It's no secret that developing a broad range of skills and interests makes you a more desirable employee. That's why we discourage all veterinary team members from simply accepting the jobs they've been given. Instead, we suggest that you jump up and find new challenges and responsibilities that will help you—and the practice—stretch.
Plant the seed
When you develop a particular expertise or establish valueadded services in your practice, you'll increase your level of job satisfaction, and you'll help your practice become more progressive and competitive. Not sure what to do? Consider these ideas:
Reach for the stars
Great team members take ownership of certain responsibilities to help their practices meet the challenges of our competitive industry. These 20 items—some simple, others more complex—indicate areas where you can do just that:
1. Make photo albums of the clinic's extended family. Clients love looking at photographs of people and their pets. Start a practice album, and encourage your clients to submit photos to include in the book. In addition to the album of your present "family," you might create a memorial photo album to honor deceased pets.
2. Create seasonal displays. Brighten up the clinic and advertise hospital services by regularly redecorating the front counter or bulletin board, building a floor display, or painting a mural or a window display. The decorations can highlight a theme or hospital service, such as dentistry or weight management.
3. Become a veterinary nutrition consultant. Maintaining a focus on preventive medicine includes talking knowledgeably with clients about nutrition. Most pet food manufacturers offer written material about their products, and your sales representatives will be happy to teach you even more. Because few pets suffer from an unbalanced diet, it's important to go beyond a product's ingredients to understand the health problems, including obesity and food allergies, that create special dietary needs.
4. Develop a puppy/kitty kindergarten curriculum. Is there an area in your clinic that you could use to conduct a puppy kindergarten class? If not, explore alternate locations. Talk with a trainer or behaviorist to develop the curriculum, and take advantage of the wealth of good books available on puppies and kittens. Offering early training forms close bonds with clients. Plus you'll get pets off to a great start by helping to prevent many common behavior problems.
5. Become a first-aid specialist. Every veterinary clinic can use a person who's trained to administer first aid to people. The American Red Cross offers firstaid courses and certification throughout the year. You can extend your training to include firstaid for pets—and develop a training program for pet owners in your area.
6. Publish a hospital newsletter. Have you always wanted to try your hand at journalism? Try producing a newsletter for the hospital staff. If your team likes the results, you could produce one for clients.
To cut costs, provide copies of your client newsletter at the front desk instead of mailing it, and find out if you can place copies at your local library. All you really need to produce a newsletter is a word-processing program, but to put out a more polished piece, consider taking a desktop publishing course.
7.Offer to spend two hours a week checking client compliance. For example, you could pull files for a certain number of clients each week and check that all the care your team recommended was provided. If the client didn't schedule care, you could follow up with him or her by mail or with a personal call.