First week as a Relief Veterinarian!

Published on 15 July 2022 at 21:53

I will admit, I was worried how things would go. I am a person who loves consistency and repetition.  Transitioning from working in the same clinic to working at a variety of different clinics was a scary feeling.  

Day 1 (Gastonia, NC): I arrived at a small animal veterinary hospital. A little nervous but I was ready. I was hit with the question " Did they warn you about how we operate before sending you here?" I could feel my pupils dilate, my heartrate elevating.  As you probably know, my response was "No". They informed they operated as a walk-in clinic with no scheduled appointments. This was a little out of my norm since I previously only worked scheduled appointments before starting relief.  My internship did prepare me for this since I had scheduled days where I would be considered a "work-in" doctor and would only see walk-in visits. As much as I wanted to forget about being an intern, this is what helped me get through this location with ease. I was challenged with routine wellness, exams, sick exam, sedated procedures, one surgical procedure, and drop offs. Also, they utilize paper records. This was way out of my norm since I haven't touched a paper medical record since I was a veterinary assistant back in 2009-2015.  Although the pace was rapid, I still was able to manage my cases appropriately with the best care I could provide. The staff was also freaking amazing! The clientele is very broad range. You have clients who are willing to do the upmost gold standard or care for their pets, but also some that may not be as fortunate to provide what we consider gold standard. My internship definitely helped me here in this aspect to make sure I always had at least 2 back up plans for times like these. 


Day 2 & 3 (Charlotte, NC) : I arrived at a small animal veterinary hospital.  I received a very warm welcome from the staff. I was ready to start my day. I had fully booked appointments from 8am-5pm with a 1-hour lunch break. I was super happy to get back to electronic records. It was a great time because I was placed with 3 vet assistants to work with these days. Coming from a 16-doctor practice and typically only scheduled one assistant for the day could get very tedious at times. They were 30-minute appointments and seemed to go pretty smoothly. Even with a few that showed up 10+ minutes late for their appointment. I must say, it felt great actually getting a lunch break and not working on records, in-patient treatments, callbacks, etc and actually taking time to debrief and relax. I still ended the day on time which is a great feeling. The team overall worked great together, and they constantly mentioned how thankful they were having me help during these times. The culture of this hospital and clients are very different from my first day.  


Day 4 (Charlotte, NC) : I arrived at a small animal clinic.  I was welcomed by the staff that I would be working with.  Scheduling was great. I had time to catch up with records if needed. No appointment was rushed to get into the next appointment. I was able to provide great client education to owners. Lunch time was blocked off which was great. I decided to go out and get some tacos, I forgot the name of the location, but they were delicious. Finished the afternoon with booked appointments but still completed everything early for the day. The culture of this hospital and clients had very close resemblance as day 2&3.


Thoughts: I love how each clinic is different. Every clinic has things I feel would be better or more beneficial. But also, every clinic has great aspects I love.  It's great feeling involved with cases that may need additional attention.  I love that I get out on time or at least at a decent hour in the day. Being stuck in the clinic for 2-3 hours after you have worked 10 hours to catch up on records is not ideal. I refrain from taking work at home so my records will always be completed before I leave.  There is also a big learning curve with cost of procedures as well.  Coming from a clinic where a routine dog spay is roughly at minimum $800, there are other locations around offering <$500. Or when I am making a dental estimate for a client and seeing an extraction of a PM4 being around $150-200 (cleaning + extraction) was shocking. Typically, I am used to it being closer to $1K. It has been a great week and looking forward to continued growth and development of my future career as a relief veterinarian. 

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