To celebrate Vet Nurse Awareness Month, the Vet Viewer benchmarking tool has been put to work calculating the value of vet nurse consults and the impact on practice turnover. It has found that 71 percent of nurse consults are provided free, compared to 21 percent of vet consults. On average, vet nurses carry out just 6.5 percent of all practice consults. The results suggest that practices are not making the most of their nurses in terms of their ability to generate revenue. Looking to the future, there is a chance for practices to review their business model and do all they can to bounce back quickly from the impact of lockdown and social distancing. Using the skills of vet nurses more effectively could be one way to make a positive difference.
The data also shows that when practices are charging for their nurse consults (excluding anal glands, nail clips and dressing changes), the average charge is £20.53 compared with £28.90 for an equivalent veterinary surgeon consult – around 30 percent less for a nurse consult. If veterinary nurses were given the opportunity to perform more consults where appropriate, this could generate significant revenue and free up veterinary surgeon time to deal with more complex cases within their remit.
Routine services such as emptying anal glands are also charged at a lower rate if carried out by a vet nurse compared to a vet, at £14.05 when performed by a nurse, compared to £15.91 when performed by a vet. In fact, anal gland emptying is performed, on average, almost three times more often by a vet compared to a vet nurse.
Alexander Arpino, Managing Director of Vet Viewer says, “There’s a real opportunity during Vet Nurse Awareness Month, not just to celebrate vet nurses but to be really aware of what they are being allowed to do within the bounds of practice protocols, compared to what they are capable of doing. Practices can value the skills of veterinary nurses more and charge accordingly. By acting at a level commensurate with their skills, veterinary nurses are more likely to feel truly appreciated and motivated. It also means that, in turn, they can be rewarded for their financial contribution to practice profits.”
While the impact of COVID-19 is still being felt by the profession, Vet Viewer is asking for practices to send their practice data in weekly. The benchmarking tool intends to generate anonymous nationwide data to chart what is being done to help maintain practice revenue and identify the pace of recovery when lockdown starts to lift. Practices that are not part of the Vet Viewer programme can join at any point. The service, which is completely free, allows them to evaluate their own practice data across a number of parameters and compare it to regional and national benchmarks, with complete anonymity for any business that takes part. To find out more visit Vet Viewer’s website.