New Veterinarian Resources

5 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Employers

Are you a new or graduating veterinarian?

Here are 5 questions to ask your prospective employers to help you determine which clinics will be the best fit for you!

1. How have you supported your team members’ safety and mental health during COVID-19?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have met and exceeded all standards set by the Middlesex London Health Unit, including providing access to rapid tests for our team, introducing air purification units in all exam rooms, and strict protocols for hand washing/masks. In addition to our enhanced cleaning protocols, a purification unit disinfects our buildings nightly, and we have professional cleaners provide weekly deep-cleaning of all commonly used surfaces. We also have posted our COVID-19 protocol information package in our clinics, as is required by all businesses.

We are proud to say that, with a team of over 50 people, we have not had any COVID-19 outbreaks linked to the workplace throughout the entire pandemic so far.

However, we understand that workplace safety goes beyond just reducing transmission of disease. We have always prioritized mental health and this commitment continues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We provide:
• Access to PeopleConnect online therapy for all our team members
• Communication spots throughout the day to allow our team to catch up as needed during the increased demands of the pandemic
• Live chat and video streaming technology for exams to reduce phone calls (when providing curbside service)
• 5 paid days off annually (for sick days, mental health days, family emergencies, etc. as you see fit) with flexibility for additional time off as needed
• A supportive team environment where mental health is discussed and proactive measures encouraged (support is always available from management with mental health first aid training as well as volunteer experience in the mental health sector)
• Monthly check-ins to address “highs and lows”, allowing us to celebrate successes as a team and to come together over tough situations
• A zero tolerance policy for rude or abusive behaviour towards our team members
• A designated Human Resource professional to address any concerns and to ensure our team members are fairly represented

2. Do you perform regular evaluations/performance reviews? How do you provide feedback and recognition?

Yes, at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic, we provide regular performance discussions and have systems in place to ensure that our team members are recognized and heard.

Performance discussions happen three times per year for full-time team members. Prior to a performance discussion, the team member fills out a self-evaluation survey. This allows the individual to share their own positive contributions, areas of opportunity for improvement, and goals for both the short and long-term. They are also asked to identify ways in which Neighbourhood Pet Clinic can improve their satisfaction in their role.

During the performance discussion, Brent and/or Alec summarize the self-evaluation as well as feedback submitted anonymously from the team. Performance discussions are intended as a way to ensure our team members are satisfied, supported, and always moving forward, therefore, performance discussions are not linked to pay increases (regular pay increases are scheduled for the spring of each year and are reflective of both inflation and the individual’s merit).

Additionally, we have recognition boxes throughout our clinics for team members to highlight the achievements and contributions of their peers. The submissions are collected weekly, signed and acknowledged by Brent, and mailed to the recipient. We also specifically celebrate each role at our clinic during one month of the year. For example, September is “DVM Appreciation Month”, during which we place a special emphasis on rewarding them for their contributions to our team.

3. What will be expected of me immediately?

As a new DVM, you will start out doing appointments together with Alec, our Medical Director. You will not be expected to do appointments on your own immediately upon joining our team. Only once you feel comfortable, will you be paired with a strong and experienced veterinary technician for appointments. Our appointments are 30-minutes long and we utilize our veterinary technicians to their full abilities, so that our veterinarians can focus on the medicine and care that only they can provide during exams.

You will be mentored through all your reproductive surgeries until you are comfortable performing them independently. We schedule these surgeries to accommodate an expected slower pace upon joining our team.

Once you are completely confident, we give our veterinarians the autonomy to develop their own style of practicing, while ensuring that they are never on their own. Rarely, if ever, will you be the only veterinarian in the building. You also have many unique resources to assist you clinically, such as our own in-house diagnostic imaging consultant. Collaborating on cases is a daily occurrence at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic and truly allows us to practice better medicine!

When it comes to managing your schedule, we reserve a generous number of emergency (same-day) and urgent care (day-of or day-before) appointments. We also block off time in our schedule for communication spots, which allow our medical team to catch up throughout the day. As a result, we rarely, if ever, have to double-book, and only at the approval of the medical team working that day.

We do not expect our veterinarians to stay late and carefully schedule to avoid this from happening whenever possible. In fact, on Fridays, our medical team leaves early. Our veterinarians work 38-44 hours on a predictable, regular rotating schedule with no on-call duties.

4. How long have the current team members been at your practice? And how many of your new hires leave within the first 90 days?

Our team has almost doubled in size over the last year! Currently, out of the 65 people on our team:
• 31 have joined us within the last year (this number reflects significant growth and a practice acquisition; we started 2021 with 37 people!)
• 20 have been with Neighbourhood Pet Clinic for between 1 and 4 years
• and 14 have been with us for more than 5 years

It is extremely rare for a person (in any role) to leave us during the first 90 days. We have a thorough onboarding process for all team members and a performance discussion after the first three months to ensure that our team members are meeting our expectations, and that we are meeting theirs. We are proud of our retention rate and are always looking for ways that we can better serve our team. This is a commitment that we state in our credo, and it is one we take very seriously.

5. What makes your city a great place to live and work?

London has everything you could want or need in a big city without the commute or price tag of the GTA. Living in London means that you can live in the city and give your dog the backyard that they deserve.

For those with really big dogs who need really big yards (or for those who just prefer smaller-town living), there are also many communities just outside the city that are an easy 15 or 30-minute commute into all the amenities that London has to offer.

In London, there is truly a community for everyone to plant their roots in, whether it’s sports, theatre, entertainment, volunteering, or your religious community. Not to mention, we know about 65 pretty awesome people that are fun to see outside of work, too!

For the outdoor enthusiasts, London boasts a surprising number of parks, trails, and even a ski hill. It is also an easy and beautiful drive to the beaches of Lake Huron and Lake Erie, and close to the 401 which easily connects it to everything else that Ontario has to offer.

We love the London community and would (seriously) love to show it off to you! Send Brent an email at brent@neighbourhoodpetclinic.com and we would be thrilled to find a time to show you around.

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Complete the form below to email a message to our team. If this is an urgent situation, please call us directly at 519-649-0080.
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Three Locations + Mobile Unit Serving London, Ontario
Mailing Address: 746 Waterloo St, London Ontario N6A 3W3

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