Firstline magazine, dvm360.com and the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) each month solve tough problems for practice managers and team members in this "Tough Questions Answered by the VHMA" column. Join in by sharing your best advice, and then check out an answer later from a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager.
Q. I'm interested in taking on more management duties at the practice, but how do I initiate that conversation with the practice owner?
Click 'next' to see the answer.
Answering this month is Shannon Goldberg, CVPM, practice manager at Valley Cottage Animal Hospital in Rockland, N.Y.
Answer. First and foremost, you need a proactive plan that appeals to the practice owner’s sense of busy-ness and priorities. First, consider potential new duties that could include:
> Tasks you’d like to handle.
> Jobs no one else in the practice is “officially” responsible for.
> Work that the practice owner has assumed but that intrude on time that could be better spent practicing medicine.
Remember, you’re more likely to receive a favorable response from the owner if your request solves existing problems. And don’t load up too much. Be realistic about how many additional responsibilities you can take on. As with most new skills, factor in the time spent learning and perfecting these skills.
This list of duties and education will provide the roadmap, but your journey is not over yet. Convincing the owner that you are capable and qualified to perform these tasks is the next step. In your pitch to the owner, highlight your education, experience, past accomplishments and personal characteristics that make you qualified. Also, discuss how you will be held accountable for the new duties and how your owner will be able to review your progress regularly.
You should also dig a little deeper into the issue of the role of the practice manager in the veterinary practice. Check out the list of 30 typical duties provided by the VHMA for its Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) program offered by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA).
When you’re finally ready to pop the question to your practice owner, request a meeting. Don’t try to squeeze this conversation in between appointments.
Most importantly, show the owner that you’re excited and that you want to help the practice succeed, and share your long-term goals for yourself within the practice.