What Has It Been Like to be a Veterinarian During COVID-19?
As the world has had to adapt to a pandemic, so has veterinary medicine, and so too has our hospital. No one could have predicted that masks, social distancing, and curbside assistance would be at the forefront of our care. As a veterinary team, we have felt physically exhausted, emotionally strained, and mentally anxious – but hear me when I say the pandemic has also provided good with the bad.
Curbside Care and Phone Volume
Most certainly challenges have occurred – some of these you may see from your car, others have been behind the scenes. The most obvious downside has been not having your entire fur family together for the appointment. We know you miss being with your pets – and we miss seeing you! Building trust, effective communication and creating a team approach is difficult over the phone – we feel that – and we know you do as well. From the front desk staff to the veterinary assistants to us as veterinarians, our goal has been to make this process as smooth as possible. The greatest difference, and difficulty, to previously run appointments is that now we have several phone calls during each and every visit. To say our phone lines have been busy is an understatement!
Increased Appointment Requests
And on top of the new curbside care and shift to phone calls instead of in-person conversations, veterinarians and their hospitals (including Companion Animal Clinic) have seen a great increase in overall appointment requests and walk-in emergencies, especially compared to one year ago. There are many theories as to why this has happened: increase in pet adoptions, owners working virtually and better observation of their fur family members, etc. All of these are contributing factors mean that we have been busier than ever! There are many days that our staff is coming in early, staying late and giving up their lunch breaks. We know you do not see all of this, but it is our reality.
Yet as I stated above, not everything has been hard. We have seen a lot of good also grow during the pandemic. At the foundation of that has been the unity of our hospital team. Despite the obstacles, our team has been there for each other. Being able to come to work where there is teamwork, genuine kindness, and overall comradery makes each day a little bit easier.
In addition to the wonderful coworkers, there has been a beautiful growth of new kittens and puppies and adopted pets! We have had so many new fur family members added to our hospital over this past year. Being able to see families grow with a new pet, especially during a time when isolation and at-home work has been so prominent, has been a true joy! We are in veterinary medicine because we love animals, but we know that you do too! To be able to share in the excitement, joy, and laughter that each of your pets bring to your family has truly been beautiful.
So, despite having challenge after challenge thrown our way, I believe we will persevere, we will remain a team, and we will continue to offer the best care for your fur family! We want to continue to thank our clients and extended community for your trust, patience and support as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and all the changes associated with this pandemic.
– Dr. Brittany Beckner
Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.