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Eliminate Frustration. Install “First Five” Staff Training Process

iVET360, a company that helps improve veterinary hospital operations, is sharing a staff training tool that has been successful with veterinary hospitals across the United States. By sharing this tool, iVET360 hopes to streamline training processes and reduce the stress that comes with staff training.

Staff training is often a long, arduous process, and many hospitals struggle to get all of their staff members on the same page. Usually, one or two people know the “right” way to do things, and everyone else creates their own shortcuts. Then, new people are trained with these shortcuts instead of the actual protocols, and they create their own shortcuts. Soon, everyone is doing the same procedure many different ways, which leads to mistakes, miscommunications and all around frustration.

iVET360’s training process, known as “First Five” staff training, eliminates that frustration. Using this process, hospital management can ensure that entire departments or teams all understand hospital procedures at the same level.

Here is how iVET360’s staff development experts suggest implementing the First Five process:

  1. First, locate a training checklist that accurately summarizes the skills needed in a particular department.
  2. From that list, choose the five items that you want your team to know well first. These could be the first five items any new hire should learn, or they could be five misunderstood protocols that are causing your team the most headaches right now.
  3. With the supervisor of the department, identify the “right” way to perform those five tasks. You don’t necessarily need to write these down as “protocols,” but you should ensure that the main trainer in the department is clear on the correct way to perform these tasks.
  4. On day one, the supervisor or assigned trainer gives each team member a full training list and explains what the First Five training tasks are. The team is given two weeks to prove to their supervisor or assigned trainer that they are able to complete the tasks the “right” way. Supervisors check off staff members once they have shown they can complete the tasks.
  5. On day seven, the leadership team identifies the next five (“Second Five”) items to be trained and spends the week determining the “right” way to perform those tasks.
  6. On day 14, the Second Five tasks are rolled out to the staff, and they again are given two weeks to prove they can complete those tasks the “right” way. Supervisors check off staff members once they have shown they can complete the tasks properly.

This process continues until you have covered all items on your training checklist.

Keep the following in mind while implementing this process:

  • Team members who prove they can complete tasks should be expected to perform those tasks properly moving forward. As soon as your team has been trained on a group of protocols, you can hold them accountable for those items. By planning ahead, you can immediately solve training issues that are causing mistakes or communication errors in your practice.
  • Don’t be a mom! Once the “First Five” groups are rolled out to the team, it is each team member’s responsibility to have their supervisor watch them perform tasks and have the tasks checked off. Don’t remind people to have their tasks checked off. If they choose not to get their tasks checked off, their supervisor should hold them accountable.

“The old training practice of handing out a list and telling people how to do things does not work anymore,” says Heather Romano, iVET360’s managing director of staff development. “The staff loses interest, and the supervisors get overwhelmed trying to track who needs to learn what.” Using the “First Five” process, your team can be trained up in “chunks,” Romano says, which streamlines learning for the team and makes training more manageable for the supervisors.

iVET360 provides comprehensive marketing, staff development and data analytics solutions for independently owned, primary care veterinary hospitals across the nation. For more information about iVET360’s services or to register for their free monthly webinar, please visit their website at

About iVET360:
Established in 2013 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, iVET360 is a practice management services company that provides critical support to veterinary hospitals across the nation. Their specialists educate and assist veterinary practices with marketing, staff development and analytics to ensure complete implementation of proven business strategies into the daily activities of the hospital.

For media inquiries and media interview requests, please contact our public relations firm at 503.765.6360 or [email protected].