We value our hardworking techs for making life better for clients, pets, and practices. National Vet Tech Week gives us the opportunity to celebrate them by sharing stories from the field and running our annual contests for the VetCor community over on our Facebook page. We are also spreading our appreciation throughout the month of October with this blog series on tech utilization. Check out our interviews with Norton Animal Hospital and Dunham Animal Hospital from earlier this month.
This week, we are taking a look at how the team at Daniel-Randall Veterinary Clinic values their vet techs every day by fully utilizing their skills and knowledge, allowing their team to operate as a cohesive unit to provide quality care. We asked hospital manager, Christine Gildehaus, to share the ways her team integrates vet techs and the full range of their abilities.
How would you describe your practice?
We are a small hospital with 3 doctors, myself, and 11 support staff. Of the support staff, 3 have been here longer than 10 years. Another 4 have been here at least 5 years. The last 2 staff members that have left us were from career changes and not job dissatisfaction. I feel so lucky to have such great staff that is willing to cover shifts at the last minute, have excellent client communication skills, even better technical skills, and work together well. We are first and foremost a team, sensitive to the personal needs of others and encouraging a healthy work/life balance.
What is one word you would use to describe your vet techs?
Our technicians are, of course, amazing! Our surgery technicians handle pre-anesthetic bloodwork, calculating doses, selection of anesthesia (with doctor approval of course), prepping the patient, and recovery. The doctors know that the sound of the vacuum is their cue to go to the surgery suite, meaning, everything has been completed prior to their arrival. We offer technician-only sedated services, such as a shave and bathe or sedated X Rays, and in these cases, the doctor is usually not needed unless there is an issue.
What do you consider one of your tech’s greatest strengths?
All the techs are skilled multitaskers, often making blood work/follow-up phone calls, filling meds, etc. while waiting for a doctor to be available to see the room they have just loaded. As we all know, general practice can bring in any number of medical issues or conditions that many technicians may not have seen or had very much experience with, so it is the nature of the industry to challenge them almost on a daily basis. I frequently consult with our senior technicians on things like machine maintenance, medical purchases, and building improvements. Their input is invaluable to me as they are the ones performing these tasks daily, and we are always re-evaluating our processes to try to make things easier for them. Each technician is able to perform reception roles as well, and will voluntarily answer the phone, schedule appointments, check out clients, check-in clients, etc.
Tell us about a time when a vet tech spearheaded a process improvement?
Last year, during the height of covid, when we and the entire veterinary world felt like it was on fire, a technician came to management and expressed concern with prescription refills. She pointed out that we had a lot of clients that were dropping in for meds or calling on their way and we were so busy it disrupted the flow of the day. We all talked about it and developed a new protocol: Prescription requests made before lunch would be ready after 2 pm and requests made after lunch would be ready the following day. It took some time to train our clients, but it gave our technicians dedicated time to fill prescriptions and enhanced the flow and efficiency of our day.
It's officially National Veterinary Technician Week and it's stories like these that remind us of how crucial our techs are to our practices and patients.
Big thanks to Christine Gildehaus and everyone at Daniel-Randall Veterinary Clinic for being an amazing team and inspiring others in the VetCor network.