What to Expect When You're Expecting a Relief Doctor - Vet Relief Staffing | Veterinary System Services
Relief Veterinarian

What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Relief Doctor

Your doctor is taking a much needed vacation in a few weeks, and you have a new doctor coming in to cover appointments the next few days. It’s the first time in a few years that Dr. Smith will not be seeing patients. How do you prepare? What should you tell your clients who call to schedule appointments? What if this relief doctor doesn’t practice medicine like Dr. Smith?

These are all legitimate concerns and questions that come up. VSS would like to put your mind at ease. We have a thorough vetting process for all the DVMs we hire. We start with our interview process; we’re looking for excellent communications skills, a high standard of care and can-do attitude. These are at the top of the list of requirements for our candidates. We also complete a thorough background check. This screening goes beyond standard state and federal criminal checks. We check workers’ comp claims, civil litigations, criminal histories and animal welfare charges in other states. Our doctors are also tested at a 3rd party lab for veterinary specific controlled substances. This assures that your drugs are used only for the benefit of your patients. 

What should you expect when one of our doctors comes in for the day? Our doctors are professional, compassionate, and are ready to hit the ground running. Our clients enjoy having our doctors in their hospital, and love having the peace of mind that their clients and patients are in good hands while they’re away.  A pre-shift meet and greet is a great way to get to know our doctors before they walk in the door for their shift.  It gives you a chance to talk about hospital policies and procedures, get them familiar with how your practice runs, introduce them to staff and give a tour of the facility. Meet and greets assure that everyone is prepared for the day. It’s always a concern that everyone practices medicine differently, but when it comes down to it, vaccine protocols are generally similar, antibiotic protocols are fairly standard, and a laceration repair is typically a laceration repair. Maybe you run your appointments a certain way, no problem, just mention the protocol at the meet and greet. Maybe Doctor Lee likes a 25 gauge needle for her cat vaccines but you prefer a 22 gauge. No big deal, communication here is key. 

When clients call to schedule, it can make them nervous to be seeing a different doctor, especially if they’ve been a client for years. The confidence your clients have in your doctors is something to take pride in. The caseload of the relief vet falls completely on the front desk staff of the hospital. They are, after all, the gatekeepers, and without them, things would be chaos.  Keep in mind, if they downplay the covering doctor, clients will assume that they aren’t competent and that they should just wait until Doctor Smith returns. Make sure your staff assures clients that you are excited to have Dr. Lee covering for the day. Afterall, you are paying to have the doctor on staff for the day, and they would rather work hard. The last thing they want is to have your bottom line be in the red while they’re on the job. 

VSS is here to provide competent staff to make sure your practice runs smoothly while you’re away. Thoroughly vetting our employees ensures that only the best are entering your facility. Meet and greets are the best way to get everyone on the same page.  This also helps to get our doctors familiar with your facility, and involves your staff, (do they have any questions for the doctor?). Having your staff involved in the meet and greets is a great way for them to be comfortable with who is coming in and to build everyone’s confidence. 

Resource: https://www.dvm360.com/view/support-your-sub

Leslie is an account manager with VSS and a Certified Veterinary Technician. Originally from Wisconsin, she moved to Colorado with her husband to enjoy all things outdoors. When not at work, she enjoys backpacking with her dog Malcom, downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and – like any Wisconsin native – beer. Professionally she has an interest in small animal nutrition, anesthesia and title protection for CVTs.