By Jessica Strohecker, CVBL, PCM, CDMP
If Veterinary Practice Managers were prescribed like medication the intended use label would probably sound something like this:
The intended use of a veterinary practice manager is to help support practice goals, aspirations and guide the practice, clients, patients, and team to success. Warning: Handle with care.
Veterinary practice owners typically start looking for a practice manager when things start to feel out of control in their practice. Especially when human resource issues become the priority, team turnover starts to cycle, and management tasks begin to fall behind. Thus, causing a full-blown case of “Practice Brokentitus”, making the practice owner ready to prescribe the cure - a practice manager.
However, hiring one is never a cure. It is just a treatment to improve the negative symptoms happening in a veterinary practice.
Practice owners will regularly relinquish management duties, like human resources, to a new practice manager, as soon as they are hired. Always with the intent that the new manager will turn the practice around and everything will be fixed immediately. Then after a few months, when things are progressing slowly, the owner becomes antsy, feeling there has been zero progress. Which triggers the owner’s internal thought loop, “I hired a practice manager to fix the practice, but the practice isn’t fixed yet, so why do I have a practice manager if they haven’t fixed the practice.” This leaves the practice owner frustrated, feeling as if they made a terrible decision, and hired the wrong person. Owners will begin to consult with peers and business colleagues, only telling the story from their own perspective – never taking into consideration how frustrated, isolated, lost and potentially overwhelmed the manager may feel.
The practice manager’s perspective