Vice President of Media Strategy, NAVC
Organizations that put a larger emphasis on training have higher levels of job performance and employee retention, according to a study by Gedaliahui H. Harel and Shay Tzafrir published in Human Resource Management. The study, The Effect of Human Resource Management Practices on the Perceptions of Organizational and Market Performance of the Firm, found that “employee development creates a sense of certainty and enhances employability and faith in management.”
It follows then that opportunities for training give the veterinary nurse a sense of purpose and belonging to the veterinary community.
We polled Today’s Veterinary Nurse’s Facebook audience in May and asked: “Do you feel the training opportunities offered at your veterinary practice or hospital are adequate?” Of the 250 respondents, 76% answered “no”; just 24% said they were getting adequate training opportunities. Comments ranged from “you’re just a body” to “that’s why I left the field.”
Are you a manager at your practice? As much as you’d like to focus solely on medicine, it’s important to ensure you monitor employee morale and cultivate a positive workplace. Are you a veterinary nurse who would like to encourage your practice or hospital to offer more training opportunities? Either way, these tips are worth implementing or bringing to the attention of your practice management:
1. Encourage veterinary nurses and techs to attend continuing education seminars.
2. Develop your team’s communication skills through education. All members of a staff —the receptionist and office manager, veterinarian nurses and techs, and lab and kennel staff — must have good communication skills and understand the practice’s messaging. For example, schedule an in-house briefing on the importance of year-round heartworm prevention and establish key talking points. Make sure everyone on the team is educated about what the practice’s recommendations are.
3. Encourage cross-training and job rotation. Appoint staff members as mentors and provide the time for them to train and teach a colleague on their job. When training someone to work with the animals and their owners, the mentor would teach with the trainee merely observing; eventually, the mentor would observe the trainee in that role.
4. Offer quarterly in-depth training; for example, discuss a particular type of surgery or illness. Give an overview of the condition, clinical signs to look for, and discuss each team member’s role in addressing that condition in a patient.
6. Train both brand-new and experienced staff. Because the veterinary medical field changes, ongoing education is critical.
7. Nurture supervisor leadership skills. Supervisors should understand the practice’s value mission and culture. Supervisors should encourage staff training to ensure success of the team and to elevate patient care.
Find our Continuing Education articles here.