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Veterinarian Technician June 2009 (Vol 30, No 6)

Management Matters — Getting the Veterinarian to Trust You

by Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

    Your position as a veterinary technician — even if you have years of experience or hard-earned credentials after your name — does not mean that the veterinarians in your practice will automatically trust you. Trust is earned after you have demonstrated what you know and have shown a willingness to grow in the profession. You also need to recognize that you can lose someone's trust and if that happens, regaining that trust can be difficult.

    Know What You Know

    It is important to demonstrate your knowledge during interactions with veterinarians, but keep in mind that a soft approach is often best. Simply ask the veterinarian if you can help with a task or do a specific job, and respect the answer. If the veterinarian is new to the practice or has recently graduated, both of you may be concerned about earning trust from others in the practice. In that instance, let the veterinarian take the spotlight first, and you can decide when it is your turn to shine.

    The key to knowing what you know, however, is recognizing what you do not know. Regardless of how skilled you are, there are things you do not know, and acknowledging this can help you earn the trust of others faster. In fact, demonstrating that you are willing to ask the veterinarian for advice when you do not know something will go a long way toward earning trust.

    Show What You Know

    If you have limited opportunity to show what you know during the daily workload, there are other ways to highlight your skills and knowledge. For example, offer to teach a continuing education seminar to fellow technicians, assistants and receptionists. To help obtain the approval of staff veterinarians or the office manager, prepare a draft presentation or outline that covers the information that would be included in the seminar. Make sure to create informative handouts and/or class notes for participants, and invite the veterinarians to attend the seminar — then they can witness the time and effort you have devoted. However, do not count on veterinarians to always attend. In addition, suggest that portions of the seminar that pertain to pet owners can be included on the clinic's website or in its newsletter.

    Continue to Grow

    Because technology, equipment, treatments and medications are constantly changing, your knowledge and skills can become outdated quickly. Luckily, numerous learning opportunities are available. For example, journals and online continuing education are affordable, flexible means of augmenting your learning.

    If you are able to attend local or national seminars or conferences, come back to the clinic with a desire to share what you've learned. Print a copy of the conference proceedings or handouts from the sessions you attended so the veterinarians can review and absorb the information. They may not be willing to pursue every new idea, but they will appreciate your initiative.

    NEXT: Nine Certified as Practice Managers


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