Achieving High Job Satisfaction Among Techs at Dunham Animal Hospital

Achieving High Job Satisfaction Among Techs at Dunham Animal Hospital

October 14, 2021

In this second installment of sharing some of our practices that have high utilization of their technicians, we are taking a look at Dunham Animal Hospital in Winter Haven, Florida.  Hospital Manager Kim Wilson walks us through how their practice takes advantage of the vast skills of their technicians and how that leads to a high job satisfaction rate.

How has the role of technicians evolved in your experience?

Throughout the years, the scope of work for veterinary technicians has become broader and more in-depth. What was effectively an assistant to the veterinarian position in years past has grown into a support system not only for the doctors but for the entire staff as a whole. During my years of filling the roles of technician and management, I have found that a cross-trained team is a stronger team that is also more likely to experience job satisfaction and less likely to experience burnout.

How do you set your technicians, and the team as a whole, up for success?

At our hospital, we strive to train each technician in the basics of most positions, including reception. This allows for a team structure that can support itself even with a missing staff member. We can simply rotate and adjust to ensure that our doctors and clients are provided for. In addition, we have allowed them to choose delegated jobs that they excel at. Some staff enjoys ensuring that the controlled drug log is balanced, that the order list is complete with all needed medications/products, or handling incoming inventory to be sure that it is accurate. Technicians may also be entrusted by the doctors to make their initial follow-up calls to clients who have left messages with the front desk or respond to patient follow-up texts with further questions or concerns. This is typically done to "fill in the blanks" on the case and allow the provider to expedite the final call back.

How do your techs share the workload with your doctors?

Our technicians are approved to run their own "tech" appointments for certain booster vaccines, follow-up blood draws for lab send outs, and so much more. All patients are triaged and provided for by the attending staff member. With the skill level that our technicians have acquired over their years of practice, they are always on the lookout for possible concerns that may need to be examined by the DVM. They will discuss the possible concern with the client after informing the doctor and, if the client agrees, they will be worked into the provider's appointments. The same consideration is given to the incoming surgical patients each morning. The technicians have a protocol that has been provided by the doctors for the pre-surgical prep. They will review each incoming patient to verify previous lab results and notate any concerns they see for the doctor's review.

What is one way you show your technicians that they are valued?

By allowing our technicians certain areas of job autonomy, we have found that they feel more trusted and appreciated by not only the doctors and management but by the staff as a whole.

Dunham Animal Hospital shows us not only how important veterinary technicians are to the entire practice, but that techs truly shine and feel fulfilled when they are able to use all of the skills they worked so hard to train for. In case you missed it, last week we took a look at Norton Animal Hospital, which is utilizing its tech team to help them during challenging times and staffing transitions.

We appreciate our technicians year-round, but don’t forget to show them some extra gratitude during National Veterinary Technician Week this October 17-23! If you are a tech don’t forget to check out the TechLife Facebook group.