Ask Amy: Hopelessly undevoted? - Firstline
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Ask Amy: Hopelessly undevoted?

FIRSTLINE

Our mixed animal practice is co-owned by one part-time and one full-time veterinarian. The part-time doctor handles the administrative duties, but she regularly arrives late and leaves early. The result: Our practice doesn't function smoothly and we're constantly operating in crisis mode. What can our team do?

—Frazzled



Dear Frazzled:
First, try approaching the part-time doctor to work out a solution. Start the conversation by confirming your understanding of who's responsible for which tasks in your practice. This doctor may not believe her responsibilities include the same list of tasks you do.

Once you've verified her role, give specific examples where she missed an important detail or didn't finish a job and explain the consequences. Or ask how your team can lighten her workload and make her responsibilities more manageable. Obviously, you must conduct this conversation tactfully and professionally. Focus on what's best for your patients, clients, and team, and explain how current processes interfere with these goals. Avoid comments that sound like personal criticisms. She'll concentrate on those rather than your concerns or suggestions to improve your practice's systems.

If this approach doesn't work, request a meeting with both doctors. Gently insist they speak with you and repeat the problems your team experiences, focusing on the practice's welfare. Resist the urge to meet with the full-time doctor alone. An effective, permanent solution involves both doctors. You'll earn extra points for your efficiency and professionalism.

—Amy

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