Veterinarian Interests   10/18/2022

The Business of Running a Veterinary Office

By Jonathan Decker

The Business of Running a Veterinary Office

A lot of work goes into running a veterinary office. It's not just about taking care of animals— it's also about managing a business and making sure everything runs smoothly. Below, we will discuss the different roles and responsibilities of veterinary practice team members, as well as the best way to manage your office so you can run a successful business!

All staff members are involved in the operation of a veterinary office, though roles and responsibilities may vary from clinic to clinic based on experience level and accreditation. Keep in mind that when a team works together, it delivers greater patient care, provides better client care and develops a more positive work environment for all employees. When a team environment is built, all roles are rewarded.

Building a successful team

The Veterinarian

The veterinarian is the captain of the ship. They are responsible for making sure all patients are seen and treated in a timely manner, and they need to be able to promptly handle emergencies. The veterinarian should have a good relationship with all staff members so they can work together to provide the best care possible. Whether your practice has one in-house veterinarian or multiple, they all need to be leaders for the rest of the staff.

The Veterinary Technician

The veterinary technician is second in command. They are responsible for assisting the veterinarian with all procedures and should also be trained to handle emergencies. The veterinary technician should have a good relationship with all staff members so they can work together to provide the best care possible. Here are some of the different roles for veterinary technicians, some of which require specialized training:

  • Operating room specialists
  • Dental service technicians
  • Laboratory animal research support specialists
  • Pet nutrition specialists
  • Parasitology lab technicians
  • Medical office assistants
  • Feline and canine specialty vet techs
  • Equine specialist vet techs

The Administrative Specialist

The administrative specialist is the heart of your business— they keep good blood flowing between your clients and the whole staff. As the first point of contact for your current and prospective clients, they need to be able to answer basic questions and remain friendly and empathetic at all times. The interactions the administrative specialist has with a client can determine how that client perceives the quality of medical services you offer. A good administrative specialist must be personable, have excellent communication skills, be able to schedule appointments and keep track of all patients.

The Veterinary Assistant

The veterinary assistant is responsible for a variety of tasks. They need to be able to assist the veterinarian and the veterinary technician with procedures. Credentialing is not required for veterinary assistants, but formal training is available. Here are some of the different roles veterinary assistants might be tasked with:

  • Feed and exercise animals
  • Clerical work
  • Maintain and sterilize instruments
  • Restrain animals during examinations and procedures
  • Collect samples for lab testing
  • Administer injections and medications
  • Provide post-operative care

The Practice Manager

Having a good practice manager can greatly improve your team's efficiency. They are responsible for managing the business functions of your practice. This should free up the veterinarians to focus on patient care. A good practice manager will have a background in business and understand the financial aspects of running a veterinary practice, and they should also be able to handle personnel issues and inventory management.

Veterinary medicine is a challenging and rewarding field. It takes a lot of hard work to keep everything running smoothly, but the benefits are clear. Patients receive better care when teams work together, clients appreciate the extra effort put into their pets’ care and staff members who feel appreciated are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

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