How to Best Prepare Your Veterinary Staff for an Influx of New Patients

Posted by Des Sinkevich on August 19, 2020

Contrary to expectations, veterinary medicine has been one of the few industries to thrive - and even grow - amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. While many companies, large and small, have been forced to furlough employees or cut hiring budgets, veterinary practices have had to add new team members to handle the influx of new patients.

In addition to the number of new pet owners, the veterinary industry has also seen a boom as pet parents are home more often to keep a diligent eye on the strange behaviors of their animals. With the influx of clients - from new pet owners to those who want to ensure their companion stays as healthy as possible - well trained and skilled veterinary staff is a must to ensure your practice’s success.

veterinarian and vet tech helping patient.

Understanding the increase in veterinary appointments

Veterinary practices have remained busy throughout the pandemic, but have gotten even busier due to people taking in their first pet. With more people than ever working from home, there seems to be no better time to adopt and bond with a new animal; previously, these pet owners may have hesitated to take on a companion animal due to time constraints. Now, shelters are reportedly emptying out as more people adopt or foster pets to keep them company.

With new furry members of the family to care for, veterinary practices have seen a significant increase in patients, which has overwhelmed some practices who don’t have enough staff on hand to tackle the back to back appointments they’re seeing.

Besides an influx of new patients, existing pet owners have also added to the increase of appointments. With worry about whether or not pets are susceptible to COVID-19 and more pet owners staying at home observing their family pets, there’s been an increase in wellness visits at veterinary offices nationwide. Additionally, Trupanion, an animal health insurance company, reported a 14% increase in cat and dog members compared to the beginning of the year.

While the growth in patients and client visits is a financial boon for many practices, it also brings with it complications, including overworked veterinary staff. The solution is obvious: hire more veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians. But how can your practice ensure that the new staff joining the team will be productive, efficient, and able to confidently handle the large number of patients coming in? By investing in in-depth training and credentialing for staff members, from new employees to those who’ve been with the practice for years.

Invest in training that meets industry standards

By offering comprehensive, online training for veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians, your practice can increase how many patients you handle per day. Credentialed veterinary technicians can lend a hand by taking on wellness appointments, leaving veterinarians time to handle the more serious cases that come in. With more trained and experienced employees on hand, the practice can efficiently - and safely - deal with the increase in visits on a day-to-day basis.

Penn Foster’s Veterinary Academy offers self-paced, flexible training options for your practice that can not only help your veterinary clinic grow, but also increase the quality of care you can offer your patients. For more information on training for your veterinary staff, contact a Penn Foster training expert today.

Aside from training, there are other easy to implement solutions to help your practice prepare for and meet the demand of new clients. To learn more about how to best prepare for an influx of new patients and first time pet owners, you can access this recording of our recent webinar on the topic led by Director Emeritus of the Penn Foster Veterinary Academy, Dr. Jim Hurrell, and Melissa Supernor, Director of Learning and Development at Rarebreed Veterinary Partners.