How to Manage Stress as a Veterinarian

by easyDVM

Stress is a problem that affects many veterinarians. To some extent, stress is inevitable when your profession involves working with critically ill animals, some of whom may ultimately need to be put to sleep. However, there are several things you can do to reduce the emotional toll that your job takes on your life.

Know What Your Responsibilities Are (And What They Are Not!)

Stress can arise when you feel responsible for making decisions that could mean life or death for other people’s beloved pets. As a veterinarian, it is important to be able to take a step back from the cases you are involved in treating. You are a valuable provider of knowledge and advice about animal care, but ultimately pet owners are responsible for making decisions about their own animals.

Similarly, you are not responsible for managing your clients’ finances or helping them work out how they can afford to treat their pets. In fact, you can delegate the task of discussing fees and payment options to one of the lay staff at your veterinary practice, rather than taking on this duty yourself. By focusing on the core part of your job — using your skills and experience to diagnose and treat sick pets — you can reduce the amount of stress you feel at work.

Make Time for Stress Management

Taking regular breaks during the day can help you to regain focus and bring your stress levels under control. Make time between client appointments to eat a healthy lunch, so you don’t have to battle low blood sugar or hunger during the afternoon. Along with your scheduled breaks, remember that it is also¬†okay to take five minutes away from your duties when the pressure is too much. Spend this time taking a quick walk around the block to clear your head, or breathe deeply to calm your body in preparation for your next appointment.

Reduce Stress Outside of Work

Taking care of your mental and physical health outside of your job can have a big impact on how stressed you feel during the working day. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, your diet, exercise, and sleep habits can have a big impact on physical and mental well-being. Outside of work, manage your stress by trying different activities until you find something you enjoy doing as a form of regular exercise.

Learn to Manage Client Criticism

Negative feedback from clients is something all vets have to deal with. You are only human, which means you will make mistakes occasionally. Sometimes, pet owners may leave you negative feedback even when you did everything you could to help their pet. Recognize that this can be some people’s way of dealing with their grief over losing a beloved animal and that it is not necessarily your fault.

When you receive feedback that upsets you, either via an online review, from your boss, or directly from a client, take a few minutes to calm down by taking a short walk or breathing deeply, and then carry on with your day. When the initial sting of receiving criticism has faded, you can reflect on the feedback, assess whether it is fair, and decide whether you need to do anything to serve your clients better in the future.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Starting a Veterinary Practice? Consider These Top 5 Legal Steps

by easyDVM

When veterinarians start a new practice, they need to remember that there are many legal steps to take beforehand. Not following these can result in hefty fines or costly lawsuits. By taking precautions, you’ll protect yourself, your business and your patients.

Addressing these legal steps in-depth goes beyond the scope of this article, especially because the procedures for following these steps vary between jurisdictions. If you have any questions, consult a lawyer.

1. Legally Forming a Company

Your company needs to have a legal presence to do much of the work of business. This includes assuming and paying debts (for instance, to get your business off the ground), signing contracts (such as your location’s lease), assuming obligations, suing and being sued and otherwise being held responsible for its actions. Registering your business on a federal level will also give you an EIN number, which is what you’ll use to pay taxes.

There are several different types of legal entities your business can become, including but not limited to, a corporation, an association, a proprietorship or a partnership. Each will have its own benefits and drawbacks, so consider your options carefully. Be sure to research the requirements for forming your company on the national, state and local levels.

2. Local Zoning Requirements

Zoning is designed to keep a neighborhood orderly, both geographically and in terms of its goings-on. For instance, it irritates neighbors and damages property values to have big businesses in what’s otherwise a peaceful suburban setting, so municipalities will pass zoning restrictions to avoid this problem. This particularly affects businesses that operate out of the home.

Before you sign a lease or buy property, always double-check with your city to make sure you’re not violating zoning laws. If you are, you’ll need to pick a different location.

3. Permits and Licenses

All 50 U.S. states require veterinarians to have professional and current state licensure. These requirements differ from state to state. Additionally, many states require licensure, certification or registration for vet techs. Some states may require licensure or certification for an individual hospital, clinic or other facility. Finally, both the DEA and states have requirements in place for possession of controlled substances, such as Ketamine. It’s important to research all of these requirements for your jurisdiction, and how they affect your office.

4. Insurance Requirements

Part of your professional or business licensure requirements may involve buying insurance and keeping it current–especially malpractice insurance. Do research about what your particular state requires, and if you have questions consult a lawyer.

Consider buying other kinds of insurance your state may not request, such as property insurance, or a more extensive plan than your jurisdiction wants. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. Setting Up Employment

Finally, make sure your procedures for employing other people are set up properly. For instance, most states will levy an employment tax. They may request that you put together an employee handbook (which is a good idea in general!), and you’ll also have to make sure your workplace meets OSHA and other safety standards.

Regulations, zoning requirements, taxes and other legal steps are put into place to keep your business, its clients and its patients safe, and to benefit the public. The legal considerations surrounding starting a business may be intimidating, but with care, research and consultation, you’ll be able to meet all requirements.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

The Top 10 Problems Veterinarians Face (and How to Solve Them)

by Sam D Meisler DVM

The life of a veterinarian is very rewarding, and you likely enjoy your career. Still, it does have its challenges. If you’re struggling with a specific problem or simply want to improve your practice, read on for the most common problems and how to solve them.

1. Angry Customers

Most pet owners are cordial when their pets are well, but the tables may turn when the news isn’t good. If you want to prevent angry customers, push the importance of veterinary preventive medicine and regular veterinary wellness checkups. When a customer’s emotions are heightened by stressful news, try to stay calm and comforting at all times.

2. Pricing

Pricing is a critical issue for veterinarians. If you price too high, your customers are disgruntled. If you price too low, however, your veterinary practice may suffer.

The trick is to find a competitive price that still pays your bills and your employee salaries, and leaves a little for savings. Review your pricing regularly and compare it with your net profit to determine the sweet spot for pricing.

3. Stress

Like most medical jobs, veterinarians deal with daily stress – and so do your employees. You can’t prevent stress completely, but you can manage it with regular breaks in a quiet room and shorter shifts for employees.

4. Disgruntled Employees

Every industry has the potential to upset its employees. Make sure you’re paying your employees what they’re worth, and keep your expectations reasonable. Most importantly, follow the proper procedures to keep your employees safe from diseases and injuries when working with animals.

5. Slow Cash Flow

Nearly all veterinary practices experience slow cash flow. To boost sales when cash is short, create special offers to entice new customers. You might offer a special for pets who are behind on immunizations or provide extra services for puppies and kittens.

6. Continued Education

Veterinary practice is a science, and science is changing constantly. Staying on top of trends and advancements isn’t always easy, but it’s important for your career. To make the job easier, consider learning as you work by watching videos or listening to podcasts.

7. Competition

You’ll face more competition than ever before, thanks to mobile clinics, mega pet stores and internet diagnoses. You can’t possibly defeat all the competition, but you can stay relevant by offering to match the prices of other clinics (when asked), advertising your strengths and focusing on one or more specialties.

8. Lack of Time

You’re probably busier than most people you know. Instead of just accepting that you’ll never have free time again, try to find ways to streamline your business. Maybe you could convert to digital records instead of paper, or perhaps you should hire additional support staff so you can focus on the most important aspects of your business. There are likely numerous ways to make your life easier if you brainstorm a bit.

9. Finding Great Employees

It’s a struggle for any business to find the best employees. To find yours, consider cutting your experience requirements, and focusing instead on finding people who love animals and can learn quickly. Once you find a great employee, do everything you can to keep them – it’s cheaper to retain employees than to find new ones.

10. Low Income Pet Owners

Some pet owners simply don’t have the funds to take care of their pets. It’s heartbreaking, but what can you do? You have your own bills to pay, and many of your customers can afford your services. Here’s one solution: You might offer your services at a reduced rate if your city leaders agree to fund a clinic that provides basic veterinary care to local residents. When it comes to larger treatments like surgeries, there are many financing companies with which you can partner. And if a low income, affordable clinic comes to town, embrace them rather than try to compete with them.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Design Your Veterinary Practice Facility to Maximize Your Pet Patients’ Comfort

by Sam D Meisler DVM

Hospital

When designing a veterinary practice, it is important to keep the comfort of patients in mind. Design choices that appeal to humans aren’t always the best for our four-legged friends, who can be very sensitive to sounds, temperature fluctuations, textures and colors. Use these design tips to make your pet patients feel more at home and reduce their anxiety over visiting the vet.

Colors

Some animals feel nervous in enclosed spaces. According to veterinary architect Wendy Wheeler Martinez, using light colors inside your practice can make spaces look bigger, which could help soothe pets’ anxiety. Light colors are a particularly good choice for ceilings, as they can visually push the ceiling away to make the room feel less claustrophobic.

Flooring

Ideally, the floor of a veterinary practice will be easy to clean and maintain. Even house-trained pets can have accidents when they feel nervous about being in a new environment, so it’s important to choose a flooring type that wipes clean and doesn’t hold onto smells. Vinyl and rubber are both good choices, whereas installing carpet is likely to be a decision you regret. Other types of hard flooring, such as concrete or tiles, are also easy to clean, although pets might not find them as comfortable to walk on.

Sound

Background noise can be a big problem in some veterinary practices. Soften the noises of barking dogs and mewling cats by installing absorbent panels in noisy parts of your practice, such as the kennel area. Soundproofing your practice in this way can help to keep stress levels as low as possible among your patients.

Some veterinary practices choose to play music to cover background sounds and create a welcoming atmosphere for both humans and pets. Studies have shown that dogs in rescue shelters get more rest when they listen to classical music, reflecting human studies that show classical music reduces stress by relieving pain, lowering blood pressure, and slowing heart and breathing rates. Try using gentle classical music in your practice to put pet patients at their ease, but steer clear of noisy pop or rock music that could set four-legged visitors on edge.

Temperature

Animals are very sensitive to heat. Unlike humans, who have a huge number of sweat glands covering their bodies, cats can only sweat through their paws, and dogs cool down by panting and sweating through their paws, which leaves them vulnerable to overheating. If the temperature in your veterinary practice is too high, you may notice your pet patients leaving wet footprints on the floor. During summer, use air conditioning and fans to create a cooling breeze and prevent overheating in your pet patients.

Overall Design

In general, it is a good idea to design your veterinary practice to be as homely as possible. Be sure to provide areas for dogs to sit or lie down in the waiting room, with drinking water available. By making design choices that turn a sterile building into a welcoming environment for your pet patients, you may be able to reduce their stress levels and help them cope more easily with the unfamiliar experience of visiting the vet. Of course, you also need to consider the practicality of your design choices; soft furnishings and carpets may not be the best choice, as you need the space to be easy to clean.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.