“Working for PetIQ allows a veterinarian the opportunity to craft an amazing work-life balance. I love what I do, but I also have time to love other things too,” said Dr. Roebuck, District Medical Director at PetIQ.
PetIQ’s Dr. Jessica Roebuck explains how PetIQ’s model of delivering veterinary services helps improve work-life balance so veterinarians can love what they do.
How did you get started working with PetIQ?
Before veterinary school, I thought I was going to be James Herriot and work as a mixed animal practitioner. I wanted to be a traveling large animal veterinarian and see all sorts of different cases. However, once I was in my clinical year of school I realized how physically demanding that sort of work can be. I have nothing but respect for those who work as mixed animal veterinarians, but I wasn’t sure if it would afford me a good work-life balance and allow me to pursue my other interests.
I started to think about other opportunities in the veterinary field, and I did an externship with the USDA. While meeting with many of the veterinarians who work for the USDA, I kept hearing them mention these “community clinics” where they would work on the weekends – not only to make extra money, but also to maintain their clinical skills.
That planted the seed. Once I graduated, I was waiting for my USDA application to process and I started working the VIP Petcare Community Clinics on the weekends. To my surprise, I fell in love with the work! I reached out to the company to see if there were any opportunities for full-time employment, and I was hired to work in the first Wellness Center that opened in Virginia.
The clinic was busy and successful from day one, and I have pursued every opportunity to engage with and support the company as we grow and expand. I joined the Medical Advisory Council and the Marketing Committee, and I am also a District Medical Director for Wellness Centers in seven states. I love what I do!
What are all the different opportunities for veterinarians at PetIQ?
You can pick exactly what you want to do and how much you want to work. What sort of work-life balance do you want? You can work full-time in a Wellness Center. You can work part-time in a Wellness Center. You can work in the Community Clinics and just pick up contract shifts. You can even work full-time in a Wellness Center and continue to pick up Community Clinic shifts to make extra money.
For example, we don’t do surgeries in our Wellness Centers. If surgery is your passion, you could still work full-time for us, but you have the flexibility to work in a different clinic as well. You could spend one day a week doing surgeries at the local shelter.
If you love ER, there’s nothing that prevents you from doing relief work in an ER clinic. If you love large animal medicine, you can still maintain a large animal medical practice or equine medical practice on the side. There’s room at PetIQ to do that, even if you are working full-time or part-time in our Wellness Centers. It gives you the flexibility to craft your perfect career – and your dream life.
What is the advantage of the PetIQ Wellness Center and Community Clinic model for pets and pet parents?
We are extremely convenient! Our clinics are walk-in only, and we provide a wide variety of wellness and preventive care – from vaccines to heartworm testing to microchips. At our Wellness Centers, we can also treat minor illnesses. We don’t do surgeries and we don’t do emergencies, but we can make recommendations for owners who need those services.
We see a wide variety of cases. Some of our pet parents maintain a relationship with their full-service veterinary clinic, but they just need something done quickly – a rabies or flu vaccine so the pet can be boarded, for example. Or the pet has an ear infection and there is a long wait time to get in with their full-service veterinarian. We can provide those services.
Sometimes a pet parent brings us a pet and the care required is outside the scope of our services. We still take the time to examine the pet, discuss options and provide resources for the pet parent. We provide a high standard of excellent medicine within the scope of our services, and it is a burgeoning niche in the veterinary field.
What are the advantages of this structure for the veterinarians?
For the veterinarians, the variety of pets and pet parents keeps things fun and interesting. You must stay on your toes since there are no appointments, and you never know what’s going to walk in the door.
However, since we do outpatient care only – no surgeries and no emergencies – there’s no on-call. When you’re in the clinic, you focus on your patients and you do great work. But once you leave the clinic for the day, you are done for the day. It allows a wonderful work-life balance.
What’s is the difference between a Community Clinic and a Wellness Center?
The Community Clinics are mobile vans that drive to different retail partner locations – usually 2 or 3 – in the course of a day. The veterinarian arrives at each location and works with the team driving the rig to provide wellness and preventive care services like vaccines, microchips, heartworm testing and nail trims.
The Wellness Centers are brick-and-mortar locations inside different retail partners. You work inside the Wellness Center for the day and see anything that comes in the door (if it’s within our scope of services). We can provide a wider array of services in the Wellness Centers and we have more diagnostic capabilities – a microscope, a refractometer, an otoscope, an ophthalmoscope, etc. – and we can send bloodwork to the lab for analysis. We can see minor illnesses like ear infections, allergies, minor gastrointestinal issues or uncomplicated urinary cases. We can treat issues that do not require surgery or more advanced diagnostics.
Do you think the PetIQ structure helps veterinarians provide better care?
When veterinarians are happy and have a good work-life balance, they’re going to provide excellent care for their patients. We know that someone who is overworked, stressed or burnt out is not going to be their best self and practice the best medicine. It’s so critical to have that ability to recharge and be able to have control over your own schedule. You can show up each day ready to practice great medicine and provide wonderful care to all your patients.
PetIQ also practices a “Team of Two” concept that’s unique. Could you explain what that is?
The Team of Two model starts at the clinic level. The veterinarian is responsible for all the medical decisions in the clinic, and they’re partnered with a supervisor in the clinic who is responsible for the operational management of the clinic. No one is solely responsible for everything. You’ve got two professionals working together to provide excellent customer service and medicine.
The Team of Two extends up to the next several levels of the reporting structure. Veterinarians report to a District Medical Director and the supervisors report to a District Manager. The District Medical Directors and the District Managers work together to provide support for all their respective clinics. It fosters an amazing collaborative dynamic, helping clinics thrive, practice great medicine, become profitable and serve as many pets as possible.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
My husband and I have a beautiful little farm in central Virginia with a vast array of animals: six dogs, four cats, peacocks, guard geese, ornamental pheasants and countless chickens. We have recently started raising cattle on the farm, which is a lifelong dream. Remember – I wanted to be James Herriot! I love riding my horse and being active in the local equestrian community.
I’m also a real estate investor with a small portfolio of rental properties. We’re just finishing the renovation on our latest project now, which is exciting. Finally, my father is a successful fine arts painter, and we’re working to help him develop a social media presence and establish a new studio, which is also fun and exciting.
Working for PetIQ affords me the opportunity to have that work-life balance. I have found my dream job. I love working in the clinic, but I also appreciate having the freedom and flexibility to maintain my hobbies and side businesses. I have a lot going on, and I am loving every minute of it.