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The Costs of Having an Understaffed Veterinary Clinic in 2019

You find your veterinary clinic understaffed but are having trouble filling positions quickly enough. The longer your clinic has open veterinary jobs, the more taxing it will become for your remaining staff, and you.

Being understaffed can lead to difficulties in all aspects of your veterinary practice. When understaffed, your other staff members have to take on a greater workload, which can lead to an increase in their stress and potential errors. It can also jeopardize your remaining staff, because the stress of picking up the slack will begin to take its toll on them and eventually, they will begin to become burned out themselves. 

While it may seem like simply paying your remaining staff overtime is the best way to go about dealing with being understaffed, this can lead to burnout that spreads throughout your entire veterinary clinic. It is much more expensive in the long run to pay overtime to fill in the gaps. The cost to replace an employee in veterinary medicine is between 50 and 75 percent of their annual salary, and this number goes up the more specialized they are in their field. So, risking losing employees to burnout because you are short-staffed is going to cost you much more in the long run than it would have been to work to keep yourself better staffed and finding replacements quickly when you lose someone.

Slowly but surely your employees will begin to lose patience with your patients, or at least their patients' humans, which can lead to you losing clients in addition to risking losing employees. Compassion fatigue will begin to settle in, and your staff may begin thinking of leaving the field altogether. Most metro areas have a large selection of veterinary clinics, so you are risking losing out on clients to other clinics if your short-staffed status is not remedied as soon as possible.

To help keep this from happening, take the time to speak with your team and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts, and ensure them that you are looking for new employees to get yourself fully staffed again. In addition to telling your team how much you appreciate their work, also take the time to show them you appreciate it. This can be done in a number of ways, including giving them gift cards, ordering in a nice lunch for the team, or even giving them additional vacation time once your new staff has been hired and trained; there are, of course, many other ways you can show them your appreciation.

If you need to find new, quality veterinary staff, you try using a veterinary staffing agency to help you. Posting your available veterinary jobs on a staffing agency website, like My Veterinary Job Board can help you find quality candidates to fill the veterinary jobs you have open in a reasonable amount of time. This can help connect you to veterinary job hunters in an efficient way that allows you to spend more time with your staff and work, and less time sifting through resumes and hoping the perfect candidate will just leap out of the pages at you.