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. While we strive to have sick pets seen as soon as possible, 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 are actively recruiting and training ambitious and talented newcomers to our team. Secondly, 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. And finally, 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 ending our extended ER hours, cutting back on weekend and holiday shifts, and providing breaks in the day to catch up on phone calls and emails to clients. Unfortunately, this means even less appointment slots, but we know that without our staff, we can’t help anyone. In order to combat this situation and continue to offer as many appointment slots as possible, we have decided to condense our hours so that we can more effectively staff our hospital and offer our team the support they very much need and deserve. In doing this, we will no longer be offering Emergency care after hours so that our core staff can provide increased care to our patients daily during our busiest times. Effective December 13th, our operating hours will be:
Monday 7:30am – 6:00pm
Tuesday 7:30am – 8:00pm
Wednesday 7:30am – 8:00pm
Thursday 7:30am – 8:00pm
Friday 7:30am – 6:00pm
Saturday 8:00am – 4:00pm
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.
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 NorthPaws Veterinary Center family.
The Doctors & Staff at NorthPaws Veterinary Center