This is a question that is often asked when our clients are moving a long distance to a new location. It is an important question to ponder, for what makes a “good veterinarian” for one person may not exactly meet the needs of another. In light of this last statment the most accurate way to answer is to describe what we consider, here at Brockton Animal Hospital, to be the essential characteristics of a quality veterinarian.
First a doctor of any kind needs to be available and accessible to the patient. To qualify let’s ask a few questions. If I have an ill pet, how soon can I get an appointment to be seen? It is a very stressful and helpless situation to sit and stare at a sick pet while waiting even a few hours let alone several days before that pet can be attended. Similarly, once present at the hospital, is the veterinarian available to answer questions and meet the needs of you and your pet? Do you feel that the doctor is genuinely listening to your concerns and including them in his/her treatment plan? Often medical professionals get “tunnel vision” and only focus on issues that they see as most pressing. Meanwhile your concerns, though perhaps not as critical in the eyes of the vet, are equally important and need to be addressed. Is the communication clear and are you able to understand all that transpires during the visit and the subsequent hospital stay? Can you reach the doctor by phone when communication is needed and does he/she return calls punctually?
Now if we take the title of this post and expand it to ask “What Makes a Good Veterinary Practice” we need to ask all the above questions of the entire hospital staff. Responsiveness, accessibility and listening skills are all essential in providing one with a positive veterinary experience. From front office personnel, technical staff, administrative department to kennel staff everyone needs to be on the same page or you will find your experience wanting. Your needs are equally important to those of your pet. Is your pet’s problem being dealt with in keeping with your philosphy of health and wellness? Do you feel as if recommendations are made that when questioned have a “take it or leave it” quality to them. If you are interested in nutritional therapy or newer modalities such as laser or acupuncture can the doctor and the practice fulfill the needs? Does the staff at the practice seem to genuinely enjoy the pets? You would be surprised how often we hear a client say “You know I don’t think they really like animals”. This is certainly an odd comment for a veterinary hospital.
Finally, after looking at the above and deciding that the practice suits your “objective” needs does the practice convey the emotional feeling that you are searching? Is the doctor concerned, the staff compassionate and is there a caring feeling among all concerned? Though it is never easy to leave your friend and companion at the hospital you should be able to walk away feeling that you are glad your pet is in the hands of the practice you have chosen. Finally if you can say that there is no place you would rather have your pet in this time of need then you have made the right choice. In our practice we embrace questions and client participation in their pet’s health. If you better understand what the disease condition is and why we are doing what we are doing then you will be much more likely to be compliant with medications and treatments. Remember caring for your companion takes a complete team effort. We all need to do our part.