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Career Development Tools and Resources - Descriptions

Appreciative Inquiry:  One of the tools you can use to implement change is Appreciative Inquiry. This handout introduces the concept and gives a few examples. The worksheet at the end helps to apply the concept to the veterinary school environment. The concept is also a good one to use for team meetings in practices.

Book Suggestions: This is a list of recommended books that we find valuable and recommend for veterinary students.

Business Assessment Form: This handout is a tool that students can use to inquire about the financial health and management of a practice, both through personal observation and by interviewing the practice owner (or their designee). It can be used in an externship experience or when evaluating a job position.

Call Backs:  This handout describes the importance of performing client call backs and gives scripts and protocols for doing so.

Choose a Good Practice:  Outline from a lecture by Dr. Nan Boss on how to choose a great practice for externship, internship or to work in after graduation. What questions should you ask and why? What things should you be thinking about that you may not have considered?

Communicating Medical Information to Clients:  Your communication skills will make or break you all during your professional career. These tips and techniques can make you shine in the exam room. For a condensed version to print out and carry in your lab coat pocket or on a clipboard, see the Wellness Wallet Card document.

Communication Gone Wrong:  This handout is meant to be used as a group exercise for discussion. It introduces some common, real life situations that might occur in a veterinary hospital and provides questions about what went wrong and how the situation could have been prevented. What should you do to avoid miscommunication with a client, and what should you do if it’s already “Gone wrong”?

Communication in Conflict:  This is another handout is meant to be used as a group exercise for discussion. It introduces some common, real life situations that might occur in a veterinary hospital and provides questions about what went wrong and how the situation could have been prevented. This time the focus is on conflict within the veterinary team. What should you do to avoid conflict with your coworkers?

How to Influence Up:  This handout explains three simple and powerful steps you can apply when trying to influence someone. If you follow these simple steps, I can't guarantee that you will change someone's mind, but you will learn more than you would otherwise, you will generate more trust, and you will save time for you and the other person.

How You Act in Conflict:  Conflict Resolution Styles & Strategies: Just as there are personality styles there are different styles of dealing with interpersonal conflict. Identifying and working with different conflict resolution styles will help you to resolve problems and issues throughout your life.

Emotional Intelligence Exercise:  Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand yourself and others, and the ability to use that understanding in your work and private life. The 5 capabilities of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy and effective relationships. Your EQ is usually much more important than your IQ when it comes to being a success or failure at work, at home, or on a committee or team of people. This handout explains the basics of EQ theory.

Estimates:  Putting estimates together and presenting them to clients is a basic skill you’ll need every day in practice, but it’s rarely taught in school. Here’s what you need to know.

Ethics in Veterinary Medicine:  Ethical dilemmas occur all the time in veterinary medicine. The public has a very high regard for veterinarians and veterinary staff members. We consistently rank at the top for the most trusted professionals or professions. It is everyone’s job to uphold and maintain high ethical standards, to keep this high regard for both our profession at large and our hospital in particular. What constitutes unethical behavior and how can we avoid it?

Externship Materials:  These documents are for use when negotiating a veterinary business externship.

Increase Your Collaborative Influence:  When IBM sought to transform the direction of the company in 2002, it identified 33 executives who were considered the best future leaders of the companies given its new direction. They came from all over the world, from every part of the business, with an extraordinary ability to get the job done. Researchers studied these 33 successful executives to determine what skills would need to be taught to the next generations of company leaders. All 33 were adept at a skill IBM calls “collaborative influence.” It is the ability to get things done by getting people to collaborate with each other, and IBM considers it absolutely critical in a highly complex world. How does this apply to veterinary medicine and what can we learn from it?

Mentorship Agreement/Contract Most new graduates place high value on having a mentor at their first post-graduation position. But is what you have in mind what your new boss thinks mentorship is? This agreement spells out what the mentorship relationship is going to be like, so there is no confusion or disappointment.

Politics in the Practice:  Good managers and leaders are able to understand and influence office politics. All organizations have politics – they have weak and strong members as far as power to make decisions or to influence the team. They also have people who have or don’t have influence over other people in the practice. Much of our success with other team members in private practice is based on our ability to understand and work within the power structure. Although most of us don’t think of ourselves as playing games or manipulating others, in fact we human beings do this naturally, and often unconsciously, all the time. This handout teaches you some basics on political structures in business and provides discussion questions to explore with others or on your own.

Standing Up for Yourself:  The veterinary teaching hospitals are scrambling to improve their programming to meet these needs. Some schools have made many curriculum changes as a result and others are further behind. Many times the students themselves can help to drive these changes and to improve their implementation. VBMA chapters can be particularly effective at working for change in their schools. Working for change takes strength, skill and a positive outlook. You may find that when you work together in a positive fashion to implement sensible, simple changes, you’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit.

Statistics for Students (and new grads):  Stories and statistics help with client education. About 50% of people prefer to learn via facts and figures, while the other 50% or so prefer to hear stories or anecdotes. To educate clients more effectively, one of the strategies I use is to combine a story and a statistic. Unfortunately, you learn a lot of statistics in veterinary school but few of them relate to wellness. These are some of the stats I use most frequently when discussing products and services with clients.

Student Loans 101:  Deciphering Educational Loans is Dr. Jim Wilson’s review of what you need to know about veterinary student loans and repayment.

Student Debt Worksheet:  This Excel spreadsheet will help you to understand your personal financial situation.

Wellness Wallet Cards:  These handy cards can be laminated and carried in your pocket or on a clipboard. They will help to remind you of what to say or do for 10 different situations involving wellness and communications, including obtaining a history, communicating medical information or calling the client up after the pet goes home. Don’t go on clinics without them!

What About Wellness?:   Because most veterinary teaching hospital patients are presented for serious problems or referrals, and also because the professors are boarded specialists, wellness and preventative care get short shrift in vet school. Unfortunately, this means students graduate unprepared for the world of general practice, where two thirds of the patient visits are for routine and wellness services. Annual examinations, vaccination visits, heartworm testing, puppies and kittens, dentistry and elective surgery make up most of our business. Here’s what you need to know about this critical area of practicing medicine. 

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