From Eastern US — 11/22/2009
First, I have worked as a Vet Tech for the past 7.5 years. The last 3 of those years were at Banfield. I was very apprehensive about working there at first, but I had worked with the doctor that was getting a partnership there for 2 years prior and she was an AMAZING doctor and very kind and caring. That combined with the pay and benefits I was going to get, made it the best decision for me and my future. So I started working as a PetNurse. After about 3 months, I was promoted to Director of PetNursing. Basically, I was responsible for hiring and training all future PetNurses. We were full staffed, and everyone was already trained, so it really wasn't a big deal. All of us got along beautifully, and we had very few problems. Field Leadership would come visit us, rub their fingers along windowsills to check for dust and tell us to clean up more.
Gradually, things started to change. I needed to hire people. People started having issues with each other at work. I had NO TRAINING on how to deal with those things. Luckily, about that time, I was sent to the corporate offices in Oregon for Leadership Academy. It was a WONDERFUL experience. Very bonding, and a great opportunity for self discovery and improvement. It wasn't brainwashing like I thought it was going to be - it was self improvement, and training on how to deal with problems at work. I left feeling refreshed, and ready to deal with whatever happened. (Sadly, they no longer do this training in Oregon - they have leadership meetings closer to the hospital locations. Of course, this saves money, but going to the central offices and meeting the people we talk to on the phone and sharing the experience was something I will never forget.)
Anyway, after that other things started to change. I'm not sure of the exact time or whether it had to do with the hiring of a new CEO, but the focus was gradually drifting away from what's best for pets, to what's best for profits. The focus was no longer on the quality of medicine, but the MONEY we were making the company. Before, our location was told we were doing great..... high client loyalty, great profits. Not anymore. Now nothing we did was good enough. We were underperforming, losing the company money. We weren't charging the clients enough, we were spending too much on CLINIC NECESSITIES (GHP's, medications, vaccines, etc.) They took away our Dr's partnership, and she no longer had a say in how much we spent or things like that. It was all up to corporate (who, by the way, is currently made up of people who have NEVER WORKED IN VET CLINICS). They keep adding new VP's and CEO's, who have experience in Starbucks and other corporations, NOT VET CLINICS. These people have NO CLUE how to run a vet hospital, yet they are directing everything that's done there. They hire INCOMPETENT Vets and supervisors who have been blacklisted from every clinic in town (for KILLING animals in their care) yet Banfield doesn't care. They just want more money.
Now they have us spending our time filling out charts. Not medical charts - charts detailing the number of appts we have scheduled and the number of labor hours we use daily. Of course, our labor is always too high, and there are never enough appt's scheduled. Daily, we must fill these crazy things out and send them to field leadership. Our new gauge of how we are performing is APC - how much we charge per patient. They actually consider the APC to be a measure of the Quality of Care a pet is receiving. If it is under $110, we are not providing quality care. This is how the explain the meaning of APC to us -- quality of care.
Not to mention the fact their new goal is to have each hospital open all 7's ... 7 am to 7 pm , 7 days a week. Dr's work BY THEMSELVES - 12 hour days. Clusters of appointments, surgeries, at least 10 drop off's a day, not to mention the sick walk ins that come in. The doctors are actually working more like 14 hours a day. Staying until Petsmart management makes them leave at 10 pm, still trying to catch up on the notes they couldn't finish during the day, because it was back to back to back to back patients. Our doctors are burned out. They are exhausted and stressed. Both are on antidepressants because of how difficult it is to get out of bed and face another crazy day at Banfield. They spend an average of 50+ hours a week there, and it's still not good enough. We are still spending too much on supplies, and not charging enough. Corporate cannot seem to understand why we have a $800 day, followed by a $2300 day. They think each day should be consistent, each patient should be charged $110 (if not more), and each day should have an equal number of patients.
Also, I can guarantee you that someone from corporate will read this. They have people there that they pay to spy on the employees. Not to improve the care given to patients, but to hack into social networking site profiles belonging to employees.
Yes, the pay is GREAT. Pretty much the only vet clinic I've worked for that offers benefits. But half the people I met at training in Oregon have quit. The company is changing, and it's not for the good. The focus is no longer on the PETS, but on PROFIT.