Find Continuing Education that Offers Lasting Value

You know running an equine veterinary practice goes well beyond caring for animals. It requires managing employees, managing the business, advancing the practice and attending continuing education opportunities. It’s hard to find the time to do it all, but as a longtime coach in leadership and business development, I can say it is very possible. Business and employee management education can help you create a plan that is both valuable and sustainable for your practice.

For several years I have coached veterinarians both one-on-one and in group coaching sessions for all levels of leaders. The goal is to enhance skills and effectiveness within teams. Each time we finish a training session, I feel a sense of pride. For example, the PeopleFirst Leadership Certificate Program, I instruct delivers results: Around 88% of our participants have said the leadership training helped them understand what it takes to be an effective leader in their organization, and 90% say they applied the knowledge and skills they learned within the first four weeks after the course.1 So, you might be wondering what makes a program like this different from other training classes. How can you be sure training and continuing education (CE) opportunities you participate in are going to be valuable to you now and in the future?

Let’s talk about what you need to look for.

Education from an Instructor Passionate About Your Livelihood

Find facilitators and coaches who have a passion to see participants learn and grow as leaders. Make sure the lessons can be put to use immediately by you. I think what really makes my job special is a mission to make an impact for individuals every single time and seeing the benefits for practices.

An Opportunity to Join Your Peers and Colleagues

You can learn alongside other like-minded peers from your practice or from other practices and businesses. In group trainings, you’ll hear about similar challenges other veterinarians face. You’ll see what is going well and what is challenging for clients. Group activities help improve communication and problem-solving skills.

Active Approach to Learning

You can’t expect to learn just sitting through bland lectures. You need high energy, interaction and constant movement; it takes a real hands-on approach, just like in veterinary school. I focus on making learning fun. Whether in a classroom setting, through case studies, exercises and practical applications or activities assigned between training sessions, you will have opportunities to apply what you learn. This allows participants to increase their knowledge and gain confidence as they put skills to use.

A Program that Demonstrates Results

Look for a program that can offer both tangible and intangible results. Successful programs will train business leaders to communicate more effectively with their employees, which is one of the biggest challenges of running a business. Better communication builds trust, improves relationships among employers and employees, inspires innovation and creativity and impacts overall business performance. There is more than one way to learn effective communication and leadership skills. It requires more than a one-time experience. Find someone who is going to be with you every step of the way and beyond to ensure you receive returns on your investment. Then, you can put your investment to work. By learning how to inspire change in people, you’ll see lasting results in other areas of the business.

The next time you attend an industry event, go beyond medicine and products. Talk about CE and training opportunities. Ask business leaders what programs offer value. Don’t let the opportunity to advance your practice slip away.

Debra Van Cleve is a senior consultant for PeopleFirst from Zoetis. She has been working in the learning and development field for 20-plus years. PeopleFirst is a service from Zoetis focused on helping owners and managers overcome common challenges of modern agricultural and veterinary businesses. For more ways to help develop your successful team or to find a leadership course near you, contact Deb or your local Zoetis representative. You can visit to learn more.

1. Data on file, Study Report No. 13ORSERV01, Zoetis Inc.

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