It is all possible!

A Veterinary Practice that’s determined to do things differently

The Veterinary industry is facing a crisis of dissatisfaction – according to global surveys conducted within the past few years. An increase of three million “pandemic pets” has exacerbated the grueling working conditions in the industry, with higher levels of exhaustion, distress, lack of enthusiasm, signs of physical and emotional depletion all reported. More than half of veterinary nurses are leaving the profession within the first five years and 77% of veterinarians are dissatisfied with the industry. So how can we change such a significant industry crisis?

Perhaps it is one clinic at a time, one operator on the South Coast of NSW envisages a future where veterinary practices will put family, wellness and consciousness at the forefront of their business decisions. Where veterinary workplaces will support their teams to honour their individual, family and career aspirations, with no compromise of one over the other.

In 2022 the owners of Berry and Shell Cove Clinic, veterinary practices, started a profound journey to change the operations of their clinics. Feeling the very real burnout themselves, they knew in order to stay in business, they had to do something different. They started with crafting their ideal future and have begun actively changing their business and clinical operations to work towards this future.

Bryden and Sarah Krebs have started with small steps. They made the decision to close the clinics on Sundays to ensure the team have a rest day with the family. They have staggered lunchtime closures between their Shell Cove and Berry Clinics to ensure the phones are still answered but staff genuinely get time for a break. They have better resourced their administration function to ensure those all-important frontline conversations can take place, which leads to better outcomes for the client and the back of house team and they have put a flat leadership structure in place. This puts vet nurses, veterinarians and business support managers on the same level to ensure they are each heard and valued.

These small steps are beginning to have an impact, but change takes time. As every day passes and more and more decisions, actions and behaviours align with their core purpose, so the business and the team within it become stronger.

So what is the next step in their journey? They are now seeking out veterinarians and veterinary nurses who share their same vision and core values to join the team. If you are one of the thousands of experienced veterinary nurses feeling exhausted by the industry and considering a career change, or if you are one of the 1 in 10 vets who are looking for an immediate career change, we challenge you to first ask yourself these questions before making any decisions;

What does consciousness mean to you in a workplace?

When we say family and work, how should these connect?

Is wellness a priority for you? If so, what does this look like?

At their team planning day just this month, Bryden and Sarah asked their team to answer these questions. With consciousness, family and wellness core values of the business, they wanted to ensure their team and everyday practices were all in alignment.

If you are currently feeling the burnout, struggling to juggle family and work, or feeling disconnected with your chosen career, before you leave a profession you once loved, first reach out to Berry and Shell Cove Clinic, South Coast, NSW


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