The purpose of this position is to assist veterinarians with patient care and treatment, monitor hospitalized pets, maintain inventory, prepare prescriptions, perform routine in-house lab work, educate clients regarding veterinary care and procedures and assist with surgical procedures. Operates under the supervision of the lead technician and the practice manager. This position will be for overnight hours, usually between 8am-7am, in most cases scheduled as a 10 hour shift, 4 days per week, for between 38-40 scheduled hours per work week.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES / KEY SKILL AREAS
- Communicate with clients regarding the medical status of their pet. Provide accurate information to clients concerning fees, hospital policies, etc.
- Instruct clients as to what they should do prior to bringing their pets in for procedures, how to care for their pets after discharge from the hospital, how to administer medications, etc.
- Demonstrate warmth, courtesy and professionalism in all interactions with clients. Consistently display excellence in customer service to as to bond clients to the practice.
Marketing and Client Education
- Educate clients regarding preventive medicine and vaccination requirements. Educate clients as to the need for wellness laboratory procedures as indicated per hospital wellness program.
- Provide clients with information and education regarding services for their pet; make recommendations appropriate to offering the highest level of care available; do not “project” what the clients’ decision may be in regards to their pets health based on their economic means, dress, behavior, etc. Do not “make the decision for the client” by not offering the best. Always offer the best option for the pet as the first option for the client.
- Promote the practice’s products, programs and services. Make suggestions to clients about products appropriate for their pet’s condition. Notify clients about services provided by other areas of the practice which may benefit their pet.
- Give clients handouts and educational materials such as product brochures, Lifelearn Documents, or hospital handouts to take home to further their understanding of veterinary issues.
- Give promotional materials such as puppy and kitten kits, hospital flyers or brochures, food samples, etc as appropriate.
- Educate clients regarding the practice website.
- Restrain animals in a safe, efficient and compassionate manner during examinations and procedures using proper restraint technique as well as equipment such as muzzles, leashes, rabies poles, cage doors, carriers, and induction box when deemed necessary.
- Assist with moving animals throughout the hospital. Cage and remove animals as needed with proper handling technique. Use a slip leash or carrier when transferring animals between buildings on the grounds of the facility.
- Exercise compassion and care in all interactions with patients. Demonstrate patient advocacy for all animals within the facility even if not in your own department; if a pet in another part of the facility needs to be cleaned, cared for, or assisted, complete such care yourself if possible or notify the manager of that department or another staff member on duty that the care is needed so it can be completed.
Exam Room Procedures
- Follow established procedures in order to assist veterinarians with examinations and facilitate the flow of clients and patients through the out-patient clinic. Consult with veterinarians on a daily basis to plan each day’s activities regarding exam room appointments. Keep doctors informed of potential problems such as appointments which are delayed, rescheduled, overbooked, worked in, etc. Maintain daily room schedule by being prepared for arriving appointments, keeping schedule on track, and ensuring that missed or late appointments are either worked in or rescheduled as needed.
- Review medical records of each appointment in order to discern the nature of the visit and any tests or procedures that may be needed.
- Greet clients and escort them and their pets into an exam room. Obtain base information on the pet such as weight, temperature, and history. Discuss with the client the reason for the visit, any symptoms or problems being experienced, and any procedures that may need to be done (i.e. vaccinations, fecal or heartworm tests, etc). Follow exam note templates to ensure a complete and thorough check in and begin recording medical record notes for the visit. Update the medical condition record, delete or amend any alerts, follow up calls, and reminders on the patient file to ensure accurate communication with client regarding patient treatments due following the visit. Obtain any lab samples that may be needed from the pet. Anticipate and prepare any medications or vaccines the doctor will need to treat the patient.
- Notify the veterinarian when patients in the exam room are ready to be seen. Advise the veterinarian of the information already known such as the nature of the visit, preventive procedures due, tests that are to be run, etc. Assist the veterinarian within the exam room by restraining the animal, preparing forms, obtaining instruments, etc. If possible, remain in the exam room until the exam is complete, and then excuse yourself to complete items needed for the remainder of the exam such as preparation of tags, certificates, medical care plans, refills, etc.
- Perform any lab work that may be needed or make sure that lab work is performed by another team member while the patient is still in the exam room. Prepare and submit lab samples to outside lab as needed.
- Ensure all procedures rendered during the visit are documented for proper billing. Ensure that all vaccinations, procedures, notes, etc have been documented in the medical record.
- Escort the client and patient to the front desk and give the medical record and patient visit form to the customer service representative for checkout. Notify customer service representative if the patient needs a recheck exam or other procedure scheduled so that owner may do so prior to checkout. Prepare the exam room for the next visit.
- Accurately perform routine in-house laboratory procedures. Appropriately prepare and handle specimens.
- Be knowledgeable of and actively avoid sample handling errors which may cause artifacts in test results.
- Prepare specimens and lab requisition forms for outside laboratory testing.
- Monitor lab supplies and notify designated technician to order additional lab supplies as needed.
- Take radiographs following proper safety procedures.
- Wear personal protective equipment during tabletop radiographic exposure (wear gloves if possible; wear gowns, thyroid shields, and badges at minimum).
- Employ proper restraint techniques and collimation to reduce radiation exposure to patient and operators during tabletop procedures.
- Maintain proper distance from tube head and use verbal “shooting” warnings to other staff when using digital dental radiograph.
- Record all measurements and machine settings on x-ray label for x-ray log; properly label and prepare for filing all x-rays.
- Assist designated technician in maintaining equipment, logs, and supplies needed for efficient operation.
Patient Check-In Procedures
- Review medical record the night before and prepare accurate medical care plan for following days visit.
- Admit drop off exam patients via exam room check in with client. Review procedures to be done, collect patient history, and educate clients as to any wellness treatments which need to be administered. Fill out all check in forms, release forms, and medical care plans completely. Ensure that client has provided signatures and contact phone numbers where applicable. Collect a deposit for treatment in the amount of the low end of the medical care plan for non-elective procedures or non-well hospitalized patients.
- Write patients first and last name and treatments to be done on hospital board and place clipboard in appropriate area.
- Prepare surgical patients for procedures by recording weight and temperatures, placing IV catheters, running pre-anesthetic blood work, printing and filling out anesthetic worksheets, monitoring sheets, and emergency drug calculation worksheets.
- Assist veterinarians during surgical procedures. Use proper attire in the surgery suite, proper aseptic technique when passing instruments and assisting surgeon, and maintain surgical suite cleanliness.
- Be knowledgeable of anesthetic protocol; familiarity with type or anesthetic drugs as well as proper routes and approximate dosing is required.
- Induce anesthesia under direct veterinary supervision: intubation, clipping/scrubbing, bladder expression, IV fluid administration, use of multi-parameter monitoring equipment, and set up of surgical suite for procedure are skills which are employed.
- Monitor patients intra-operatively and maintain anesthetic monitoring record for chart. Monitor and record oxygen saturation, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, and as directed blood pressure and ECG measurements. Be knowledgeable of normal values for parameters monitored and know how and when to respond appropriately to maintain patient stability; keep veterinarian informed of patient status, good or bad.
- Follow hospital protocols for cleaning and wrapping surgical packs. Ensure that all equipment is properly maintained and restored to preparatory state for the following work day.
Drop Off Exam Procedures
- Once client has departed, collect weight, temperature, and any lab samples needed prior to doctor exam. Prepare chart for exam and write patient name and procedure on hospital board. Enter all charges of treatments completed, including exam charge so as to enter medical history from client and procedures to be done that day.
- Assist doctor with patient exam and treatment.
- Complete patient chart by entering charges, notes, follow up calls, and alerts. Amend reminders as needed to ensure accurate communication to client for future visits. Prepare all go home materials such as hand outs, medical care plans, brochures, and medications.
- Communicate with client as directed by doctor as to patient status. Coordinate with other departments to ensure patient is ready to go from all departments before owner is called.
Hospitalized Patient Care
- Ensure that all hospitalized and post-surgical animals receive needed medication, treatments, and monitoring as dictated by hospital treatment sheets. Document all treatments on hospitalization sheet as well as patient computer record. Enter all charges for treatments administered including food opened for feedings. Write patient name and treatment times on hospital board to ensure that no treatments are missed. Notify doctor of patient status regularly and be the advocate for the patient in all circumstances.
- Be able to calculate dosages or medications or complete conversations of dosages from pounds to kilograms, milligrams to milliliters, etc, etc.
- Communicate with other technicians and doctors regarding the needs of patients. Review cases in the hospital with other technical staff before shift changes.
General Veterinary Procedures
- Perform routine suture removals, nail trims, and weight checks. Apply bandages and assist veterinarian with splint application as needed.
- Give injections (intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous) and administer medications and other treatments as directed.
- Maintain cleanliness of hospital building inside and out. Be mindful of patients with potential zoonotic and contagious diseases and the proper cleaning required to minimize spread of disease among patients and staff in hospital.
Patient Discharge Procedures
- Ensure that patient chart is complete by reviewing computer charges, medical notes, and go home materials within chart.
- Ensure that patient is presentable; patient should not have any foul odors, wetness, or debris on them.
- If possible, complete discharge in exam room with client first (without patient) and review all discharge information, discuss all medications dispensed, and if applicable demonstrate any treatments to be performed at home as needed. Schedule recheck exams or other procedures as needed.
- When discharge is complete, walk client to front desk for checkout; present patient chart to customer service representative to be filed. Bring patient to client and escort out door and to car if needed.
- Accurately dispense prescription medications. Prepare prescription labels and appropriately package medications. Include your handwritten initials on the label once you fill the medication and ensure a second person includes their handwritten initials on the label to verify that the medical is filled appropriately once they have viewed the medication in the primary container as compared to the medication in the container filled by you; and verify medications likewise for other team members.
- Document the reason any controlled drug is administered anytime a controlled drug is used either on the drug label (if dispensed) or in the notes (if administered in the hospital). This will be reflected in the controlled drug log.
- Ensure that medications are added to the patient’s record and appropriately charged to the client. Be familiar with frequently used drugs and their dosages so as to assist the doctors and in effect “proofread” their orders in order to avoid mis-filled prescriptions.
- Be knowledgeable of commonly used veterinary drugs, common dosages, drug-to-drug interactions, contraindications, and what each drug is used for to as to assist doctors in answering client questions regarding medications.
- Be knowledgeable of the ABC’s of emergency medicine.
- Be able to accurately place an endotracheal tube, IV catheter, and urinary catheter (males).
- Be able to provide CPCR by administering chest compressions and positive pressure ventilation at the appropriate rate.
- Be able to perform cursory assessment on a patient so as to alert doctor to a condition which requires immediate attention such as respiratory distress, discolored mucous membranes, distended bladder (in the case of urinary obstruction), etc.
- Assist doctor in ordering patient exams throughout the day from sick to well.
- Follow OSHA guidelines concerning safety and handling of hazardous materials.
- Follow established hospital safety guidelines regarding radiographs, controlled drugs, animal handling, etc.
Physical Plant Maintenance
- Clean and straighten exam rooms, treatment and lab areas. Restock exam rooms and treatment area drawers, shelves, and closets with supplies as needed.
- Be vigilant in regards to keeping the practice grounds free of litter and fecal material so as to provide the best first impression to all clients. Have full participation in keeping the public areas of the practice clean and well maintained.
- Assist designated technicians in cleaning and maintaining all medical equipment as required. Use daily checklists to ensure routine maintenance, record all activity in logs as directed.
- Complete daily opening and closing checklists accurately; fill in all blanks; write your own initials only, and do not write any initials other than your own.
- Adhere to all hospital policies and standards regarding uniforms, grooming, smoking, personal calls, etc. as stated in the hospital procedures manual.
- Serve as a representative of the hospital, displaying courtesy, tact, consideration, and a positive attitude in all interactions with clients, patients and other members of the hospital staff.
Punctuality and Attendance
- Adhere to the posted work schedule. Arrive for work promptly and be ready to begin working at the start time. Report to the lead technician in regards to absences, late arrivals, shift trades, and requested time off.
- Utilize the time clock to clock in and out at the beginning and end of each day and during all breaks and lunch breaks. Report to the practice manager if a time punch is missed or needs otherwise to be corrected within the time clock software.
- Demonstrate initiative and teamwork in everyday duties by seeking other work to do during slack times, assisting other employees within the practice, and filling in for other employees as needed.
- Demonstrate positive attitude and a “can do” approach to each day, be encouraging to other staff members, and work enthusiastically towards daily goals.
- Organize work area and exercise time management skills to maximize personal efficiency within the practice. Prioritize tasks and handle multiple tasks in a calm, organized manner.
Client Service Duties
- Hospitality: Genuinely welcomes clients and patients and provides for their comfort. Heartily greets them as they arrive, offers bottled water, shows them to waiting area, etc. When speaking with clients, uses their name and the pet’s name when it is proper to do so. Monitors how long clients have been waiting and handles situations where there is an extended wait.
- Client Communication: When directed, answers client questions appropriately in accordance with established hospital guidelines. Accurately answers sub-professional client questions regarding hospital services, fees, and preventative care.
- Attend and participate in scheduled staff meetings for continuing education both on basic operations of facility as well as generally veterinary industry knowledge.
- Participate in self-study “homework” assignments given out during meetings in preparation for quizzes over pertinent material.
- Demonstrate initiative to seek knowledge on a continual basis regarding daily duties, operations, and tasks regarding for general work but also to continually “as you go” expand knowledge base about veterinary industry in general.
CONTROLS OVER WORK
In accordance with the hospital’s operating instructions, assist providing care required in keeping with the individual needs and circumstances of animals; follow special instructions as issued. Doctors provide specific instructions in giving medications, feeding specific diets or following special sanitary procedures if needed during patient stay. Lead Veterinary Technician will have authority over assigned duties, scheduled shifts, and general quality control of care of animals within the facility. Staff member report directly to and are accountable to the Lead Veterinary Technician.
OTHER SIGNIFICANT FACTS
Skills and Knowledge: Knowledge of basic veterinary practices, procedures and terminology. Willingness to pursue further formal education and eventual status as a Registered Veterinary Technician is not required but highly encouraged.
Physical Effort: Often requires lifting and carrying materials weighing up to 50 lbs. and perform routine veterinary medical procedures (i.e. collect samples, draw blood, administer vaccines, place catheters, etc). Frequently requires handling of materials up to 20 lbs. Additionaly, handle dogs weighing up to 150 lbs. Walking and/or standing for long periods. Frequently works in a bent position. May be required to use strength or agility in capturing and restraining stronger, more active animals.
Working Conditions: Work is normally performed inside; some outside work is required. Exposure to unpleasant odors and noises. Exposure to bites, scratches and animal wastes. Possible exposure to contagious diseases.