Our veterinary team is broken

Our veterinary team is broken

Every person at our practice has an important job to keep this business running smoothly. But our reception, kennel and lab team members don't always get along. I wish all areas could be more understanding of each other's jobs. But sometimes it feels like we're considered expendable. How can we bring our group together as a team?—Feeling expendable
Nov 01, 2013

Dear Expendable (NOT):
I am sorry that you feel expendable at your job. That must be the worst feeling ever. And it's one of the main reasons people leave their place of employment—feeling futile and like absolutely nothing is going to change.

For a team to really come together, a few systems must be in place. Intention isn't enough to drive teamwork—or any relationship, for that matter. How many marriages succeed based on the sheer desire to make it work? Most relationships require concrete steps to get back on track, and many relationships at work are no different. Discuss these steps with your manager to start on the right path to a team mentality.

1. Communicate. You need an open dialogue about which positions are working and which ones aren't. The team has to address the elephants in the living room, and most of the elephants will be about people and their competencies or about the lack of accountability regarding your veterinary practice systems or processes.

2. Create clear and exhaustive job descriptions. Everyone needs to know where they stop and coworkers begin. Is everyone doing all of the tasks of their job, and are all tasks accounted for?

3. Establish common goals and meet twice monthly to check on progress toward those goals. Teamwork is built around establishing common values and goals, and managers can work together to make this happen. Good luck!


Got a question? Ask Shawn.

Maybe you're tired of babysitting your team members. Perhaps you're looking for strategies to beat a bully. Shawn can help. Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory boards and CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Austin, Texas. Email your questions for him to
, then visit http://dvm360.com/mcvey to read McVey's advice on other hot topics.

Proceedings papers for techs

The very best behavior advice for new puppy owners (Proceedings)


The entire hospital staff should play a role in the counseling of new puppy owners.

The technician's role creating a behavior centered veterinary practice (Proceedings)


A focus on pet behavior in the veterinary clinic is an excellent practice builder.

Trying times--dealing with canine adolescent dog (Proceedings)


A behavior wellness exam is an opportunity to check up on a pet’s behavioral health and answer any related questions a client may have.

Enriching geriatric patients' lives (Proceedings)


An important time for practices to include a behavioral exam is when a pet becomes a senior.

Tubes and tracheas--all about endotracheal tubes and lesions in difficult intubations (Proceedings)


Endotracheal tubes are usually made from silicone, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic or red rubber.