FIRSTLINE, Nov 1, 2006 - Firstline
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FIRSTLINE, Nov 1, 2006
Professional Growth
Don't needle the new doctor
By Debbie Allaben Gair, CVPM
Feeling prickly about the new associate? You play a part in her success, so try to make her feel welcome.
Cover story
Risky business: 6 lawsuits waiting to happen
By Katherine Bontrager
Think you're immune to lawsuits because you don't own the practice? Think again. Protect your hospital--and yourself--from the legal pitfalls in your path with this advice from savvy doctors and lawyers.
Ask the Experts
Ask Amy: I dread my job
Our department doesn't work as a team. Some team members are rude and disrespectful, and the work environment is so hostile I dread each day. Help!
Ask Amy: Clients deserve updates
My boss often fails to call pet owners after he performs surgeries to give them updates on their pets. These clients get worried and frustrated, and I feel sorry for them. How can I convince him to spend a little time to reassure these clients?
Give me a break
By Sarah Babcock, DVM, JD
Q: Is our doctor legally required to provide us with a break room?
Will clients accept changes?
Q: How do you implement major changes, such as mandatory preanesthetic blood work, without alienating long-term clients?
Front Desk
Guard against lawsuits
When it comes to protecting your practice from lawsuits, you're your practice's best line of defense.
Pearls of Practice
Tis the season for fun
You don't need to be high on Halloween candy or tipsy on eggnog to enjoy the end-of-year madness. Try these tips to spread the holiday cheer.
Make time for special deliveries
By Sandy Carter
Do you see the faces of your elderly or disabled clients as often as you'd like? When the team at Millsap Veterinary Clinic in Millsap, Texas, noticed some older clients were missing their pets' checkups, they started asking questions—and uncovered a transportation problem. Their solution: a pet taxi.
The client said no. Now what?
By Caitlin Rivers
The next time clients refuse care, use this advice from Caitlin Rivers, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and technician supervisor at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa.: Don't take it personally.
The pen is mightier with the brush
By Louise Dunn
The key to convincing clients to schedule dental appointments for their pets might just have everything to do with your pen, says Louise Dunn, a practice management consultant with Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consultants in Greensboro, N.C. She offers this tip to market your dental program:
"I'll take staff meetings for $200, Alex"
By Dawn Westbrook
Looking for a prescription for a dull staff meeting? Dawn Westbrook, the client services supervisor at Pine Ridge Pet Care in Andover, Minn., found the perfect solution. She surprised team members with a game instead of the usual policies and procedures discussion.
On the job: Claudia LaMasters, CVPM
By Claudia L. LaMasters, CVPM
One of our clients was so in love with his Doberman. One day his dog escaped from his yard. A frightened neighbor went after the dog with electric hedge clippers. The dog was rushed in for emergency surgery. Once the dog recovered, the man was so grateful that every time he visited our hospital he volunteered his services for almost a year.
Making It Meaningful
The one that flew away
By Susan Logan, BS, CVT
My fondest wish is to never see this very wild--and very special--patient again.
Dear Firstline
You know you need a new job if ...
By Ed McKnight, DVM
There could have been a postscript at the end of the article, "Signs You Need a New Job" (By the Numbers, September/October 2006). It may have read like this: P.S. You may need a new job if the first article in this issue you read is titled, "Signs You Need a New Job." Thanks for the humor and the advice.
What happened to "thanks?"
At no time in the article "Reach for More Pay" (September/October 2006) did you tell the person who got the raise to say "thank you." I gave all of my staff members a raise without anyone asking for one, and I didn't get one "thank you." Should I take it away?
Discounts cost owners plenty
By Susan Mauck
As the owner/office manager of a small animal clinic, I found your answer to the question about discounts pretty one-sided ("I Want My Discount Back," Ask the Experts, September/October 2006). Do these employees consider the cost the practice owner bears for this benefit? The employees' hearts are in the right place—they want to help all of the pets that come their way. The problem is that it's at the practice owner's expense. Some employees feel that they can take home pet after pet because the cost is minimal. This becomes a problem when several employees have multiple-pet households that the clinic is basically supporting.
By the Numbers
10 ways to make Mondays great
Don't let Mondays drag you down. Use these tips to start the workweek with the right attitude.

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