Teaching an old boss new tricks

Teaching an old boss new tricks

Dec 01, 2007

Introducing new drugs or procedures into your practice can be frustrating if you're an associate—and it can be especially tough if you're a recent graduate. Your boss may think the way he has always done things works fine, so why change? Here are a few tips I've learned through experience:

  • Take baby steps. I used to work at a practice that used just one opioid analgesic: butorphanol. First I petitioned the boss to add buprenorphine, emphasizing that the drug provided more long-acting analgesia, was in the same controlled substance category (so the paperwork would be the same), and was comparably priced. After a year or two, when the boss was comfortable using buprenorphine and appreciated its effects, I requested morphine.
  • Don't offend the boss. You may think it's malpractice to still be using phenylbutazone in dogs with arthritis, but don't say that. Instead show your boss unbiased reports from journals and conferences demonstrating that the newer NSAIDs are safe and effective.
  • Show that you understand the practice's financial situation. Say your practice's current anesthetic protocol for feline spays calls for intramuscular ketamine-acepromazine, but you want to start intubating patients and use isoflurane for general anesthesia. Calculate the cost to the practice to show your boss that the new protocol will be profitable.

Laura McLain Madsen is an associate at Central Valley Veterinary Hospital in South Salt Lake, Utah. Send questions or comments to

Hot topics on dvm360

Pol on defense as Michigan veterinary board discusses negligence charges

Controversial reality TV veterinarian calls his approach 'common sense.'

Photo gallery: The top 10 veterinary schools in America, according to U.S. News

U.S. News & World Report ranks programs for the first time since 2011.

Front Desk Disasters, Episode 3: Dude looks like a lady

Everyone's favorite receptionist is at it again. Would you handle this situation differently?

Video: Flea hideouts in the house

Parasitology expert Michael Dryden, DVM, MS, PhD, reveals prime hideouts for fleas—and gives tips to clear them out of clients' homes for good.

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

You might be surprised by what your clients are researching. Plus, get an educational client handout.