It seems as though the veterinary relief industry has been positively booming throughout the last few years, and especially in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic. While other professions have seen a loss of stability, veterinarians and vet techs are finding that they are in higher demand than ever before.
With this shift of power has come an epiphany of sorts — vets and techs are understanding that they can control their own destinies, and as a result they are rightfully seeking opportunities that better suit them. For many, this means turning to the flexibility and earning potential of the relief world. And that means that hospital owners and administrators are having to navigate a new kind of veterinary staffing — the temporary kind.
So, how can your hospital become a place where people want to visit and work regularly? The good news is, you’re probably already equipped to be successful. Let’s dig into five simple steps for making your hospital as attractive as possible to veterinary relief staff.
5 steps to attract veterinary relief to your hospital
1. Be willing to be flexible
This one can be tricky, especially since clinics are at the mercy of clients, and clients need clinics to be reliable. But think of the kinds of professionals who benefit from a relief schedule. They are parents. They are students. They are semi-retired. They are people who have chosen to schedule work around their life, and not vice versa.
So, if you can find ways to insert flexibility into your needs, you’re more likely to get your relief.
What does this look like? For starters, factor school and daycare into your start and end times. Instead of asking the vet to show up at 8 a.m., maybe give them until 9:30 or 10:00 to arrive, and have them treat only wellness. Or schedule them for a half day in the afternoon, and let your resident staff breathe and catch up after a busy surgery morning.
Often, the more creative you can get with scheduling, the better.
2. Communicate early
Once you have a relief vet or tech scheduled, particularly if they’ve never worked at your clinic before, it is absolutely vital that you communicate with them before the shift.
Even simple information like where to park, what to wear, and what kind of day they have ahead of them can really help a relief professional feel more confident when they walk in your door for the first time. If you have more specific information like who they should ask for when they arrive, and what kind of software they’ll be using, be sure to share that, too.
3. Roll out the welcome wagon
Roo, a veterinary relief platform, recently polled their relief vets and techs about what their favorite hospitals did to make them feel welcome. One veterinarian was given a whole packet complete with a welcome note, software passwords, a Starbucks gift card, and a stress ball! Another vet was so grateful when the hospital she visited regularly included her in their lunch orders, and even invited her to their holiday party.
Even something as easy as a welcome message waiting on the white board can really make a visiting vet or technician feel like they’re part of the team. And speaking of the team, it always helps to alert your staff to the incoming relief visitor so they can refer to them by name and show them that they are appreciated. If you can assign one tech to be their go-to person throughout the day, that definitely makes everything go smoother.
Upon arrival, show the vet to their desk and the tech to their locker, take them on a brief tour, introduce them to everyone, and point out important details like where the staff restroom and break rooms are. Be sure they know that questions are not only welcome but encouraged.
4. Get your clients on board
We know that clients are loyal to their veterinarians. We know they have favorite techs that they trust with their precious pets. So when all that’s available to them is a relief vet or tech, it’s up to you to reassure them that they are in the best of hands.
Say things like, “We are so fortunate to have Dr. Smith with us today, you and Fluffy are just going to love her.”
5. Pay well and on time
This seems obvious enough, but so many relief professionals express frustration about invoicing hospitals and tracking down the payment that they’re owed. Pay them on time, and pay them well.
Relief vets and techs have the bonus skill of being able to drop into any hospital and be productive. They are worth every extra penny your hospital can afford. If you need an easier way to track and pay for your relief needs, online platforms like Roo offer easy-to-use management tools that take the payment responsibility off your plate.
The best part about treating your visiting relief professionals well, aside from the benefit of keeping your doors open and your patients healthy, is that you might just be able to recruit them as a full-time member of your team. Relief is the current reality of the veterinary world.
Take these simple steps and make your hospital stand out amongst the rest as a destination extraordinaire!