10 things to do at your veterinary hospital (when there's nothing to do)

10 things to do at your veterinary hospital (when there's nothing to do)

Clients don't come to those who wait. Have your veterinary team members tackle these tasks on the slow days and soon they'll have more than enough to do.
Jan 01, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

Team Handout
The key to solving team member boredom is planning ahead, says Brian Conrad, CVPM, practice manager for Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash. "Staff members will tell me they're bored when I'm up to my eyeballs in finance reports," Conrad says. "Sometimes it's hard for me to stop working and find them a project right away." So he's created a list of 10 ways to tackle clinic boredom.

1. Call up clients. Team members can check in with clients to whom they've recommended a dental treatment or thyroid test within the last 30 days. "They shouldn't just sit there until clients show up," Conrad says. "Your staff should work hard to get clients in the door—especially during the slow days in the clinic."

2. Fill medication requests. Team members can use the time to catch up on prescription requests. "Telling clients it's going to be one or two days for a refill is ridiculous when they can go to a big-box store and have it within 30 minutes," Conrad says.

3. Scan to save room. Filter through medical records. "Whether it's scanning records into your paperless software system or throwing out charts for patients you haven't seen in seven years, make sure all your veterinary files are current," Conrad says.

4. Shine the shelves. Team members can always tidy up the retail area, dust the shelves, and organize products. "Staff members can even search the shelves and get rid of expired products," Conrad says.

5. Make every minute count. Inventory counts are an end-of-the-year task, right? Wrong. "Appoint one or two team members to be in charge of the supplies list," Conrad says. "Then they can post a note in the break room that says, 'When someone has time, I need the NSAIDs counted' or 'I need the flea and tick products inventoried.'" This spot-checking throughout the year will make your life much easier come December.

6. Take a picture—it'll last longer. Let your team members take pictures of the clinic—especially the areas clients see. Then have them print and study the 8.5-by-11-inch color photos. "We're so used to walking in and out of our work spaces that we ignore the clutter," Conrad says. "When team members examine the pictures, they're going to see a whole different image."

7. Tackle the hairy tasks. Cat and dog hair is a relentless reality in veterinary practices, so team members can always vacuum out vents and computer fans.

8. Sanitize the fridge. Post a warning sign on the break room refrigerator and then let your staff members trash all food dated older than two weeks. They could even make a trip to the recycling plant to recycle the Tupperware, soda cans, and paper.

9. Be social. The more often team members update your practice's social media sites, the better. "Team members can add new pictures of patients and clients," Conrad says (be sure to get permission first). They can also post clinic specials to attract clients.

10. Book it to the break room. "Team members can put their nose in a journal like Veterinary Economics or Firstline and take notes," Conrad says. "Then at the next team meeting they can share." For more ideas, download the form shown above at http://dvm360.com/bored.

Conrad does offer a word of warning: "When your staff takes on these tasks, make sure the projects don't become their sole purpose for the day," he says. "Clients and patients should always come first."