Post-Pandemic Life for Veterinary Hospitals

Curbside service. An influx of people with more time on their hands to adopt new pets. Staff experiencing unheard-of levels of exhaustion. If you can relate to any of the above, you probably worked at a veterinary hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although there seems to finally be some light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the pandemic, veterinary hospitals might, unfortunately, continue to experience some of these pain points long into the future. 

The Veterinarian Shortage

One of the biggest challenges facing the veterinary community is the shortage of veterinarians. We are at the cusp of an older generation of veterinarians who often worked up to sixty hours a week retiring and a new generation of veterinarians graduating who prefer to work thirty or forty hours taking over. Many practices are finding they don’t have the bandwidth to serve their client loads let alone start seeing new clients.

Rural areas are hit particularly hard with this shortage; in 2021, the USDA alerted Congress that there are rural veterinary shortages in 48 states, but cities are having just as hard of a time finding doctors. According to a study from Banfield Pet Hospital, the shortage will get even worse and, by 2030, about 75,000,000 pets will not have access to the health care they need.

High Stakes and High Stress

Any kind of healthcare worker in the United States understands the extreme physical and emotional stress that comes with working in the field. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians were prone to experiencing burnout before the pandemic even started, and since it began, it has only gotten worse. If you’re running your own veterinary practice, it might seem like there will be no reprieve in the near future, but with the proper planning, you can create an environment that caters to your staff and your bottom line and attract competent, responsible people to work for you.

Make Time Off a Priority

Too often we feel that we cannot take time off without disrupting workflow for everyone else, but it is important for your entire staff to take time off to recharge. Whether you want to create a rotating company-wide vacation calendar or you let people flex time, be sure that your veterinary staff takes the time to rest. This will also serve as a huge value add to potential employees who are thinking of working at your practice.

Focus on Morale

In addition to rest, improving team morale can help you work together to navigate the difficulties of working in a veterinary hospital in modern times. Add some fun decorations to the break room or bring in lunch for your staff once a week to keep them feeling appreciated. When your staff knows they are valued, they are more likely to stick with you. Long-lasting staff can increase practice value when you are ready to sell. 

Make an Exit Strategy

If you start planning to sell your veterinary practice early, it helps you get all the necessary pieces into place long before you are even looking for a buyer. You should start figuring out what you need to do to successfully sell your practice at least 3-5 years before you are planning to leave. Planning an exit strategy can not only help you improve the day-to-day operations of your company, but it can also take some of the pressure off of you as you navigate this world of veterinary care.

At Total Practice Solutions Group, we are experts when it comes to all things buying and selling veterinary practices. Whether you are ready to sell or you want to start working on a strong exit plan, we are here to help. To learn more about our services, call 1-360-636-1228 today.

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