Cardiology Specialty Veterinary Technician

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Job Summary

The cardiology specialty veterinary technician has many important responsibilities and plays many roles within the hospital in the specialty services. They also apply their professional skills in anesthesia, emergency, laboratory testing, patient nursing, and client education. The specialty veterinary technician has extensive experience with 3+ year of experience in the field of a veterinary specialty (preferably cardiology, however emergency, surgery, or anesthesia will be considered), and certification in the state of Colorado.  VTS is not required but encouraged, with opportunities to obtain certification if there is interest.

The technician is routinely entrusted with patient assessments/triage, anesthesia, procedures, drug doses, and treatments. The technician will be responsible for cardiology in patient care, patient follow-up, maintenance of cardiology patient records, and assistance with booking EVS and Pulse cardiology appointments.  They will be expected to maintain regular client follow up, maintain timely patient reminders (automated emails and postcards), and answer owner and referring veterinarian cardiology related questions. The technician must be a detail-oriented person who can make good decisions, respond quickly and calmly to crises, and maintain high standards of patient care. The technician will need to communicate clearly with the doctors, other hospital personnel, and clients to ensure that patients receive the care that they need.

The technician should enjoy working with diverse people and animals and be friendly and flexible in the face of varying expectations from clients and co-workers.  The technician must share a firm belief in the quality of care we provide and communicate this sense of assurance to clients. It is important to know and understand our services and recommendations and be able to clearly convey the value of the services to the clients. Excellent client communication skills and a commitment to outstanding client service are essential. The Veterinary Technician reports to the CVT supervisor. Hours may vary and on call for emergency cardiology procedures may be required.

Education and Experience

  • Required:        5+ years previous veterinary technician experience
  • Required:        3+ years previous ER and/or specialty medicine experience, cardiology preferred.  
  • Required:        Active CO state technician license        
  • Hourly Pay Rate: $18.50 -$27.50 DOE                    

Job duties and responsibilities

General Knowledge 

  • Know the range of services the practice provides and the species it treats.
  • Be familiar with breeds and breed predisposition to disease
  • Follow OSHA standards. Be able to find Material Safety Data Sheets quickly.
  • Know and use standard medical and business abbreviations.
  • Use proper medical terminology when speaking and writing.
  • Competently speak and write the English language legibly.
  • Computer knowledge for maintenance of cardiology database, generation of patient medical records and reports
  • Nursing skills for daily management of in-hospital patients
  • Understanding of pathogenesis of heart failure
  • Knowledge of commonly used CV drugs, side effects, and main indications

General Tasks 

  • Always be in position and prepared to work by the start of each scheduled shift.
  • Maintain a professional, friendly demeanor while on the job.
  • Promote a positive attitude among staff.
  • Handle stress and pressure with poise and tact.
  • Be willing and available to stay late or through breaks, when needed, to assist with emergency or critical-care patients.
  • Show respect for clients, team members, and animals (alive or deceased) at all times.
  • Have the physical strength and ability to stand for an entire shift when needed, and be able to lift pets and objects weighing up to 40 pounds without assistance. Assist in lifting patients weighing more than 40 pounds.
  • Demonstrates and/or have willingness to train to obtain a full working knowledge of EzyVet and Instinct practice software.

Basic Patient-Care Tasks

  • Prioritize tasks to maximize clients’ satisfaction and patients’ health.
  • Maximize patients’ comfort with a gentle and reassuring manner. Understand that actions that would constitute animal cruelty under state or local laws or the practice’s policies will be grounds for immediate reprimand and/or termination.
  • Monitor patients’ behaviors and note potentially aggressive behaviors. Use caution when handling aggressive or potentially aggressive pets. Request assistance when needed.
  • Assess hospitalized patients’ temperatures, pulse rates, respiratory rates, and respiratory qualities, and record data in appropriate records, as requested by doctors.
  • Prior to discharge, remove patients’ catheters, clean patients so that no body fluids are detectable, and bathe and/or groom patients prior to transferring them to clients.

Patient-Treatment Tasks 

  • Understand the mechanics and application of basic standards of asepsis.
  • Maintain IV catheters so fluids flow freely; flush and clean as needed.
  • Administer IV, IM, SQ, and oral medications and note in charts.
  • Assist in the application of wound dressings and treatments.
  • Monitor telemetry and perform 6 lead ECG

Technical/Specialty Tasks

General and Cardiology Technical Tasks 

  • Perform venipunctures and artery puncture using patients’ cephalic, saphenous, and jugular in a manner that minimizes trauma to patients and injury to veins and allows you to successfully obtain a nonhemolyzed sample.
  • Place sampling catheter and introducer catheter
  • Understand the paperwork and procedures of outside laboratories used by the practice.
  • Perform routine ELISA tests, such as heartworm and feline viral tests. Set up and read urine specific gravities, hemocrits, and total protein tests.
  • Ability to obtain a 10-lead ECG
  • Place and remove Holter monitoring equipment and edit Holter monitors using Trillium software
  • Ability to identify catheters commonly used for interventional techniques and cardia catheterization
  • Ability to grade cardiac murmurs, identify PMI (point of maximal intensity) and correlated possible clinical diagnoses
  • Operate and maintain and train staff on use of Snyder oxygen cage
  • Knowledge of standard Mmode and 2D echo views
  • Understanding of principles of Mmode, 2D, pulsed wave, continuous wave, and color flow Doppler
  • Ability to obtain standard M-mode and 2D echo views
  • Ability to identify many common and acquired cardiac disorders including DCM, HCM, pericardial effusion, CVD, PDA, VSD, ASD, PS, SAS and Tetrology of Fallot from echocardiography
  • Assist with restraint during echocardiography procedures for EVS and Pulse. 

Emergency-Care and Cardiology Tasks 

  • Provide basic life support, including CPR, airway maintenance, and oxygen therapy.
  • Control bleeding using pressure bandages and tourniquets.
  • Recognize common arrhythmias including SVT, VPCs, V-tach, sinus arrhythmia, sinus arrest and various forms of AV block
  • Be able to note severe chamber enlargement on thoracic radiographs and echocardiography
  • Accurately measure Doppler blood pressure
  • Understand basic physiology and engineering of pacemakers including pacing modes and lead systems

Surgical-Assistance Tasks 

  • Know the names of instruments and where they are stored.
  • Prepare the surgery suite(s) for incoming patients.
  • Bring surgical patients to the surgical prep area. Ensure that you have the correct patients by checking cage cards, affixed identifications, and patients’ markings and records.
  • Set up and operate fluoroscopy
  • Check surgery schedules and patients’ records to determine procedures to be performed.
  • Assist Veterinarians in administering preoperative medications.
  • Under the direction of doctors, prepare patients for surgery. Clip surgical fields with straight margins. Minimize tissue trauma. Properly scrub and prepare surgical fields. Maintain clean fields when moving patients.
  • Attach cardiac and respiratory monitors, pulse oximeters, or ECG monitors to anesthetized patients.
  • Properly position and align patients for surgery.
  • Ability to calibrate transducers to measure intracardiac and intravascular pressures
  • Monitor patients during surgery for depth of anesthesia, color, temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate. Alert doctors to changes in condition.
  • Monitor patients’ recovery. Protect patients from aspiration and hypothermia. Deflate cuffs and remove endotracheal tubes as soon as gag reflexes return.

Surgical Cleaning Tasks 

  • Clean operating rooms and equipment after use.
  • Clean floors and counters in surgical prep and recovery areas, treatment rooms, and wards after use and as needed.
  • Wash, sterilize, and store endotracheal tubes using techniques that prevent the spread of disease.
  • Clean surgical instruments by hand and/or ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Operate and maintain the autoclave.
  • Pack and autoclave instruments. Using lists of instruments or photos as guides, ensure that packs contain the proper numbers and types of instruments and that they are labeled with dates and types of packs. Apply pressure and temperature sterilization tape and/or monitors, and verify effectiveness after autoclaving.

Radiology Tasks 

  • Restraint and positioning of patients for radiographic procedures.
  • Maintain up to date telemedicine records using Asteris software
  • Send echocardiography and radiology images to referring veterinarians when requested using Asteris software
  • Strive to position animals for optimum viewing of the body parts being radiographed.

In addition to the Veterinary Technician position, the Cardiology Specialty Veterinary Technician must also exhibit people skills in leading the technical team. This includes, but is not limited to, coordinating continuing education, and training new technical staff. The Cardiology Technician will participate in recruiting and hiring new technical staff members.  As a key leading member of the technical team, the Cardiology Technician works closely with the Hospital Manager on employee performance improvement plans.  He or she will then follow through on that plan with the employee and report progress to the Hospital Manager.  He or she is also responsible for ordering supplies for the hospital.