How to Attract Quality Veterinarians and Vet Techs

Lisa Tynan
September 15, 2022

We recently reached out to three Houston-area veterinary hospitals that currently book relief shifts through Roo to discuss vet recruitment. Every clinic model has different needs, but the general consensus is that team culture is a huge part of a hospital’s success, both with their clients and with attracting high-quality veterinary talent. In the current climate, with so many clinics reaching out to veterinary staffing services for help hiring a veterinarian or vet tech, it’s vital that we take a look inward and figure out what we can do to be hospitals where people want to work.

The three practice managers we spoke with were Will Norfolk at Clear Lake City Veterinary Clinic, Erin Rice at Montrose Veterinary Clinic, and Jennifer Rames at The KAAWS Clinic. Each hospital serves a slightly different population with varied services, but all three of them use Roo to book veterinary relief.

In a few sentences, tell us what kind of clinic you manage?

Clear Lake City Veterinary Clinic—Clear Lake City Veterinary Clinic is a full-service general practice. We see a pretty equal amount of wellness and non-wellness appointments. Our Medical Director, Dr. Smith, also does surgeries and sees exotic pets!

Montrose Veterinary Clinic—I manage an AAHA accredited small animal practice located in the heart of Montrose in Houston, Texas. We are proud to offer high-quality, compassionate services for the well-being of dogs and cats from all areas of Houston. Our clinic culture focuses on growth, honesty, empathy, and successful teamwork.

The KAAWS Clinic—AAHA accredited high-volume wellness practice.

In a perfect world, if you were fully staffed, what would your staffing look like? How many vets, techs, and support staff?

CLCVC—Most days, we have one doctor with two techs, one to two tech assistants, and two CSRs. On surgery day, we have an additional doctor and an additional technician.

Montrose—I believe that efficiency does not always come in numbers. A small staff can be very efficient with the right leadership, goals, and motivation. Our clinic runs efficiently with two to three technicians per doctor, and our staff is cross-trained so that anyone can lend a hand at any time. This has a positive effect on clinic flow and ensures that patients get the quality care they need in a timely manner.

KAAWS—Three full-time DVMs and twenty support staff. We are currently a two FT DVM practice and have eighteen support staff members. We have been using Roo relief fairly significantly over the past year and a half to supplement and fill in holes for DVMs.

What does your team love most about working at your clinic?

CLCVC—Our team really is a big family that is incredibly close. While we may have our bad days or days where we annoy each other…everyone truly cares about one another. We are constantly reminded of the culture tenants from our parent company, PetWell Partners, which include “Lend Grace to Others,” “Communicate Openly and Often,” “Trust & Support your Team,” and “Every Job is Important.”

Montrose—My team has shared their thoughts with me many times as to why they love working at Montrose Veterinary Clinic. We have a poster in our hallway titled, “Why We Love Working at MVC!” where the staff has posted small notes. Some of the posts from the staff include an appreciation for the positivity, inspiration, motivation, and opportunities to learn on a daily basis.

KAAWS—We are a high-functioning diverse team where everyone has a voice that is heard and valued. Even when it comes to relief staff, I encourage and invite direct constructive feedback so that we can do and be better tomorrow than we were today.

When you’re trying to hire a veterinarian, what is the number one main attraction about working at your clinic that you highlight? How do you convince them that you’re the place to be?

CLCVC—We are extremely busy and in need of another veterinarian so if you’re reading this and are interested, please reach out! The main thing I would highlight is that we are tech-driven and have the most functional staff you could ever ask for. This allows the veterinarians to focus on their job and trust that everything is being followed through with. We are also an AAHA accredited practice, which gives us a great framework to ensure the best medicine is being practiced.

Montrose—I always highlight our positive clinic culture when describing the clinic. Work-life balance is very important, especially in this field.

KAAWS—We have a well-trained, efficient, and welcoming team of support staff that direct and manage the flow of appointments. This created an environment that allows even for first time relief DVMs to come in and provide A+ care without being stressed or overwhelmed, despite having double-booked 15-minute appointments.

How does relief fit into your model?

CLCVC—Being a part of PetWell Partners, we are fortunate to be able to utilize doctors and staff from multiple practices within our network. There are times when we are incredibly busy or our doctors need a break and we are unable to find internal coverage, which is when we rely on Roo to fill that need.

Montrose—At this time, relief has helped us out quite a bit. We are currently seeking a full-time associate, but in the meantime, relief with Roo has provided us wonderful options for professional, compassionate, high-quality veterinarians at least twice a week.

KAAWS—Recently, we began to use Roo techs to help with coverage as I encourage my support team to take time off to recharge and give themselves some self care, especially during this pandemic. This prevents the rest of the team having to cover more hours and/or be short-staffed, which would ultimately defeat the purpose. Roo relief DVMs and techs have allowed us to keep up with the high demand for veterinary care during the pandemic, remain efficient, and maintain our positive and healthy culture.

What are some things your team does to make your clinic a welcoming space, both for visiting relief staff and new permanent staff?

CLCVC—We do our best to make anyone new to the clinic feel like a part of our family. Our entire staff does their best to get to know anyone visiting, and we even have questionnaires to help us learn more about new staff members!

Montrose—Our staff is very protective of our positive clinic culture. Therefore, they always make sure to communicate openly with any new teammates or visitors to make sure all questions or concerns are addressed and that the individual feels like part of the team.

KAAWS—We invite and encourage feedback, we laugh and have fun while providing the highest level of care, we play fun and upbeat music to help keep our pace, we celebrate victories and achievements big and small, and we embrace the importance of each and every position in the practice.

If your hospital needs support, whether you're trying to hire someone full time or you need help finding relief coverage, reach out to Roo and we'll get you on the right track!

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