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Doc Sez “A Day in the Life”

Sometimes it seems as if we can’t, any of us, get an appointment with a doctor when we want it. As veterinary professionals, we also struggle with scheduling to please clients/patients and get our work done successfully. The best way to explain how and why our schedule works or doesn’t work is just to give our clients an example of how the average day happens at Red Barn Veterinary Service. Somewhere in the early hours of the weekday, our office manager arrives. She will turn on the lights, open the 14 computer workstations, check animals, and get any paperwork prepared for the morning appointments. If there is time, Teri will work on some of her recordkeeping and inventory, answer early morning phone calls and check the answering system. At 7:30 AM one receptionist and one vet tech will arrive. The tech will immediately begin patient care, any morning treatments on overnight patients and will begin surgical area prep. Appropriate instrument packs are in place and sterile items are available. The surgical kennels will begin to fill with patients for anesthetic procedures dropped off by owners and kennel ward with illness exams dropped off to work in between surgeries. By 8 am, the majority of RBVS staff is in place. The veterinarians are concentrating on surgeries they will be doing; techs are administering pre-surgical pain injections, vets are doing pre-surgical exams and administering anesthesia, techs are prepping the patient and then moving into the surgery. Monitors are in place and surgeries begin. With two surgical tables, on a “three vet” day, the veterinarian not directly involved in surgery will be doing exams on hospitalized patients, shooting x-rays and doing labs on those, as well as the morning drop off appointments. There is a tech assisting each surgeon and a tech and assistant assisting the med-vet for the early morning. The reception area is busy with phone calls, scheduling appointments, assisting with patient intake and doing phone checkups on patients from preceding days. The large animal veterinarian, and two dedicated large animal assistants, are either already gone or prepping for salebarn work 3 days a week; seeing patients in the large animal barn or heading out for large scale herd work at the farms. RBVS is humming with activity! And this is all before 11 am! Usually, veterinarian appointments begin between 10 and 11 am and continue until 3 pm, when the vets take an hour (if available…remember this is the day we hope for) to catch up on medical records so that they can go home at a reasonable hour. Then appointments begin again, and patient and surgical releases begin. Techs are scheduled tech appointments throughout the day. Assistants begin the kennel cleanup, having done surgical cleanup, instrument packing and sterilizing, end-of-day patient care, and laundry through the day. But…there are on-the-fly scheduling changes. Traumatic emergencies are stabilized and hospitalized, sick patients are dropped off to work-in between surgeries and already scheduled appointments and walk-in clients, with or without pets, are patiently waiting for a veterinarian to consult with them. As you can see, our schedule will not always be uncomplicated. We try to take clients needs and patients comfort into account, but at times we may have to ask you to wait, reschedule, or drop-off for an exam rather than give you the appointment that you request. We apologize for our inability to always accommodate our client’s desires, but remember, someday (and we hope never) your pet may be the one on the surgical table or needing emergency stabilization. At that time, we hope to have our client’s understanding when the schedule goes off the rails.

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