Would you like to work in a young, growing dog and cat-only practice? How does never having to treat a hamster again sound to you? Interested now? Read on!
James Horner Vets has grown quickly over the last two years, and we are now looking for a fourth vet, so something must be going right! We were delighted to be voted Best Start-Up for the second year running and in the UK Top 25 practices at the Best UK Vets Awards 2023. Our success is down to the team, and central to this is we all really enjoy working here and collaborating with our clients to deliver care we can be proud of. We are a young practice, and this is great! Every team member has a say and can influence and guide our growth. Without precedents, we are truly free to develop our client interactions and our ways of working.
My own work history is eclectic; it is one of horses, injuries and internships, smallies and corporates, poultry, certificates and the pharmaceutical industry! From this, I have pulled the best of what I experienced and am trying to build a workplace that both honours our abilities, respects our workload and delivers a professional service to clients who value our advice.
My intention is to create a workplace in which a good vet is better off with us than working as a locum. Along with an excellent basic salary, there are two bonus pots: a revenue-linked award (paid monthly) and a share of the profit the whole practice makes. The latter bonus allows all employees to experience the benefits of business ownership without the cost or risk! To top it all, both bonus pots are uncapped, being based on how well we all do! Our quick growth as a practice has meant that the team's profit share has exceeded expectations. Last year, we made a profit, and the team gained £740.15 from the share of financial success. This year, the success continues, and we expect the profit share to be upwards of £2000!
We are growing and want someone to grow with us. A start-up has so many opportunities to influence how we develop and to bring the great elements from their previous work whilst sculpting the business to avoid pitfalls noted elsewhere. Change is good when we are making the changes ourselves. Trying ideas is key; if they work, they are perfect. If not, perfect. We can learn from everything!
Senior Vet Kat became an Advanced Practitioner in small animal medicine after completing her certificate in 2020. She is particularly interested in cardiology and has helped launch our certificate-led cardiology service, which also takes referrals from local practices. Kat is also completing the VetGDP Advisor course.
“Since joining the team 9 months ago, I can say it is the first time in a long time that I really enjoy going to work and being a vet. James has created a practice with a lovely family feel and a supportive and caring team. In comparison to my previous corporate job, I feel like a valued and listened to member of the team.” Kat MRCVS
Hollie qualified in 2018 from Nottingham University, has worked in a variety of small animal practices and volunteered at a charity clinic in Thailand before joining the team in August 2022. Hollie particularly enjoys dentistry.
“I work for James Horner Vets because I like that I am actively encouraged to improve upon my clinical and surgical skills and am set goals that I was never given at a previous practice.” Hollie MRCVS
As a team, we are great believers in developing the RVN nurse practitioner status. Schedule 3 is actively trained and not merely given lip service. Our nurses undertake training and practice to allow them to complete dental scale and polishes, stitch-ups, x-rays and anaesthetic control so they can share the workload with our vets. Online booking systems and our triage system prevent vet consults from being disrupted and keep everyone running on time.
“My experience at James Horner Vets can only be described as refreshing. Working for an employer that takes pride in both developing the skills of his team whilst also actively encouraging a good work-life balance is a breath of fresh air. I believe that the modern approach of James Horner Vets is the future of the veterinary industry, and I am proud to be a part of it.” Sophie D. RVN
“I really like the strong network in and outside the practice. Add in the good working hours, a small, close-knit, friendly team, and support to always better yourself; I couldn’t be happier.” Sophie L. RVN
We’re a close-knit, friendly team that enjoys a good get-together, not just for our annual Christmas party. On the first Thursday of every month, we have a team meal out, where everyone’s welcome to come along for some great food and a relaxed evening full of laughs. Some of our team frequently meet for dog walks or family days out.
Knowing what we don’t want helps us care for what we do want; this is an ethos the whole team discusses and brings to the table. We know the type of client we want and actively seek to gain and retain them. This starts with the species we help to care for. Our focus starts with only treating cats and dogs. No rabbits, reptiles, or hamsters… this goes down well with our clients! Having spent a lot of time in multiple species (including production poultry!) I realised that fear of failure is a big barrier to our own well-being, and fear of rabbit anaesthetics is not an uncommon sentiment within the profession. So, with a new practice and no existing precedents, why start where you don’t feel confident? Clients who enquire about rabbits or other exotics are guided to colleagues in other practices who have greater expertise, and no one tries to “fake it till you make it”. This is well received purely on the honesty of our own limitations.
Culture is spoken about widely in all circles, and the truth is that culture is what the team make of it. Enjoying clinical practice and working with our clients provides some level of satisfaction, but we have also set ourselves 5 aims: to be a rewarding practice to work in, that is team led, with continuous improvement, that is goal driven and success orientated. But how do we actually implement it? To ensure we’re getting it right, we take time every 3 months to sit down individually and discuss how things are going. Building confidence and spotting areas needing more support early is essential to our success.
In addition to individual development, every 3 months, we close the practice for the day and have a team lunch and training day. Here, we reflect on our successes, focus on initiatives brought by the team, and discuss clinical interests amongst all levels of staff. The afternoon is set aside for an external speaker, generally following a leadership theme and includes all types of topics, for example, how to have difficult conversations.
We believe in face-to-face care and compassionate service. To facilitate this, our Wellness Subscriptions are the principal model we work to. Having worked as a locum and a full-time vet in many practices with Health Care plans, the concept is good, but the execution is not always great. We want the right clients to subscribe; these subscribed clients literally buy into the ethos and us. They visit more regularly and build a greater rapport. This leads to better advice, less pressure on selling “stuff”, and a deeper trust between our clients and our team.
Face-to-face extends to how we report lab results: face-to-face! This means no late-night phone calls, no voicemail tennis, and no distractions of tea when talking on the phone. Reporting results is as important, if not more important, than the sampling process. All lab fees include a reporting consultation booked at an appropriate time to allow for results to be processed, considered, discussed with colleagues, and a plan to be made.
We have the usual equipment to conduct good workups, and being new, we can invest in many potential directions based on the interests of our vets and team. We are already an ISFM silver practice, an RVN training practice and an RCVS-accredited practice.
- The salary is between £35,000 - £80,000, dependent on experience, with the bonuses discussed above on top
- Clear and transparent salary banding for career development and progression
- No OOHs, Sundays or bank holidays. With our new vet, Saturdays will be only 1 in 4 mornings (8.30-12.30)
- The rota is a true 40-hour week spread over 4 days and the 1:4 Saturday mornings
- Part-time positions considered with an equal share of the Saturday mornings
- CPD actively encouraged and supported, including certificates.
- Sheldon is in a fantastic position on the border of Warwickshire, offering the best of both worlds - the serene rural countryside and the city's lively culture
- Fantastic transport links with easy access to the motorway network, and Birmingham Airport is just 10 minutes away.
If this sounds interesting, call us for an informal chat or apply now.