There’s a very important job in veterinary medicine beyond being a Veterinarian, Veterinary Technician, Receptionist, or a Technician Assistant, and it’s starting to become an appreciated and recognized position.
I always knew animals would be a huge part of my life – But I wasn’t sure in what way. I ended up pursuing large animal sports therapy for a while. Working on animals of all sizes from dogs, cats, horses, and even elephants.
I am thankful for the terminology I walked away with, but I knew it was not something I would pursue in the future. I liked the business aspect.
I had to get clever and do some research on how to incorporate both business and animals, while making some sort of a decent income… Which led me to Veterinary Practice Management!
Veterinary Practice Management – What is that?
Being a veterinary practice manager or director means you have a job that requires many hats, as a large variety of tasks is asked of you. You’ll work beside the owners and/or veterinarians to make sure the hospital runs efficiently.
Your role is to provide leadership to staff members and to monitor the environment while strategizing and implementing plans for healthy work practices, revenue growth, happy clients, and healthy working capital.
You may also have to assist where necessary which could be helping the TA’s hold a dog, taking X-rays when short a staff member. You could also end up taking calls and checking in patients for reception, or even end up assisting the doctors in a C-section.
Every day is different and it depends on the size of your practice. One day you could be bound to the office trying to get month-end done before the deadline.
The next day you could spend half of the day upfront or in the back with your team, getting your face licked by all the puppies that come through the door that day!
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
It depends on the location. In Canada, you must have at least a diploma in business mixed with experience. Or a University Degree in business, or the sciences from a recognized University. Animal and veterinary knowledge is an asset (usually required). Working towards your CVPM is desirable!
PROS AND CONS OF CHOOSING VETERINARY PRACTICE MANAGEMENT AS A CAREER?
The good things about being a VPM, outweigh the cons.
- Days are never the same
- Very versatile role, wearing many hats in all areas of the practice
- You can lead your team and hospital to success and be a key player in this
- Still get to interact daily with animals
- Help others on a deeper level through your ability to make changes and provide support
- Connect with all sorts of people in the industry from nutritionists, veterinary reps, pet insurance reps, and so many more great people that all care for the things you do
- Opportunity to make a difference
- Helping doctors focus on what they are good at – Medicine!
- Compassion fatigue
- Tough conversations with staff and clients
In veterinary practice management, you have a good balance of being on the floor and being in an office space where you can regroup if needed.
But, it’s important to always remember to be available to help staff during high-stress times.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS JOB?
Anyone who has a great work ethic, is compassionate and goal-oriented, has leadership qualities,and that likes business would enjoy this career path. Of course – You have to love animals too!
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR THIS ROLE:
Your staff are your teammates, and you are all on the same level and working towards the same goals.
Having a team with the same values and having them on board for what your practice stands for is important.
Everyone on the team should value and understand the practice’s mission statement.
As a VPM, it is crucial to have an open-door policy. Allowing your staff to come to you to raise their concerns, as well as making sure that they understand this and that their opinions matter.
VPM’s are here so that our wonderful doctors can focus on what they’re good at – Medicine and helping animals in need!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Kuster is a veterinary practice management professional sharing her passion and knowledge in veterinary medicine, management, and animal welfare!
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