An Open Letter to Our Clients & Friends
Dear Clients & Friends,
We all thought that getting through 2020 was the hardest part of the COVID pandemic, but in many ways for the veterinary industry, 2021 has been the most challenging year we've ever been through.
Unprecedented demand for veterinary care combined with a nationwide shortage of DVMs and Certified Veterinary Technicians, plus a huge outflow of professionals from the field due to compassion fatigue, higher pay and a better work-life balance in other non-veterinary fields has led to an incredible amount of stress not only for those of us still working tirelessly to serve patients and their families, but also YOU, the pet parents who rely on us for quality medical care.
Long wait times for appointments, a shortage of Urgent & Emergency care and a lot of clinics (including us) having to stop accepting new clients, has become the new norm. No one thinks this is a good thing, but the reality is that it’s not likely to change dramatically anytime soon.
We want to let you know that we understand your frustration as a pet parent, and we feel it too. It is hard to have to say “no” so many times each day when we can’t get your pet scheduled for an appointment for another week or two, especially if they’re sick. We have pets at home that we adore too, and we know that when they need care, being able to help them is of critical importance. It’s exhausting when no matter how hard you work each day, you still can’t see all the animals who need you. No one ever saw any of this coming or thought that having a fully booked scheduled every single day, month after month, would be a bad thing.
So, what are we doing to try to help the situation?
First and foremost, we’re working to protect the staff that we DO have from becoming a statistic and burning out and leaving the field or moving to another practice just to get a change of pace. Especially our Doctors. This has meant temporarily shortening our hours, providing breaks in the day to catch up on phone calls and emails to clients, and most recently, having Tech Appointment Only Saturdays once or twice a month. Unfortunately, this means even less appointment slots, but we know that without our staff, we can’t help anyone.
Secondly, we’re actively recruiting new staff and working to train ambitious and talented newcomers in the field to help them develop their technical skills so that they can become the next generation of veterinary superstars available to care for your pet when you need us. But training and the process of gaining experience takes time. There aren’t really any cross-over skills from other fields that can make you a solid Vet Tech in a matter of weeks or even months. But we will get there.
Finally, we’re trying to be creative in finding as many ways to efficiently use our staff as possible so that we can ensure that our Doctors and Techs can spend the bulk of their time actually delivering medicine and have support staff help with other tasks. This may mean fewer call backs or emails directly from doctors or longer wait times to process prescription requests that are faxed to us from outside pharmacies such as Chewy.
We want to assure you that we are doing our best for you, our amazing clients, and we will continue to work toward resolving these issues at our clinic, and within the industry as a whole, because we LOVE what we do. We LOVE helping pets every day and being their advocates. We LOVE knowing that our work supports the Human-Animal Bond and allows families to enjoy as much time as possible with their beloved animal companions. This line of work is hard and exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking, but it is also amazing.
As we move forward and start looking ahead into 2022, we promise that we will continue to keep you posted about changes at our hospital and in our protocols and ways that we are striving to ensure that we continue to provide the highest quality medicine possible to your furry loved ones.
What can you do to help us?
We ask for understanding and patience, especially with our staff, who are not to blame for any of this. Please be kind to these hardworking professionals who do so much every day to care for our patients and who want nothing more than to help in every way they can.
If your pet is coming due for routine/wellness care, call us right away so we can work on scheduling before your pet is overdue.
Please call us at least a day ahead if you cannot make your appointment. Whenever we have a no-show, it leaves a hole in our schedule that could have been used by someone else’s pet.
Help us inform others of the situation that veterinary professionals are in by way of conversation and on social media. If you know of someone unsure of their career path, tell them about the GREAT need in veterinary medicine!
As always, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for continuing to entrust us with your animal loved one’s care and for being part of the Wauwatosa Veterinary Clinic family.
The Doctors & Staff at
Wauwatosa Veterinary Clinic & East Tosa Veterinary Clinic