI Executive Director Dr. Karen Felsted says it’s a “natural fit” for NCVEI.

AVMA says it plans to develop a more long-term strategic plan for the organization by the end of the year.

You can click here to visit the NCVEI website

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Making the most of your reception area

from an article by Caroline Johnson originally published in the BVA Publication – In Practice

Clients make judgments on the quality of service and patient care as soon as they see the practice sign, the outside of your building or enter the car park. The greatest impact however is upon entering the building; the person greeting the client (or not) and the cleanliness, tidiness and layout of the reception area all contribute to a client’s expectation of clinical expertise and service. Therefore, it is wise, once in a while, to take your shoes off, don the shoes of a client and walk through the door.What you see,may just surprise you!

1.Ditch the waiting room If you have a waiting room, re-name it immediately! Having a reception area has less to do with the title and more to do with mindset; client-service improvements are likely to follow if your team thinks of receiving clients rather than keeping them waiting. If you’re sceptical, try it! Similarly, think seriously about changing the job title of Receptionist to Client Care Manager. As a client, would you not appreciate being greeted by a Client Care Manager who asks you to be seated in a reception area?

2. Keep it clean Tidiness and cleanliness help shape a client’s subliminal judgments on what he/she perceives to be happening behind the scenes. Appoint someone with responsibility to keep the reception area clean, tidy and smelling fresh at all times.With this in place,clients will feel reassured subconsciously that the rest of your practice, including consulting rooms, kennels and operating theatres are also spotless and well managed.

3.Think about presentation Merchandise products in a professional manner. Keep shelves tidy, dust-free and well-stocked with prices clearly marked and special offers highlighted. Ensure also that supporting literature is placed beside the relevant product. If people can see, handle and read about a product they are much more inclined to make a purchase.The availability of quality, veterinary-endorsed products is part of your professional service.

4. Manage busy times effectively Many reception areas fluctuate from being extremely quiet to manically busy throughout the day, which can be seriously disadvantageous. Look at the current workload and think about how best to even out the fluctuations.This will ensure better financial return on the space available (for example, running nurse clinics during quieter times) and will contribute overall to better client care; reducing stress during busy times when the reception area is full and the phones are ringing constantly is good for the clients and the staff charged with looking after them. Happier staff and happier clients tend to go hand-in-hand.

5. Invest in your reception team Finally, do not under-estimate the importance the role of reception plays in projecting the right sort of friendly, professional, caring image associated with prospering practices. Continual improvement in this area should be a priority, with appropriate investment in ongoing training and development for individuals and the team. Your team is the face of your business after all; remember that the majority of client contactis with them, so actively listen to your reception team, hear what they say andinvest a proportion of your CPD budget into their development.

You can click here to visit Caroline Johnsons website

You can click here to visit the In Practice website

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Management Solutions for Veterinary Practice

New book from Pere Mercader DVM MBA now available in English


This really is an excellent new book from one of the most highly respected veterinary practice business consultants in Spain and Portugal. Pere worked with AVEPA (the Spanish Small Animal Veterinary Association) to found the IVEE (Veterinary Institute of Economic Studies) and has spoken widely on practice management in more than 20 countries in the United States, South America, Europe and the Far East

You can click here to contact the publisher to purchase your copy of Management Solutions for Veterinary Practice in English or Spanish.

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Registration open for Veterinary Practice Management Association Congress 2012


You can see all the congress information and updates on Postal registration is now open and online registration will open in a few weeks.

Following the success of the 2011 congress and based on members feedback, we’ve kept the 3-stream approach, but this time focused each stream on one subject for an intensive, in-depth session. We’re covering topics that are relevant and targeted to practice managers, so can apply your learnings straight away.

To get 2012 off to a flying start, we’re delighted to be welcoming a NAVC award-winning team to congress in the shape of Mark Opperman and Sheila Grosdidier from VMC-Inc. Mark and Sheila will run their renowned 2 day ‘HR Boot Camp’ covering everything from successfully hiring, training and orientating your new team members through to developing compensation packages and dealing with team problems. This truly is a not-to-be-missed seminar.

Don’t wait – book now. Early-bird rates available until end of September.

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Unite trade union opens its doors to the veterinary profession


Members of the UK veterinary profession could become members of Unite, the largest union in the country following the establishment of the British Veterinary Union (BVU)

Unite, which has a growing health sector, will be able to give veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, practice managers, support staff and students in all disciplines, the additional muscle to tackle employment problems in the workplace, such as pay, contracts, bullying and professional development.

Dr Shams Mir, Chairman, Professional Advisory Committee, British Veterinary Union in Unite said: ‘Our biggest challenge will be to change the mindset of our profession to address the deep-trenched problems of working conditions and terms of employment for vets and nurses, and safeguarding their professional status. But, most importantly, we have to overcome the sense of fear amongst veterinary professionals in raising legitimate employment issues.’

‘Veterinary professionals face the same problems in their working lives as any other health professionals, but never before have vets had a trade union to support and represent them. BVU in Unite is a great opportunity for the profession to develop and expand, and is a goal that many have aspired to for years. We believe that up to 17,000 veterinary professionals could join BVU in Unite in the next five years.’

Dr Mir said that research has revealed that vets suffer from much higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms and they are five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and four times more likely to commit suicide compared to the general UK population. He said: ‘Sadly, according to the most recent Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ survey of the profession, nearly half of the responding vets and nurses said that if they had their time again, they would choose a different profession.’ He added, ‘This is a wake-up call for our profession and we must act to address all the underlying problems leading to this situation.’

At present, Unite has a small veterinary profession membership, but this is expected to grow rapidly following the agreement between Unite and the BVU.

You can click here to visit the BVU website

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5 Leadership (and Life) Lessons You Learn From Your Kids

by Ronald E. Riggio Ph.D

A few years back, we hosted a leadership conference that featured sports leaders – players and coaches, some of whom went on to top leadership positions in politics, business and other fields. I was surprised by how frequently they mentioned the role that their parents played in their development as top athletes and as leaders. But even more surprising were the lessons they learned from being parents – the lessons they learned from their kids!

Here is a summary of behaviours that are used both by good parents, and the very best leaders.

  • You Are a Role Model (Watch what you say and do!). Kids emulate their parents. Followers model their leaders. If you say one thing, but do another, your actions will speak louder than your words.
  • Honesty Really is the Best Policy. If you lie to your children, or your subordinates, you are both losing their trust, and modeling dishonest behavior. You don’t have to disclose everything, but it is best to be straightforward. Admit to mistakes, and try to do better. Communicate honestly the reasons why you are doing what you are doing. No hidden agendas.
  • Focus on Others’ Needs. Work hard to try and understand each individual child’s (and subordinate’s) needs. This is a key to building strong interpersonal relationships, and allows you to understand what motivates each one (and how to get the best out of them).
  • Balance Challenge and Support. The key to growing as a person is to face and overcome challenges, but this requires taking risks and making mistakes. Having a supportive mentor – parent or leader – can help ease the anxiety associated with challenging tasks, and provide the necessary guidance to learn from failures.
  • Develop the Next Generation! As parents and leaders we have an obligation to develop the next generation. Every parent (and every good leader) takes pride in their children’s (followers’) accomplishments. We hope for their success and we nurture and support them. Our collective future depends on it.

You can click here to visit the My Exceptional Veterinary Team website

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