Moving Into Practice Management

Why are you looking toward a role in veterinary practice management? Here are several reasons to think about.

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At IVECCS this year in San Antonio, I presented a talk for technicians who are interested in moving into a management or leadership role in their respective practices. I have a lot of experience in this topic, both as a technician who DID move into management and as a manager who then moved others into management, and I must say that I learned a lot from mistakes and disasters that occurred during my own career. Like a parent, you always think that if you share your mistakes and lessons learned with your children, it can help them avoid the same pain; but alas, it doesn’t work for parenting, and certainly doesn’t work with managing! But I’ll try nonetheless.

So I just wanted to briefly recap that presentation topic, for those of you out there who may be considering a move into management. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people came to my talk at IVECCS, and in general I see a larger number of people looking toward a management career, which is fantastic! For most of the levels of management within an organization, I’m still of the belief that we should “grow our own,” and mentor those who want to take their experience and knowledge of veterinary medicine into a position of leadership. But there are some things to consider along the way.

Why are you looking toward a role in management? It can be for a number of reasons:

  • The need for a chair: As our bodies grow older, our ability to perform the actual physical tasks of being a veterinary technician lessens, and the injuries we suffer along the way become more restrictive. There may be a need for a less physical position in the practice.
  • The need for a change: After so many years of being a veterinary technician, we might be looking for a change, a new challenge, a different way to use our minds. A current position can become stale, inspiring us to move on to different levels and a variety of tasks.
  • The need for a raise: But let me be clear, whatever raise you may be offered to move into management, it is doubtful that you will feel aptly compensated, at least at the beginning when you are still learning the ropes. If the ONLY reason is a pay increase, then I urge you to look harder at your decision to move into management.
  • The need for a purpose: One of the best incentives is simply the desire to have a purpose, to create positive change for you, your coworkers, your patients and clients. In a management role, you have the ability and access to influence many more policies and protocols, and help create substantial change in the practice.
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Spend some time exploring the reasons why you want to move into management, to ensure the transition goes smoothly, if you determine you want the move after all. Next time we’ll talk about why THEY may be considering YOU for a management position, because it is important to understand their motivation as well to ensure a good future fit.

Posted: Oct. 19, 2012, 1:30 p.m. EDT10/19/2012 10:21 AM

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