We have been living and working in this pandemic for a full two years. In that time, our staff has worked through what seems like an insurmountable number of changes. What practice teams have done for the safety of their clients and patients as well as themselves has been nothing short of inspiring. Change after change, they have kept their main goal in sight: to provide quality care for their communities’ pets.
Within the first six months of the pandemic, we saw our teams identify the best way to be present, provide care, and carry out important changes, such as providing curbside appointments, remote work, and diving into telemedicine. Now, we enter another chapter of the pandemic, where our team members are taking all of the lessons learned and redirecting them into positive changes.
Melanie Mills, Hospital Manager at Weymouth Landing Cat Clinic appropriately references this time as the “COVID storm”. As it wears on instead of being beaten down, her team has come together to raise each other up. As a practice, they have bounced back and forth between curbside and hybrid in-person. Taking it all in stride, Melanie says “the ‘new normal’ is that nothing ever stays the same.” The difference now, is that the team has the experience and confidence to be nimble and continue to provide quality care no matter what the circumstances.
Dr. Kristen Stowell, who joined Elkhorn Veterinary Clinic as a new grad in 2020, credits the amazing support staff for such a smooth onboarding process while also dealing with COVID restrictions. Now two years in she notes that much, though not all, has returned to pre-pandemic life at the practice. Like many others, she has had to make last-minute adjustments. She was due to present on vaccines as part of Elkhorn's annual client education seminar, and she, along with the clients, was excited to do it in person this spring. However, as the Omnicron variant surged earlier in the year, they decided to postpone. She is looking forward to having the event in person this fall.
As a technician at Southridge Animal hospital, Simone Jordan joined VetCor in 2019 and has seven years of experience as a tech. One thing that never changed is her love for “all of the fur babies, especially [seeing] returning clients that have been with us for years and making [them] feel reassured.” In the face of changing from full curbside to hybrid in-person, Simone and the team at Southridge now see the positive of offering curbside for certain visits such as medication pick up. It is faster for the clients and they are able to keep the flow of traffic through the practice down.
Lucy Smith, Hospital Manager at Creve Coeur Animal Hospital, has seen many new faces join the team over the past two years. They have come together as one solid group to onboard new staff members, but, as is the theme of the pandemic, things have changed. Creve Coeur is now allowing in-person visits which prompted a re-training of staff who joined during curbside only. Lucy has leaned on her pre-pandemic knowledge to continually guide staff in the “new” process of in-person appointments.
There are so many stories of flexibility and adaptability across our network of practices. We are fortunate to have staff that continues to solve problems, implement new processes, and support the overall wellbeing of their teams.