Modern veterinary practices consist of multiple professions/occupations, often spread over multiple branches. Within these teams are identifiable ‘key people’ who are central to information and resource flow. Key people are frequently the appointed leaders, such as practice managers, but also include emergent leaders. Veterinary surgeons are commonly involved in the flow of higher order interactions such as problem solving, while administrators are often involved in information interactions. These key people are repeatedly boundary spanners, sharing resources across physical boundaries such as branches. Their marginal status (belonging to multiple groups) also allows them to interact across professional boundaries. Lower order interactions including asking for information and advice are often interprofessional; however, higher order interactions tend to be intraprofessional. Analysis of interaction reciprocity between professions demonstrated the prevalence of a profession based hierarchy, with veterinary surgeons at the top. Being social outside of work with a colleague is also linked to work based interactions. The results of this paper demonstrate the need for practices to consider key people and support them appropriately. Further to this, they suggest that, to promote an effective team, interactions should be based on experience as much as professional status, and that social interactions should be encouraged.
- Practice management
- Clinical practice
- Companion animals
- Farm animals
- Accepted September 29, 2015.
- British Veterinary Association
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