Submitted by Janine Kernaleguen, RVT VPM
As RVTs, some of us have experienced management as the next step when the technical work no longer excites us, our experience and skills lean us into a more comprehensive role in the practice or life changes our path slightly. Sometimes management is dreaded or even feared and sometimes it is met with welcoming open arms. Not everyone’s career path is the same nor is it at the same speed.
Why would you want to do this as an RVT? Longevity. Responsibility. Raises. Job satisfaction.
Not every day is sunshine and rainbows in a management role, but it has its perks. Job flexibility for one. Many management tasks can happen outside of office hours. Need to take a morning for your kids? You got it. You can always make it up with an evening shift or even working from home. The hardest days in management have more than enough good days to make up for it.
From a practice’s standpoint, offering a position or promotion with management aspects is a way that they can offer their RVTs more compensation. By allowing those key team members to take on more responsibility, they can be more valuable to the team and therefore the practice. There are varying levels of responsibility that an RVT can take on. Using the RVT’s strengths is key to making it work for both employee and employer. Great at organizing? Excellent Trainer? Strong technical skills? Strong communicator? Love social media? Each one of these things has a different skill set and maybe a different aspect of management that could be of use to the practice. Organizational skills may lead you into a role with inventory. Social media skills for clinic marketing. Strong technical skills may allow you to be the technical protocol writer for the practice. Whereas someone who struggles with communicating with clients should not oversee training new employees in that area or speaking with vendors. They will not experience the same self worth as someone who excels at doing it.
As an RVT I always wanted to take on responsibility and be able to help shape the practice to make it a better place for the team and the clients/patients. One of the best ways to do this is to take on managerial tasks. As an employee you can bring forward ideas to improve, but sometimes you lack the knowhow and planning or ability to get those ideas to fruition. Taking on responsibility within the workplace means that your ideas may have more support backing them because you have proven yourself already as trustworthy.
No management position can or should be taken on without at least some additional training. The fastest way to burn out is to take on jobs that there is no support or training for. Now, not every job is written out perfectly for you. Some positions may not even exist yet! But you should know how to problem solve, know your limitations, who to go to for support and who can confirm your plans as worth expanding on. Not finding/knowing enough information and not communicating enough are the two biggest hurdles that cause management placements to fail. Always ask questions if you are in doubt. Always ask for someone to check over your plans and ideas before putting them into action. Having a review of your work is the best way to build up self confidence and know that you are headed in the right direction as well as meeting the expectations that are set out for you.
Management may be a scary word in our industry, but it should not be. Maybe you are already taking on management tasks right now and did not even know it!