As the Practice Manager, it’s my role to lead our team and offer support and guidance to handle any situation. Since our staff is now separated into groups and I’m confined to the office where I have to read emails or take calls from staff instead of handling things in person, I rarely get to talk face-to-face with anyone outside my office while masked and maintaining social distancing. I won’t lie, this is the ultimate leadership challenge when I can’t be there for our team members in my usual way, but I can tell you about how they are stepping up and dealing with this crisis like rock stars.
Despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, the staff at our three Dundee Animal Hospital locations are still hard at work providing our pet patients with the best in medical care. At each of our locations, however, we are working with 50% of our usual staff to try and minimize risk and keep our team members working as safely as possible with the limited amount of personal protective equipment we have. Because of this “new normal”, the hours and shifts are increasingly difficult and the importance of being patient and kind with each other is now more important than ever. Our goal is to remain open so we can continue “caring for your best friend”, but it has not come without some challenges.
Our technicians and assistants are not only performing their busy regular duties of treating patients, filling medications and assisting doctors with exams and procedures, they’re also now responsible for ushering pet patients in and out of the hospital for curbside-only appointments and taking down your pet’s health information from a safe distance. Our technicians and assistants are doing all they can to maintain a positive attitude in the midst of this fear and chaos because they love what they do and enjoy caring for your pets, so we thank you for your patience!
Our amazing client service team is doing their absolute best to uphold our high standards of communication despite increased call volume. Nobody likes to be put on hold, and we apologize for the frustration of having to wait after multiple rings to get through. Please know that our client service team is doing everything they can to get to you as soon as possible, but they may be delayed discussing something with another client or taking a message for a doctor. Phone check-ins and check-outs take much longer- our client service team would much rather be seeing and taking care of you in person than having to ask for your car’s make and model or taking manual credit card payments over the phone.
Our veterinarians continue to provide the best in medical care for your pets, all while performing appointments in a way they never imagined. They have to communicate with you via phone and hope that everything gets addressed in one call because they’re also fielding additional calls from other pet parents with questions they’ve never had before. They’re staying late to finish records and skipping lunches to return calls just to try and keep up with the additional workflow caused by new protocols and procedures. They’re having to email instructions and deliver bad news over the phone; both things they’d normally be doing with you in person, which is difficult. The hardest are the euthanasias- our doctors want to reach out and provide comfort to grieving families when it’s most needed, but right now, they can only do so from a distance. We can only hope that the look in their eyes above the mask conveys just how much they care and how very sorry they are for your loss.
We appreciate your kindness and patience with all of our team members as we deal with these obstacles and challenges. We know how very important the human-animal bond is for our pet parents, and these temporary protocols have been difficult for all of us. However, with everyone’s understanding and support, we will be able to get through this together!