When I first joined IndeVets three years ago, I wasn’t exactly sure what my shift schedule would look like or even what I wanted it to look like just yet. Like any job, there is uncertainty, especially in the beginning. What I did know was that I needed a change from the typical associate role. My life from when I first graduated veterinary school to where I was then had changed significantly; thus, my career needed to evolve, too.
Did I want to work at various practices all the time with no consistency? Honestly, that idea scared me. What would happen to continuity of care? Did I want to commit entirely to being an associate at one clinic? No, and for several reasons – I was a new mom, in the middle of moving houses, and how could I gauge hospital culture and fit based on a half–day clinic interview?
After taking shifts at as many partner hospitals as possible in the first month, I narrowed my list down to the clinics I truly enjoyed working at. I naturally started to connect with the clinics and their teams, and they added more shifts that fit my schedule. Like many other Associate IndeVets at that time, I was beginning to make informal, long-term commitments to many hospitals just by picking up shifts with a regular cadence. I could help them one or more days a week and develop relationships with their clients, patients, and hospital staff. I felt like I even had a “home base clinic” with associates and technicians I could collaborate with and learn from in person. This was a great resource in addition to my virtual collaboration with the other IndeVets on our private online chat.
I felt then (and still do now) that I had achieved the “best of both worlds” – I was almost an associate but with the magical boundary of still being an employee of IndeVets. I could watch puppies and kittens grow through vaccine visits, follow up on complicated cases, and reassure a client that I would be there weekly to check-in. But because I was an IndeVet, my days off remained my own – free from being contacted by a clinic, writing records, or doing callbacks. All IndeVets do their best to set up the partner clinic associates for success through detailed records and rounding them on cases if possible. I also didn’t get too involved with hospital politics (though who doesn’t love to hear a juicy story occasionally) and felt comfortable bringing my own pets to these clinics for medical needs. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have had this experience with multiple partner hospitals.
IndeVets now makes this scenario a formal option for all their associates in what is called the “Long Term Placement.”
A “Long Term Placement” or “LTP” is a weekly shift commitment to one partner clinic for 13 weeks. Doctors work out with the clinics which day of the week and shift time works best for both. Our associates can easily submit an LTP request through the IndeVets App, and there are options to add incentives like extra pay through a clinic’s promoted shift and paid travel. If we cannot work one of the committed days, we can offer another day in that week as a replacement or add an extra day at the end of the 13 weeks. Doctors can have one or multiple LTPs simultaneously, and they can be for exams, urgent care, or surgery shifts. After an IndeVet completes their LTP, they receive an additional monetary bonus and can choose to renew their commitment or not – no questions asked!
So many of our Associate IndeVets have set up long-term placements at clinics they love, and the relationship is mutually beneficial! A clinic knows they will have a consistent doctor on a particular day of the week for three months, allowing them to book further in advance confidently. And our doctors get to continue creating meaningful relationships and rechecking their patients. As continual learners, we know that following through on our cases is one of the best ways to learn and grow clinically.
Many of us want flexibility and variety in our veterinary career, but too much can be daunting and overwhelming. We like a little stability and comfort mixed in there as well. The Long Term Placement option does just this for our Associate IndeVets, and I am thrilled to have had one for almost two years now!