What to Expect on Your First Day as a Relief Veterinarian

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You’ve done it! You’ve successfully landed a relief gig. What can you do in advance to make it a successful shift?

How to prepare for your first day as a relief Veterinarian

Create a cache of resources for yourself (drug calculators, reference articles, client handouts) on a Google Drive or USB drive to use at each clinic to make it easily accessible.

Bring your tools (stethoscope, bandage scissors, hemostats, penlight), and a clean change of scrubs or lab coat with a name tag so everyone can get to know you.

Look up how long it takes to get to the clinic. Set up a time to meet with the manager 15-30 minutes prior to your shift start to get a login for the computer system, get yourself set up at your workspace, and introduce yourself to your co-workers.

Paperwork you should consider bringing for your relief shift

Print off a copy of an up-to-date W-9 form and fill it out for each clinic so they can document your earned income. This should include your employer identification number (if you started your own business for relief work). Your W9 will have to be updated annually for each clinic you serve.

Create and share a general set of guidelines for how you expect to be utilized for the work - often this involves a legally binding contract that also outlines your payment structure.

Prepare a portfolio of your necessary documents to take to each shift - you should have an original copy of your active veterinary/technician license for that state, a copy of your DEA licensure (if applicable), NAN accreditation number (if applicable).

Keeping track of expenses

If purchasing lunch, coffee, etc. for the day, keep a copy of your receipt for business deduction. Keep track of mileage from your home to/from the clinic for another deduction.

Don’t forget to investigate lunch options near the clinic. Bring a water bottle, spare pens, and other things you can’t live/practice without for a day. Otherwise, know where to find them at a short notice if necessary.

During and after your first successful Veterinary relief shift

DURING the shift, record your time worked and ensure you got a full lunch break. If overtime was accrued, note that as a separate line item in your invoice to the clinic.

AFTER the shift, create an invoice for the shift including date worked, daily/hourly rate, +/- overtime and email or mail to the management and billing contact at the clinic.

Congratulations on doing all the legwork. Good luck on your upcoming shift! If you ever need help finding practices or resources for veterinary relief work, we've got you covered at Sound Vet Med.