Tackling tension on your team (sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health)
When a new intern or associate comes on the scene, eager to show what he or she learned in school and practice all the hands-on procedures, your experienced technician can feel a little underappreciated. As the practice owner, you set the tone for practice teamwork and camaraderie. Make sure your technician is involved in preliminary interviews and working interviews with a potential intern or associate. Then, once the doctor shows up, consider the following tips to build a great working relationship between the technician and your new doctor.
Technicians can train
A good relationship from the start will also mean your technician can learn a lot from the new doctor without getting into a power struggle. "A good technician will learn something new from a veterinarian who came from a different veterinary school," Reeder says.
Find common ground
If your technician isn't getting along with a new doctor, encourage her to explore common ground. Ask her to investigate the doctor's background in medicine and horsemanship. Did the doctor grow up on a farm? Did he or she own horses, competing or showing them? When the technician learns why the doctor's approach differs from hers, she can turn that information into better communication.
For instance, a new doctor eager to order loads of diagnostics may get off on the wrong foot with a no-nonsense trainer who thinks the treatment is obvious, says Dr. Christine Merle, MBA, CVPM, executive director of VetPartners and a consultant with Brakke Consulting. "It can be part of a technician's job to help the associate explain the importance of the testing," Dr. Merle says. "How can the technician help the trainer understand that the new doctor is acting in the horse's best interest?"
If you help maintain open lines of communication by involving a technician early, introducing him or her and what he or she does for you every day, your technician can become the perfect working partner for the new doctor—whether the doctor is there for a year or eventually becomes the practice owner.