"What's 'the back' and why are you taking my baby back there?"I don’t know about you and your clinic, but in my clinic, we have exam rooms ‘in the front’ of the hospital, and then a treatment area ‘in the back’. The back is ‘off limits’ to clients and the door to the place where the magic happens, so to speak, is clearly marked with ‘Employees Only’. Does that always keep the clients out? No, but it does deter most.
Most veterinary technicians just absolutely cringe when someone says to them that it must be nice working with puppies and kittens all day. Meanwhile they just euthanized a 3 year dog with cancer, got splattered with anal glands and nearly broke their back trying to mop the 10th pile of vomit for the day.
But, you want to know my dirty little secret?
Anesthesia is an enormous responsibility for any veterinary technician. It is a precise art form that requires extreme attention to detail.The best techs are extremely alert at the most boring times, they always have a hand on their patient, and never rely on the monitors alone. Being on top of the patient under anesthesia is crucial to providing the best patient care. Sometimes, there is a technician that does not share these same ideals, which can be somewhat worrisome. Follow these next steps to ensure that patients are receiving top-notch veterinary care under anesthesia.
1. Is your staff qualified?
2. Provide a mentor
3. Case study
Do some of the staff believe that things with anesthesia just never go wrong? It might be beneficial to have a doctor put together real life case studies of real patients suffering from improper care under anesthesia. Provide the staff with a heart breaking story including pictures and see if that changes their tune. It is likely someone on your team has experienced a tragic anesthetic case.
4. Sharing techniques
Not every catheter needs to be wrapped the exact same way, but techniques in monitoring anesthesia do need to be followed to a T. An experienced and qualified tech might want to share their techniques with the newer staff. This might be a time to have a mock demonstration and brush up on things like CPR and studying the crash cart.
5. Create a protocol project
It might be time to dust off the protocol manual and see what is in it. A good way to teach someone is to have them write the protocol and make sure everyone adheres to it. If you are having difficulty with a lazy tech, make that person in charge of writing the protocol and have a deadline.
6. Continuing Education
When all else fails, send the staff to continuing education. Here you might get the case study, protocol outline, shared techniques and mock situations without doing it yourself.
"It's for your own good." The sentence unconvincingly uttered by countless well-meaning parents to their children. I don't have kids, but have found myself repeating this phrase to my furry children while attempting (usually successfully) to complete a multitude of medical and grooming procedures. I'm sure my pets wish they had been adopted by an owner who wasn't so anal retentive about vet care. Instead, they got me. Here are some reasons why my pets are less than thrilled with my career choice.
I was fortunate to have the incredible opportunity to land a position as a teacher for a veterinary technician program a number of years ago. I always dreamed of being teacher and although I didn't have the most field experience in the world, I was truly honored to be given the chance. It was a short lived year that I spent teaching future technicians, but one I will always cherish. Here is what I learned from my students.
National Veterinary Technician Week is upon us once again. From October 11-17th 2015 is the time where the spotlight should shine on technicians. It is up to the rest of the staff to show some appreciation. Here are a few ways you can do just that!
Not all vet techs are created equal. I don't mean this to belittle anyone, or for it to be a bad thing. It's just a fact. We all start out in this field because we love animals (and very obviously not because we love money), but the paths we take lead to very different clinics and positions. I believe that our teachers in college have an immense impact on what kind of technicians we become.
I, for one, was greatly influenced by my teachers, and therefore very much ruined for the rest of my career. All it took was one sentence really, and the rest of my career path was chosen for me.
To be fair, there were other ingredients in the mix that shaped me as an RVT. My first clinic for example had impeccable medicine, high standards for patient comfort, and immeasurable care they provided to pets and owners alike. At this clinic I learned that baby birds were to be loved, and not immediately euthanized, and that all lives matter. My role model Nicole, who to this day I still call the RVT who taught me everything I know, instilled a certain pride for the profession in me that was unshakable.
Then came school, and the phrase that was the last puzzle piece in my stance of who I became as an RVT.
"You are the advocates."
To this day, I remember this phrase. I remember hearing it, and tucking it away in the back of my mind as something important, yet not really something I thought a great deal about.
It didn't resonate with me at the time, as I had a solid foundation of what I thought vet clinics were about, and what I thought I would be able to contribute to my profession. Then came reality.
My fellow Smart Flow crusaders and I were just discussing how many clinics we have worked at during our careers. I counted 12.
Yes, I am one of those crazy people that works 2 to 3 different jobs at any given time, however the numbers are also up there because some clinics just simply didn't measure up.
That one phrase in school had cemented my moral and ethical must-haves when it came to where I chose to work, and finding the right fit was not always easy. Where I found that patient care and comfort was lacking, I spoke up. I was being The Advocate. Some clinics welcomed it, some didn't.
Being the advocate comes with a heavy burden of responsibility, stress, and sometimes compassion fatigue. It also comes with pride in the RVT behind my name, and when I feel that I have made a difference in an animal's life, where someone else had dropped the ball.
Being the advocate is hard work. It is emotional. It is taxing. Do I blame my teachers for this extra burden I have had to bear for the last 12 years? Yes. Would I do it all over again if given the choice? Absolutely.
Tell us about who influenced your career!
Technicians are often praised for being incredible multi-taskers. We've been known to juggle so many things at once it would make most people's head spin. There is an area in veterinary medicine, however, where we should not be praised for multi-tasking and that is in regard to monitoring anesthesia. Our sole focus should be on the patient and every last detail of each vital recording.
Finding out you have a bun in the oven can be the happiest and most exhilarating time in your life. One of the first issues to resolve is telling your employer and figuring out how to proceed with your employment. Be sure to tell your employer immediately and request to keep it a private matter as best as possible until you are ready to share the news with the world.