Discover New Ways to Practice: How to Find Your Niche with Roo

Ross Zimmerman
February 5, 2024

My cat, Tyler, likes to tap his water bowl before he drinks so he can spot the ripples. This lets him know exactly where the water level is so he doesn’t dip his nose when he goes to drink. Maybe I’m just a proud cat dad, but I think that’s pretty smart. This simple test ensures he’s going to have a good experience. Similarly, one of the beautiful things about relief work is the unique opportunity to find your niche by exploring new hospitals for just one shift before jumping in full steam. 

Roo hosts a huge variety of shifts on the platform offering vets and techs many new and exciting ways to practice. And the best part — you can try them out one shift at a time with no commitment to see if you like it.

Changing your niche doesn’t have to be a non-starter 

Change is scary. That’s nothing new. Change relating to your profession is even scarier because the stakes are higher: That’s your source of your income. It’s what you spend most of your time doing. You have to be happy in your career if you want to be happy in life. 

Many technicians and veterinarians are very happy where they’re at, and many more would probably prefer not to risk change at all just out of sheer fear of looking over that precipice. That’s a terrifying leap to take. But for some, change is needed. It could be that you’re unhappy in your current hospital, maybe it’s not a good culture fit, or maybe you’re simply curious what else is out there. Or you might be curious about emergency or shelter medicine but you’ve never been able to take a peek. Until now.

For all of the above, let Roo be your guide to help you find your niche. You got this, we’ve got your back, and you have literally nothing to lose. If you try something new and don’t like it, you never have to do it again. But what if you find your calling and love it! Take a spin through our platform, read the hospital profiles, and see if anything sparks your interest. It costs nothing to look and very little just to try. In fact, you’ll actually make money doing it. Sitting on the sidelines, you may never know if there’s something out there that’s better.

Mobile vet clinics: vet med on the move

Are the bland pastel walls of your clinic getting you down? Break outside the box! Mobile Vet Clinics are exactly what they sound like: animal hospitals on wheels that make house calls. 

Mobile vet clinics typically provide small animal healthcare services to pets who get overly anxious in brick and mortar clinics and to clients who simply prefer the convenience of their pet’s healthcare coming to them. Another advantage of this type of practice is it gives vets and techs the ability to observe pets inside their homes where they’re most comfortable.

Typically, the mobile clinic will be some sort of van or truck tooled with medical equipment to mimic an exam room on wheels. Sure, operating out of the back of a vehicle has its own unique challenges as I’m sure you can imagine. And the weather has a much larger impact on this kind of clinic, which — straight up — is a really important thing to consider.       

You’ll probably see fewer appointments in a day as there will be a bit of travel time added between seeing patients. Sometimes, you’ll have to contend with the age-old dilemma of finding a place to park. You’re going to be practicing medicine back there, so it’s important you find a spot that’s safe and, ideally, level.

For vets and techs, mobile vet clinics offer a constant change of scenery and the adventure of the road. Roo hosts relief shifts for a variety of mobile vet clinics, which are some of the most popular shifts on our platform. Grab ‘em when you can — like the clinics themselves, these shifts are going fast! 

Emergency animal hospitals and emergency shifts

Want change of pace? You found it. There’s no such thing as a “normal day” in the ER. You never know what’s going to come through that door. 

Let’s just kick the elephant in the room out the door right now: You'll find emergency veterinary hospitals tend to host the highest-paying shifts on Roo’s platform, but that’s not why you should work these niche shifts.

Emergency Animal Hospitals provide critical care for animals who need help urgently. Sometimes, the ailment is sudden or unexpected, and the pet requires immediate attention. For this reason, emergency clinic hours tend to be longer (they’re often open 24/7) and frequently include weekends, nights, or holidays. Poop happens, and it happens when it happens. Someone needs to be the hero even at weird hours. However, with Roo at least, you’ll know your exact hours in advance, but that is a factor to consider if you’re thinking about making the shift to emergency medicine full-time.  

Because the stakes are so high, emergency clinics tend to prefer veterinarians and technicians with emergency experience or special skills. If you’re interested in making the transition to emergency medicine, talk to your Roo BD Rep — they may be able to help you find niche hospitals willing to teach or even mentor you. 

Roo Veterinary Technicians will have to be Tier 2 or above to work emergency shifts with some shifts requiring you be a Tier 4 ER Technician. Typically, you’ll need to move up Vet Tech Tiers with Roo to take on higher-paying emergency shifts, but it’s definitely worth it, and the skills you learn along the way will take you far in your career.  

Shelter Medicine and Non-Profit Shifts    

Roo is proud to offer a number of shelter and non-profit shifts on our platform, which help local shelters keep their doors open and intake more pets. A lot of vets and techs find these to be some of the most rewarding work on the Roo platform.

Like emergency clinics, with shelter medicine you’ll have no idea what types of cases you’re going to find each day, but what really distinguishes this veterinary niche is the lack of clients. That means you can focus entirely on animal healthcare.

Most often, relief vets and techs working shelter shifts will help with new pet intake, which means more pets in need are able to get off the streets when Roo Vets and Techs lend a paw. Shelter shifts also involve a lot of spays and neuters as those surgeries are often required and provide a huge service to the community. 

As a full-time shelter vet or tech, you’ll likely see a lot of communicable illnesses, which is an unfortunate reality of taking a lot of animals off the streets and putting them in close quarters.

If you want to learn more, check out our deep-dive on shelter shifts where we spoke with three very different California shelters on the Roo platform to give you an inside look at some of the different shapes shelter medicine can take.  

Relief to full-time: Find your perfect hospital home

Perhaps the most basic way to explore with Roo is one we do all the time without even thinking about it: trying out new hospitals. 

In the before-times, or on a plain-old traditional career path, vets and techs may have only experienced a small handful of hospitals throughout their career, sometimes even just one or two. And that’s great if you find a clinic that’s a perfect fit right away, but what if there’s something better out there?  

Relief work allows vets and techs to try a huge variety of hospitals for just one shift to find the place where they feel most at home. It’s an excellent way to job search if you’re between full-time gigs and a great way to mix things up if you just need variety. Every animal hospital practices veterinary medicine a bit differently and has things they do spectacularly. There’s a lot to be learned from hopping around taking the best of all worlds back to the practice you call home.

Furthermore, Roo can help you find a full-time home. Once you’ve landed on the right hospital, let us know using this link, and we can help you make the leap from relief to full-time!

Roo has so much to offer, and it costs nothing just to try 

As Roo Vet Mary McAllister puts it, “I can do anything for a day. It's okay if I have a poor day — I do not have to go back. I might have the time of my life!” You never know until you try, and relief work is the perfect vehicle to try all kinds of veterinary hospitals and find your niche — including hospitals that are vehicles themselves! 

There’s no better opportunity to give something new a whirl than Roo, and we’re here to support your exploration! Let us know what you want to try next, and we’ll help you acquire the skills you need to get there.

Related resources

More from Roo4You
More from Roo4You