Imagine someone juggling 3 bowling pins, blindfolded with one arm on a tightrope above a hungry tank of sharks. That my friends, is how it feels most days as a vet tech. We tend to juggle client education, patient care, technical skills and last minute walk-in emergencies all while anticipating the needs of the doctors. Sometimes we leave the clinic in tears, with emotional wounds wondering if we were truly meant for this field. Likely, we just need a refresher and maybe a role model. An efficient veterinary technician can usually juggle the same amount of things without feeling the pressure and the emotional toll this career can take. Here is how they just might do it:
1. They find shortcuts without compromising quality
I have been accused of skipping steps in some of my vet tech duties because my cohorts could not find any other explanation for my efficiency. I consider my efficiency at some tasks as a weakness, but only because I am misunderstood. One example of this occurred in a clinic where we had end of shift duties. I never waited until the last 5 minutes of my shift to start this list. In fact, I had most of list memorized and I would knock off a task here and there. Over time, my colleagues realized I never skipped any steps, but instead they saw that I did a little at a time and I quickly became the favorite closer.
2. They use the latest technology
With computers, iPads, smart phones, etc. there almost has to be an app now for everything. Effective techs use technology to their benefit and may even negotiate with their manager to purchase technology that will make everyone more efficient. Some of the latest technological advances include electronic flow sheets, complete paperless records, lab results app and so much more.
3. They ask for help
Effective techs are not ashamed to ask for help. They don’t claim to be superheroes so they ask for help with lifting patients, placing IV catheters, restraining difficult patients, etc. In turn, this can help reduce back strain, knee injuries and it provides ultimate patient care.
4. They know their doctors
Knowing the specific preferences of each doctor in their hospital can be crucial to saving time and being efficient. An effective technician will know each doctor’s glove size, gown size, suture preference, drug protocols, restraining techniques, history taking preference, etc. This not only saves them time, but it allows their doctors to their job more effectively as well.
5. They take notes
A small pocket notebook or sticky note pad can ensure they won’t forget something even if their brain malfunctions. No matter how seasoned a tech can be, a notepad can be their saving grace. It is usually filled with drug dosages, doctor preferences and daily notes on current patients.
6. They are not easily distracted
You will not find an effective technician daydreaming, texting during a procedure or complaining about the day ahead. Instead, an effective tech will be optimistic about their day taking on each challenge with a great attitude (even if they are on the verge of tears).
7. They do their job with a smile
While a smile does not equate to being effective on the surface, it can do wonders in the long run. A smile and a positive attitude can be as contagious as parvo. It can help reduce negative energy, discourage gossiping and encourage others to be motivated. An effective technician does not have time or energy to waste on the petty issues a clinic may encounter.
The next time you go home after work in tears, ask yourself if you were effective and efficient in every way possible. Work on diagnosing how you handle situations first. See if technology or a notebook will improve the situation. Maybe you don’t know your doctors as well as you could. Most importantly, start each day with a positive attitude and take on each hurdle one step at a time. You have every capability to be an effective veterinary technician.