• Help! I'm a new manager

    We're hearing that more and more veterinary clinics are hiring practice managers. This great news means that more and more team members are moving into manager roles. If you're a new manager, what are the main challenges you're facing? And if you're a seasoned manager, what advice do you have for the rookies out there?

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  • new mgr.

    Well I think having a practice manager is so important but maybe I am biased.  Most important a new manager has to be a leader and know how to manage people.  Tasks like Quickbooks etc. can be learned but it is difficult to train leadership people skills.  I think mistakes are sometimes made when a team member is promoted to manager and one of the reasons is because they are well liked.  Well liked doesn't necessarily make a good manager - well respected does.  It is also difficult when you move through the ranks to separate being one of the team to being a leader of the team.  You have a different set of rules when you are the manager.  It is difficult to discipline your friend that you worked along side for years.  BUT when you don't hold team members accountable because you are uncomfortable in that role more and mroe problems develop.




  • Must Work With People

    The trend is to promote LVTs to Practice Managers.  This is great, because the person has a background in the medical aspects of what the field is about.  Not so great because a vast majority of technicians have gone into the field because, "They don't like working with people."

    I am one of those individuals.  I thought veterinary medicine meant working with animals.  And when I was working in the treatment area of ECC facilities, that's what it primarily was.  Nobody cared if you had a "bad attitude" so long as the patients got the treatment and compassion they deserved.  There was minimal contact with clients beyond saying, "okay, we're taking fluffy back to treatment now" or the occassional phone update, "Fluffy is stable at this time, would you like to speak to the doctor?"

    Ever since I was "drafted" into the practice management role, my job description changed drastically.  I don't get to practice the medicine that I did before, rarely, if ever.  I get excited when I am allowed to even restrain a patient.  Now my job is with people.  Client services, human resources, "handling" the boss/veterinarians, negotiating with vendors and sales reps.  It all boils down to public relations.  And to work in public relations, you really really really have to enjoy working with people. It helped that I had years of retail experience before I went into the veterinary field.  I find I wear my "retail persona" more and more at work when dealing with clients then I do my "LVT persona."

    So if a practice owner is choosing a practice manager, they really have to be very selective.  It should not be promotions based on LVT longevity or LVT technical skills, but really on how well that LVT works with clients, relates with team members, and what their disposition is with people in general.  Any LVT that got into the field because they "love animals" is suspect to me.

    Any LVTs thinking of becoming practice managers, take a few courses first.  Go back to school, even if it is part time for an associates degree, or online, or just a management seminar. Take business administration courses, hospitality courses, peer relation courses, or anything you can find that will give you an inkling of what it is like to deal with people every day.  To have to put on your "people face" even over the phone.  If it fustrates you, if you can't be nice to someone when you really just want to rip their head off, practice management is not for you.


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  • Help! I'm a new manager

    Best advice I can give: Lead by example.  Be a good leader. The managing will follow. 

    Remember too--nothing is as bad as it seems today, and tomorrow is a new day. 

    My favorite (work) quote:  "If you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life".  And if you love your job like i do, you'll believe it.

  • When did I become the manager????

    My postiton as practice manager happened so slowly that I didn't even know it happened.  I started out as the receptionist, moved my way into the back as an assistant and then became a CVT.  We built a new hospital started adding more staff and then I noticed I was spending more time in the office then in the treatment area.

    The day the owner sold the practice, and the new doctor came to work is when I truely felt I was the practice manager and didn't just have the titile.   I have loved every position I have held in this business and I really love being the manager and having a say in what goes on at this hospital that I help build through blood, sweat and tears.

  • A few helpful items ... I wish someone had told me when I started working as a hosptial manager

    Managing people and different personalities is the hardest part of being a manager.  There are days when you just want to run out back and vent about what so and so did or said but then you remember you cannot.  You are a professional, you are a leader, you must stay consistent, you must stay level headed and you must have all of the answers or know where to find them.  You must know how to keep yourself organized, know how to keep your owners legal, understand all of the employment laws, develop inventory programs, train staff or develop programs, develop marketing programs, prepare budgets and financial analysis, and keep the peace between all of the individuals in your hospital that mainly have chosen this profession because they like pet’s not people. 

    Why again do we love our jobs? 

    There is a lot going on in a veterinary hospital and there is a lot that lies on the shoulders of the Hospital Administrator.  I know that the best advice that I could give a new manager is this …

    Understand that first you do not know everything, continue to educate yourself each year.  Learn how to listen and not just talk, believe me talking is fun especially if you are passionate about what you do, but a good leader listens to their team.  The next is … and this is a big one … YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL BY YOURSELF!  Trust your team.  Develop teams within your hospital for inventory, team leaders, marketing, client relations, OSHA, etc. and spend time with your staff placing them into the areas that they will excel.  You cannot place an individual in a team leader position if they are shy, even if they do know the job the best.  They will not be able to train new staff this way.  Put them into a position that allows them to take on additional skills that they can excel in.  Once you get your teams in place you must follow up, this means even when you are busy you must spend time meeting with your staff and listening to where they are with what.  Take notes that will remind you what each team is working on and the progress that they are making.  Also, remember that things take time you will never be able to jump into a management role and expect to have respect from everyone all at once you have to lead by example.  Show your team that they can trust you and that your ideas for teamwork and development is sincere. 

    Once you are able to control your teams you will have the flexibility and time to work on your own projects and your hospital will be what I like to call “controlled chaos”  

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