Swans Veterinary Services – Esperance, Western Australia

June 27, 2024

Swans Veterinary Services

Expanding Veterinary Horizons

 

The leading medical team for your most valued pets

At the helm of Swans Veterinary Services are Dr. Nicole Swan and Dr. David Swan, a husband-and-wife team who have founded the practice and led it with a clear vision and dedication. CEO, Dr David Swan and Dr Nicole Swan, Chief Financial Officer oversee the practice’s strategic direction and overall management, ensuring that every animal receives top-notch care.

Both continue contributing their veterinary expertise, working alongside partners Dr. Reuben Welke, Dr. Enoch Bergman and Dr. Rob Hewlett. Together, they lead a talented team of nearly 30 professionals, including veterinarians, nurses, lab technicians, and administrative staff, all dedicated to the health and well-being of Esperance’s animal community.

Swans Veterinary Services extends its care over a 1,000 km radius of Esperance, not only treating beloved pets but also organizing community events like pet health workshops and playful puppy socialization classes. The active involvement in the community makes it more than just a clinic; it’s a vibrant, supportive hub for animal lovers, fostering a sense of connection and shared responsibility.

Their daily caseload is diverse. Primarily focusing on beef cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, and cats while also providing expert care for alpacas, small furries, reptiles, and wildlife, Swans Veterinary Services ensures comprehensive care for all creatures, big and small, in the Esperance region.

In our last conversation in 2023, Dr. Swan highlighted the numerous accomplishments and recognitions that Swans Veterinary Services had garnered. Today, we reconnect with her to explore the latest developments and continued practice success.

Accreditation and mental health initiatives

One of the most notable milestones for Swans Veterinary Services is its recognition as an Employer of Choice by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). This esteemed accreditation, which they first received in June 2022, highlights the practice’s commitment to exceptional human resources practices and workplace health and safety standards.

“Being accredited as an Employer of Choice by the AVA means our employees know they are valued and working in a safe and supportive environment,” Dr. Swan explains. “This recognition is important for us as it helps us attract and retain the best talent.”

Complementing this, Swans Veterinary Services is also part of the AVA’s Thrive Program, a new initiative to promote mental health within the veterinary profession. As one of 50 pilot practices, Swans Veterinary Services has been involved in training to create a safer psychosocial workplace. The program addresses mental health issues, aiming to reduce the industry’s high suicide rate and burnout.

“We’re deeply committed to the mental well-being of our staff,” Dr. Swan notes. “The Thrive Program is a significant step towards ensuring our team feels supported and can succeed in their roles.”

Staffing and training

While Swans Veterinary Services has a stable team, finding reception staff remains challenging. Dr. Swan explains that reception roles are particularly stressful as they deal with emotional and sometimes tricky clients. Unlike many practices that combine nursing and reception duties, Swans Veterinary Services has a dedicated reception staff. Despite the challenges, the practice invests in training through Crampton’s Consulting Group, an Australian customer service training provider, to ensure their reception team is well-prepared.

“Reception is often the frontline of our practice, and it can be incredibly challenging,” Dr. Swan admits. “We continuously invest in training to ensure our reception staff feel equipped and valued.”

 

New equipment and services

Swans Veterinary Services continues to invest in state-of-the-art equipment to enhance its service offerings. Recent acquisitions include a new surgical light for orthopedic procedures, dental radiography equipment, and an equine gastroscope. These additions allow the practice to provide comprehensive care for small and large animals.

The practice has also added a second dental cart in response to increasing demand for dental services. Additionally, it has upgraded its online booking system to PAWs, enabling clients to manage their information and appointments online.

One notable expansion in services is the introduction of rehabilitation therapy. Spearheaded by one of their nurses, Brad Dunn, who is interested in rehabilitation, the practice now offers laser treatments and other rehab services, particularly for post-operative and senior pets. The new service has been well-received, adding a fulfilling dimension to Styles’ role.

 

“Rehabilitation has been a fantastic addition to our practice,” Dr. Swan remarks. “It’s rewarding to see its positive impact on our patients’ recovery and quality of life.”

Advanced diagnostic tools

Swans Veterinary Services recently invested significantly in acquiring an ECG machine, marking a significant advancement in its diagnostic capabilities. This purchase was driven by the efforts of a senior clinician pursuing a Master’s degree in small animal medicine with a particular focus on cardiac health.

“Having advanced diagnostic tools like the ECG machine allows us to offer more specialized and accurate care,” Dr. Nicole Swan explains. The leap in technology means that veterinarians at the practice can now deliver more informed and effective treatments, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

In addition to the ECG machine, Swans Veterinary Services is upgrading its in-house laboratory equipment to state-of-the-art IDEXX machines. The strategic decision embraces cutting-edge technology, enhancing the accuracy and scope of diagnostic testing available at the practice. IDEX machines are known for their superior diagnostic precision and ability to offer a broader range of tailored testing options, significantly benefiting routine check-ups and complex medical cases.

Dr. Swan notes, “Upgrading to IDEXX machines reflects our ongoing commitment to providing the best possible care for our patients. With these new tools, we can deliver faster, more reliable results, crucial for timely and effective treatment.”

Business growth and development

The investment in new equipment has also contributed to the practice’s growth. Dr. Swan states that while the initial cost can impact profits, the long-term benefits are substantial.

“Updating our lab equipment comes at a cost, but it ensures we can provide better client results,” Dr. Swan explains. “We’re prepared to take a short-term hit for long-term gains in quality and reliability.”

The practice has also welcomed a new partner, Reuben Welke, who has been with Swans Veterinary Services for several years. His inclusion in the partnership team reflects the practice’s commitment to fostering growth and providing opportunities for younger veterinarians.

“We’re excited to have Reuben join our partnership team,” Dr. Swan says. “It’s part of our vision to bring in younger partners who will continue to drive the practice forward.”

Challenges and future goals

Despite its successes, Swans Veterinary Services faces industry-wide challenges, such as maintaining affordable services while ensuring sustainable business growth. Economic pressures on clients, especially in the farming community, also present challenges.

“Keeping veterinary services affordable while making a good living is a balancing act,” Dr. Swan acknowledges. “Economic conditions, particularly in the farming sector, can impact our business, but so far, we’ve managed to navigate these challenges.”

 

Community engagement and impact

Swans Veterinary Services is deeply involved in the local community, sponsoring various clubs and events. Its support extends to animal-oriented groups and broader community initiatives.

“We try to get involved in most things, especially those related to animals,” Dr. Swan says. “Our large animal partners are involved in local farmer production groups, and we support many community events, including the New Year’s Eve fireworks and school fundraisers.”

The impact of Swans Veterinary Services on the local community is evident through heartfelt testimonials from clients. One client shares their gratitude on social media: “A big hug to all at Swans Vets. They are all so caring and compassionate with our pets. The vets came at 4 am when my alpacas got attacked by dogs. They were so caring and helped all my injured girls who couldn’t move.”

Similarly, another client expresses their appreciation: “Big thanks to the team at Swans Vet for taking such great care of our fur baby! It’s a long road to recovery, but it’ll be worth it! Thanks to Dr. David for fixing her and helping her get back on her feet. She will be chasing the kids again in no time!”

Looking Ahead

As Swans Veterinary Services continues to grow and innovate, Dr. Nicole Swan remains focused on providing excellent veterinary care while maintaining a supportive work environment. With ongoing investments in technology and training, the practice is well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of its clients and staff.

“Our goal is to keep growing the practice and provide a supportive environment for our younger vets to develop their skills,” Dr. Swan shares. “We’re always looking for ways to improve and offer the best possible care.”

AT A GLANCE

Swans Veterinary Services

What: A well-established veterinary practice known for its high-quality care, community involvement, and commitment to animal health and well-being.

Where: Esperance, Western Australia

Website: https://www.swansvet.com/

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