Today during surgery, an employee of mine was telling me about her previous experience working for one of the big corporate veterinary hospital chains. Her story is similar to a million others I have heard and in some cases, witnessed personally myself; business bastardizing the practice of veterinary medicine and mandating that veterinary support staff rigorously sell, intentionally misinform, and compromise their morals towards customers at the risk of being terminated by their employer if they fail to comply. This employee was told to falsely advertise, promote, and encourage “health plans” to customers, that were essentially lost leaders of misperception and increased cost (not savings). Furthermore, the worst part of the deal was in the fine print of the contract that the customer was required to sign. By signing, it locked the customer into being further exploited for an extended period of time without any recourse or escape. The employee was instructed just to sell the plan and not discuss or point out the fine print (all of the contractual obligations) to anyone. She chose instead to highlight the fine print and encourage careful review of the plan’s details by the customers, so that they might make a fully informed decision about their purchasing options. Eventually, she was unfairly terminated for being honest and forthright to the customers and despite having to undergo three trials in an attempt to block her deserved unemployment pay, she was finally found to be innocent of any crime, delinquency, or misdoings.
This is the type of employee that I have always preferred to have on my hospital team. Such an employee strengthens a hospital by acting for the betterment of all. Supporting, encouraging, and nurturing honesty, integrity, and empathy works in every direction. It isn’t too much to ask of anyone and it saddens me that so many see such an approach from an employee as an inconvenience or a negative character trait. No one is perfect and stones can be cast in any direction, but I want those truly trying; those fighting the good fight for everyone; those that believe it doesn’t have to be “us against them”, by my side, on my staff, and you should want them by your side too.
I am proud of the character of my entire staff and proud of the profound uniqueness of VCC in many regards. It is truly a special place that operates far beyond the expected and tolerated norm. I also do dearly appreciate all of our customers who know and get what I mean without any further explanation. It takes “special” to know “special.” These special customers give us the strength, hope, and faith to believe in ourselves, in others, and the amazing accomplishments that we can attain by continuing to work together in such “special” ways.
Dr. Cribb 2016