Two years ago, I received notice that I was a top ten finalist for Petplan’s Veterinarian of the Year Award. To be honest, I didn’t even know the contest was going on until that notification. We had opened our practice’s doors in 2009 and had been growing steadily from day one, but I had my head pretty much buried in the practice rather than the world around me. So I stopped for a second to figure out what this meant.
What the heck was the Vet of the Year Award?
I mean, self-explanatory in the title maybe, but what was the scope of this contest? It turns out that it was nationwide, sponsored by a pet insurance company that was already a front-runner in my practice for reliability amongst my clients...basically it was the real deal. Cool!
Who was I up against?
I reviewed the other nine finalists and discovered that I was the newbiest newbie ever (in my mind), with other nominated vets having multiple practices, decades of experience, and specialties. Super cool! (and intimidating)
What did this mean for my practice?
As I mentioned, we were just starting out, so the exposure could be nothing but helpful. Would it change what I did regarding pet insurance? Honestly, no. From day one we have encouraged clients to seek out pet insurance, weigh their options regarding the plans that are out there, and sign up. My clients with insurance have always been willing to do more, to catch things sooner, and come in more frequently to make sure that everything is okay...basically ideal clients. I worked emergency for years before opening my practice, and saw so many things that were catastrophic and always came down to money; clients with insurance felt more comfortable saying ‘okay’ in those situations, which meant I got to save/fix/treat those patients. Pet insurance had made sense to me then, and that carried over when we set protocols for my practice. And it still makes sense to me today.
What did this mean for me?
Well, I felt like a million bucks for a little while, all puffed up with a big ego! That didn’t last terribly long, as the day-to-day realities brought me back to earth pretty quickly. But it was very eye opening to think about my interactions with clients in our exam rooms/on the phone/through emails, that small window of time that I spend examining and explaining, and how it affects them. My clients didn’t have to take the time to nominate me, but they did. And that’s awesome. In a world where more people choose to only speak up for negative experiences, my clients took the time to write something positive. That right there is better than the award itself.
I made it to the final three contestants (I like to think I came in second, although they never officially told us the order), and I received a fancy plaque that is on display at our front desk. The whole experience was very whirlwind and exciting and a bit surreal. I look at that plaque when I’m in our reception area and I think about the clients that ‘get it’, the ones that can see how much we all care about their pets and are trying to do the right thing for them, and it makes me happy.
If you have an outstanding vet, or a favorite veterinary practice, technician or practice manager, nominate them for Petplan’s 2014 Veterinary Awards today!