At the West Boulevard Veterinary Clinic we feel it is very important to balance work and family life. If one can have personal harmony it is possible to look forward to both work and play. We cherish this profession and do our utmost to protect ourselves and the practice from “burnout”. As a result we work relatively short days, close on Sundays and take no after hours emergency calls. This is possible thanks to the Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic. We have had a wonderful working relationship with this facility for over twenty years. If we are closed they look after our clients until our veterinarians come on duty the following morning.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are our longest days. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are shorter. This system works well providing longer days for client convenience and shorter ones for staff family lives. Although we strive for structure and a general plan for each day, no day is routine at a veterinary hospital! Each day is governed by the cases that come in, so each day is different… that is both the joy and agony of veterinary medicine.
7 AM Our receptionist, opens the door and the day begins. Alarm off, music on and resident clinic cats are let out of their runs. All animals are cleaned, fed and set up for the day. The phone starts to ring and appointments are set up. The tea and coffee machines are stoked up… that is what keeps the doctors going through the day! Animals booked for surgery or technical procedures are dropped off and signed in. Laundry run the night before is folded and put away. This is a very active and often hectic part of the day!
8 AM Our technician, starts her day. Early morning medications are administered. Laboratory reports that are faxed to us overnight are organized in files and set out for the doctors to review. Emergency clinic reports are similarly dispatched. Telephones continue to ring as appointments are scheduled throughout the day. Laboratory samples are collected and packaged for pick up. The Central Veterinary Laboratory picks up lab specimens from our clinic three times each day… 9:30 AM, 2:30 PM and 8 PM. CVL processes samples around the clock. They also provide input from their Board Certified Veterinary Pathologists and Internist. Although we do some testing in clinic, the bulk of our samples are run by CVL. The technician makes certain all surgical packs are in order and sets up the Operating Room for the first surgical procedure of the day.
9 AM The veterinarians, and often their dogs, arrive. All hospitalized cases are reviewed. Medical appointments begin. Surgical cases are pre-medicated and the Operating Room procedures commence. Appointments and surgery fill the morning.
12 NOON Morning appointments are slowing down; morning appointments are slowing down and, with some luck, so is surgery. The midday slot is kept free of new cases except for Fridays when one of the doctors schedules at this time. This is catch up time! Files are completed and owners are contacted with updates. Radiographs and other day procedures are performed midday. Bookwork, ordering and receiving are unavoidable tasks that are dealt with during this time period. Each staff member takes time for lunch but we are never quite sure just when this will happen. On quiet days this midday time is wonderful… occasionally we get to go home and sit in the garden with our own pets. Balance is what life is all about.
3 PM Afternoon appointments Afternoon appointments begin and everyone is busy.
4 PM Evening rounds start Evening rounds start as the receptionist’s shift is ending. With luck she will get home in time to get in some gardening! The next shift, our student and part time staff, starts.
5 PM Afternoon appointments are slowing down and owners are coming to pick up hospitalized pets. Doctors are going over discharge instructions and administering evening medications. End of day call-backs are completed and the clinical day winds down. The receptionist pulls files for tomorrows appointments and goes home. The clinic is open for check-in , check-out and retail sales until 7 PM.
7 PM The doors are closed and clean-up begins. The days’ completed clinical files are shelved. The office is cleaned and tidied from stem to stern. The laundry is run and made ready for the coming day. The animals are cleaned, fed, tucked in and put to bed. All lights, except the bedtime dimmer lights, are turned off.
The alarm is on and the clinic sleeps.
This is the pattern we aim for. Times and schedules are not written in stone. There is always the unexpected to be dealt with. However we always take time to kiss the cats, hug the dogs and cuddle the rabbits… that is what keeps us sane.