The Higher the Volume, the More Quality is Sacrificed

16 Sep

Yeah, I said it.  I’m a big believer in that statement.  In all areas:  The more time you spend exercising, the less time there is for studying.  The more you work on your car, the less time you’re spending with the family.  The more kids you have, the less quality time each one of those kids is allotted.  More clients that come in the door means less time for each individual animal.

I especially, think it’s true that quality of care begins to suffer when you can not, will not, or do not say no to people.  I’m talking about work at a vet hospital now.  People want an appointment on the same day they call, with all the high quality service and care available–and for free if they can get it.  That does NOT mean they should be accommodated on all those fronts.

I’m worried that saying anything about this makes people perceive me as incompetent at my job.  Which, in most cases, is NOT true.  I work as fast as I can and do a good job at what I attempt.  I would say the only way I could work any faster is to get to work an hour earlier earlier then I already do, take NO lunch at all, and stay late.  Which would stress me out!  I would hate that a lot.  I have many skills.  I really, don’t have to type all of them out for you.  If I did not have an appropriate skill set, I would not have gotten so many jobs at small animal private practices.  And I would not have kept those jobs.

It seems there is scuttle on all sides of my current job that people want MORE patients to care for:  The book-keeper implicitly states this by never saying no to anyone.  No matter how busy the schedule, how overwhelmed she (and we) feels, or whether it’s a never-seen-before client without money–they get in that same day most times.  The main receptionist wants concurrent tech appointments with the vet appointments, and the brand new assistant wants to do higher difficulty skills such as cystos and intibations (I don’t know how to spell that, obviously).

I feel like instead of trying to get MORE people in the door to our small-staffed, and limited size hospital, we should focus instead on improving our current standards of care.  We can always be better at we we are doing NOW.  And be better about the computer and maintenance items.  When we do not completely bleach out isolation, surgery, or possibly contagious cat areas EVERY time, I don’t think we should be bringing in MORE clients.  When we do not make confirmation phone calls, send welcome letters to new clients, and have all the inventory codes fixed in the computer system, I don’t think we should try to double book people.  When one person is trying to keep up on inventory, one on all the book-work, and the vets can’t keep their pile of doom–write ups and phone calls to a minimum–I don’t think we should add more volume to it.  It’s not that we currently do a BAD job.  But certainly things can be better, run more smoothly, and the standard of care can always be raised.  Always.

Plus, logistically, we could barely do any more then we already anyway.  Just for space issues alone: 2 exam rooms, 19 kennels (IF we rearranged 6 of them), one treatment table.  Getting more people in there would just be. . .  Worse.

Anyway, no matter my skills as an assistant–or I would dare say no matter the skills if even an LVT–we are not vets.  There is a reason vets have to maintain a license to practice.  The states set up education and career standards for good reason as well.  Vet school curriculum teaches and tests certain areas for the same well-thought reasons.  I don’t really think we techs/assistants should be doing the highly skilled tasks.  Confidence does not equate to skill.  And confidence does not automatically equal actual knowledge.  I (and the clients) like a very personally invested veterinarian who takes the time to look at even non-critical cases that do not specifically require their license.  It’s called personalized care–and that’s one of the best things about the veterinary field.  But you get a higher volume that emphasizes speed and business over the personal touch, and it turns to Banfield in a hurry.

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