Sample script: Handling battles with the boss

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Jul 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

All veterinary team members have been there: The lobby is full, emergencies stream in, and you're doing your best to get it all done. Then a veterinarian with a short fuse snaps at you and the treatment or front-desk area goes quiet. You walk away steamed and demoralized, knowing you need to say something about it. But how?

To communicate for conflict resolution, you need to be sure you have the right attitude, agenda, and audience, says Julie Mullins, veterinary assistant and staff training coordinator at Seaside Animal Clinic in Calabash, N.C. When you need to handle a doctor disagreement, calmly ask the veterinarian if you can schedule a time to speak with her privately about the incident. Then plan what you're going to say. It might sound something like this:

You (respectfully): Dr. Jones, thank you for taking time to speak with me. I really wanted to talk to you about what happened in the treatment area the other day.

Veterinarian: OK. What about it?

You: I know the clinic was crazy busy, everyone was stressed, and tensions were running high, but I do feel like something was off. I was upset because I felt you were really short with me. I want to make sure that doesn't happen again. What can I do in hectic times like that to help you out and avoid getting on your nerves?

Veterinarian: Well, to be honest, I need you to work more quickly and calmly. I think that would help everyone.

You: I will definitely work on that and please let me know if you have specific suggestions for ways I can improve. I'd like all of us to feel in-tune with one another, even when the practice gets chaotic. I appreciate your help.