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Community Outreach: Why it should be an essential part of your veterinary practice.

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Nov 14th 2013 - By Laura Hayden, Senior Vet Nurse, VNCA Vet Nurse of the Year
Community Outreach Program

Do you have programmes in your veterinary practice that connects you to your community?

Since starting work at the Belmont Vet Centre I have strived to engage, educate and support the local community through various programs and events. This has been an invaluable program that has been extremely rewarding for the entire BVC team.

Social Media

We have achieved this through creating a strong social media presence that allows us to interact with our online community. This has been a great medium to educate on different pet health issues depending on the time of year or if we have seen a specific medical case that week. It is also a great way to show the community who we are and what we do – giving the public a behind the scenes look at all things BVC.

Client Education Nights

Another great part of our Community Outreach Program are our Client Education nights on a variety of topics from 'FLUTD', 'Arthritis' & 'Skin issues' to 'First Aid'. With strong support from industry reps we have been able to offer our clients a forum to learn about conditions that their pet may be suffering from in a client friendly manner.  These nights also give clients direct access to information from reps & concentrated learning from our team  as well as the opportunity to trial various recommended  products.

Animal Welfare Support

Animal Welfare is also an important part of what we do in clinic – with this in mind we have fostered relationships with local animal welfare groups and rescue groups to help and support them with the amazing work they do. This has materialized with the introduction of a 'Kitten adoption program' which has increased our cat client numbers, promoted esponsible pet ownership as all adoptees go to their new homes  de-sexed, micro chipped &  vaccinated,  as well as helped the local welfare group re-home the copious number of kittens that they receive during kitten season. Win win situations for everyone. We also offer support to rescue groups through discounted medical treatment and healthcare support. This gives the animal rescue groups the means to help more fur babes in need as well as opening up a database of potential clients through referrals and rehomed pets.

Community Fundraising

Another rewarding part of community outreach is the fundraising component. As a clinic we have really gone wild with raising money for various causes as well as attending various events eg. RSPCA Million Paws Walk etc. These have been great for staff morale, showing people that we have valuable information that they can easily access, getting the clinic out into the community and expanding our client base, whilst also helping worthy causes.

School Visits

School visits are also a vital part of what we do. Educating the younger generations in safe animal handling, general animal husbandry and responsible pet ownership has been a fantastic and lucrative endeavor.

Being a part of the veterinary profession gives us such an amazing platform to make a difference in so many ways – these ideas are just a fraction of what’s possible with Community Outreach Programs and I hope that I have inspired you to get involved in your local community if you aren’t already.  You will be surprised at how positive and life changing your returns can be.

Feel free to ask Laura any questions you may have about how to set up a Community Outreach programme in your veterianry practice - just add them to the comments section below.

Laura Hayden is a Senior Veterinary Nurse at Belmont Vet Centre in Geelong, Victoria.  She has been a vet nurse for 3 years, is Cert IV qualified and is currently enrolled in Diploma of Veterinary Nursing.  Her areas of speciality are Community Outreach and Client Relations.

The areas she enjoys most about her job as a vet nurse is making a difference and of course, cuddling pets!  She is the proud owner of Zeus a Jack Russell x, Jada a Staffy x and Willow a british shorthair.

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