Make sure to track the wellbeing of your team

September 21, 2019
Kat Burns

Kat Burns is practice manager at Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado, as well as a finalist for the 2019 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year.

She started a popular walk-in event at her veterinary hospital, but this 2019 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year finalist saw the toll it was taking.

When it comes down to it, this practice manager wanted to lend her team a helping hand instead of just pushing them harder. (Anne/stock.adobe.com)

You're reading a story from a dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year finalist

Learn more about the contest and read more from past finalists and winners at dvm360.com/pmoy.

Fixing our scheduling problem

The Humane Society of Boulder, where I'm practice manager, provides the full range of services for our clients with a business model that generates revenue to subsidize low-income clients. As our practice grew, we started facing issues where our appointment books were filled out weeks in advance. Clients would wait weeks for even preventive visits, and for more crucial procedures, like dentistry, it could take months.

A solution for clients, but at what cost?

In response, we started once-a-week walk-in hours for clients. For three hours one day a week, we took any and all comers. Within weeks, we were overflowing with patients, and even moved to a restaurant-like system where pet owners would hold pagers that buzzed when their pets were ready to be seen.

While this big effort was a huge financial boon for us, I could see the toll it was taking on my team. Despite the success, I decided to stop walk-ins for the sake of lessening the workload of my team.

It's important to say “yes” to wonderful ideas, but it's just as important to revisit them and see when that idea isn't going as planned. To support the health and wellbeing of my team, we made budgetary adjustments, revisited the way me make general appointments and made changes to mitigate the backlog of patients. This has helped to keep our flow more even and keep the team happier.

Kat Burns is practice manager at Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado, as well as a finalist for the 2019 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year.