Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is owner of McVey Management Solutions (formerly IVMS), a consulting business that specializes in improving health care delivery systems and correcting workplace culture. He is also a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics editorial advisory boards. He regularly leads a range of practice management sessions at CVC Washington D.C., CVC Kansas City, and CVC San Diego.
Q: What percentage of practices, large and small, would you say have the receptionist duties include taking the client into the exam room, pulling vaccines and filing and dispensing medications from the veterinarian at the end of the office visit? I feel it’s a lot of work for the front office team and takes them away from the phones and reception desk. The practice owner feels it would increase the payroll percentage too much for a technician to do.—Overworked
Q: A new mobile, free-or-almost-free nonprofit on wheels opens up shop once a week in my working-middle-class-to-upper-class neighborhood. As a practice owner, what can I do to deal with this situation and avoid losing business?
One of our co-workers started a side business selling merchandise. She invited the whole team to her party, and we attended as a friendly gesture. But we felt pressured to buy from her so a few of us placed small orders. Now she's pressuring us to buy more, sending us emails about new products and bringing us catalogs. How do we politely say "No thanks" without making her angry and ruining our work relationship?--Sold out
There doesn't seem to be appreciation for kennel technicians at my practice. We do a lot of the dirty work and are treated like we aren't as good as everyone else. How can I make my fellow team members value my work?--In the doghouse
I'm a receptionist, but I also do a lot of assisting the doctor and technicians. My biggest frustration is trying to learn tasks at the back of the clinic that would make me more helpful while always being interrupted by the phone and walk-ins. How do I balance the work?—Not dropping the ball
Every person at our practice has an important job to keep this business running smoothly. But our reception, kennel and lab team members don't always get along. I wish all areas could be more understanding of each other's jobs. But sometimes it feels like we're considered expendable. How can we bring our group together as a team?—Feeling expendable
I love my job but our office manager is a big problem. She's very unprofessional and rude. She has given a tongue lashing to many clients and driven them away. I and my other team members suspect that she's stolen money, and we're sick of her attitude, the disrespect to others and her laziness. We confronted the owner about our concerns. He will have brief chats with her, but it only does good for a couple of hours. Help!
Q: A team member hangs out in the kennel area on her phone and spends all her work time texting her boyfriend and Facebooking with friends. Some of the other team members and I end up working harder to pick up the slack. How can I tell the manager without sounding like I'm tattling?—Tempted to tattle