Veterinary Technician III
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Department: Specialty & Emergency
Education: College (AS/BS/BA) preferred and/or CO State Technician License preferred
Work Schedule: To be determined as needed
Job Status: Full-Time
Experience: 5+ years veterinary office exp and/or 1+ years ER exp
Job Location: Lakewood, CO
Salary: $22.50/hour – $30/hour
The veterinary technician has many important responsibilities and plays many roles within the hospital. They apply their professional skills in anesthesia, emergency, specialty services (cardiology, internal medicine, surgery), laboratory testing, patient nursing, and client education. The level III veterinary technician has extensive experience with 3+ year of experience, and certification in the state of Colorado.
The technician is routinely entrusted with patient assessments/triage, anesthesia, procedures, drug doses, and treatments. 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. Technicians need to communicate clearly with the doctors, other hospital personnel, and clients to ensure that patients receive the care that they need.
Technicians should enjoy working with diverse people and animals and be friendly and flexible in the face of varying expectations from clients and co-workers. Technicians 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 Hospital Manager.
Education and Experience
- Required: 5+ years previous veterinary office experience
- Required: 1+ year veterinary emergency experience
- Required: Active CO state technician license
- Required: College (AS/BS/BA)
Knowledge and Skills
- Possess and expresses a genuine love for animals and for working in an animal care environment.
- Proficiency in electronic medical records system
- Must be able to operate a computer, including basic typing skills
- Must be able to learn and operate various veterinary software applications
- Proficient operation of various office equipment (copier, scanner, fax machine)
- Basic filing skills
- Effectively manage multi-line phone system
- Effective interpersonal communication skills
- Effective in multi-tasking (prioritizing and accomplishing tasks)
- Effectively handle stressful situations
- Maintain a positive work environment
- Excellent verbal and written English communication skills
- The ability to work collectively with team members
- Experience in cardiology, surgery, internal medicine, and/or emergency is preferred. Know the range of services the practice provides and the species it treats.
- Be familiar with breeds
- 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.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Maintain professional and courteous demeanor in challenging/stressful situations
- Prepare and maintain exam, treatment, and surgical rooms
- Greet clients and patients
- Obtain patient history, TPR and updates from clients
- The ability to perform and/or assist with diagnostic procedures
- Maintain accurate and complete patient medical records
- The ability to learn to enter service fees into the patient processing database
- The ability to calculate medication dosages and prepare instructions for clients
- Review patient instructions with clients and distribute educational materials
- The ability to learn how to create and review treatment estimates and payment options with clients
- Obtain blood samples-cephalic/saphenous/jugular
- Process and submit lab work both in house and to outside labs
- Clean, wrap, and sterilize surgical instruments and surgical supplies (gowns, towels, etc.)
- The ability to properly run an autoclave
- Clerical duties such as filing, copying, and faxing
- Maintain order to public areas (waiting room, exam rooms, kennel area, etc.)
- Place IV catheters and assist with surgical equipment monitoring (anesthesia, ventilator, fluid pump, etc.)
- Provide general aspects of after-hours and on-call service, if applicable
- Assist in medical trial studies and resident projects as requested
- Ability to monitor hospitalized patients
- Ability to triage emergency patients
- Other duties as assigned
- Possess sufficient strength and assertiveness to effectively restrain patients and ensure the safety of clients and personnel.
- Measure and record each patient’s weight, temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate.
- Answer questions and educate clients
- Using aseptic procedures, draw up injections that doctors will administer.
- Dispose of used needles and syringes and other sharp objects as set forth by the practice’s policy and OSHA standards.
- Perform suture removals and nail trims.
- Assist with routine exam-room procedures, such as venipunctures, fine-needle aspirates, corneal stains, and ear treatments.
- Record doctors’ findings during medical examinations as needed.
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 for vomit, blood, urine, and feces in the cage, and clean patients and cages as needed. Save debris if unsure whether it should be examined. Note unexpected incidents on cage cards or charts.
- Monitor patients’ behaviors and note potentially aggressive behaviors. Use caution when handling aggressive or potentially aggressive pets. Request assistance when needed.
- Monitor changes in patients’ conditions. Alert doctors or technicians to significant changes.
- Follow isolation procedures. Prevent contact between contagious animals and others. Using the designated products and dilutions for disinfectants, properly disinfect your shoes, hands, and clothing before leaving isolation areas.
- Prepare meals and feed animals. Note appetite on cage cards or patient records.
- 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.
- 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.
- Understand how to stop bleeding by using styptic pencils, powder, or other means.
- Identify a patient’s level of pain and possible causes of pain, and understand the medications and methods used to control pain.
- Assist kennel staff in medicating and treating boarders.
General Technical Tasks
- Restrain pets in a manner that allows necessary work to be performed, minimizes stress to patients, and ensures the safety of patients and people. Safely and effectively apply and use restraints such as muzzles, towels, and gloves.
- Perform venipunctures using patients’ cephalic, saphenous, and jugular veins in a manner that minimizes trauma to patients and injury to veins and allows you to successfully obtain a nonhemolyzed sample.
- Collect urine and fecal samples.
- Prepare slides of body fluids. Air dry and stain them as directed.
- Make blood smears with properly feathered edges that ensure accurate white and red blood cell interpretation.
- Maintain stains and other supplies in a manner that avoids contamination and ensures correct results.
- Use proper stain techniques to maximize diagnostic interpretation of prepared slides.
- Maintain test kits under proper environmental conditions.
- 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.
- Perform fecal examinations, including direct, centrifugation, and flotation procedures.
- Set up and read Azostix®, blood glucose test strips, and urinalysis dipsticks.
- Assist with euthanasia procedures. Hold off veins and release pressure at the appropriate times.
- Provide basic life support, including CPR, airway maintenance, and oxygen therapy.
- Apply and remove temporary bandages, splints or casts.
- Control bleeding using pressure bandages and tourniquets.
- Provide fluid and pharmacologic therapy under veterinary supervision.
- Provide cooling for heatstroke patients under direction of DVM.
- Know how to set up and break down the Snyder O2 cage. Be familiar with how to start up and calibrate the cages and make adjustments to the O2 level.
- Maintain and stock the crash cart.
- Sterile placement of long term or central IV lines and their maintenance.
- Be familiar with common toxicities (i.e., chocolate, Ibuprofen, rodenticides) and know how to locate information on uncommon ones. Know location of Pet Poison Control numbers.
- Develop or locate and maintain equipment and instrument maintenance logs.
- Understand aseptic principles and apply them to surgical patients, instruments, equipment, and rooms.
- Know the names of instruments and where they are stored.
- Know the different sizes and types of suture and their usage.
- Get out masks, gloves, caps, gowns and towels for surgeon and yourself.
- Prepare the surgery suite(s) for incoming patients including surgical table, anesthesia machines, monitoring equipment, IV fluids, CRIs and suction.
- Ensure that proper surgical authorization paperwork has been signed by owners. Read over medical records.
- Perform pre-anesthetic assessment of patient including ECG and BP if able. Make sure that all pre-anesthetic bloodwork/testing has been done.
- Prepare patients for surgery. Express bladder if necessary. Clip surgical fields with straight margins. Minimize tissue trauma. Properly scrub and prepare surgical fields. Maintain clean fields when moving patients.
- Properly position and align patients for surgery.
- Use appropriate warming devices (IV fluid warmers, forced warm air, etc) to maintain the body temperatures of anesthetic and surgical patients.
- Ground patients when using electrocautery.
- Properly scrub hands and arms for surgical cleanliness, and aseptically gown and glove yourself when called to assist or “scrub in.”
- Assist surgeons with aseptic gowning and gloving.
- Anticipate surgeons’ needs for assistance, instruments, and patient monitoring, and treatments.
- Assist with intra-abdominal lavage and suction.
- Stimulate and care for puppies and kittens removed by cesarean section.
- Maintain surgery logs with patients’ names, doctors’ names, procedures performed, types and amounts of pre-anesthetic and anesthetic agents, and surgical times.
- Maintain controlled-substance logs with patients’ names, doctors’ names, types and amounts of drugs used, amounts of drugs remaining, and your initials.
- Keep controlled drugs secured to meet Drug Enforcement Agency and state board specifications.
- Update patient records with drugs administered, procedures performed, and patient status during surgeries and recoveries.
Surgical Cleaning Tasks—primarily Assistant duties, but be able to perform/train/supervise as needed
- Clean operating rooms and equipment after use using proper disinfection protocols.
- Clean surgical prep and recovery areas.
- Wash, sterilize, and store endotracheal tubes.
- Dispose of used needles and syringes and other sharp objects as set forth by the practice’s policy and OSHA standards.
- Know procedures for disposal of biohazard waste/hazardous materials.
- Clean surgical instruments by hand and/or ultrasonic cleaner.
- Operate and maintain the autoclave.
- Pack and autoclave instruments, drapes and gowns using cloth/paper wraps or sleeves. 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.
- Be sufficiently familiar with the anesthetic machines (including gas flow/O2 pathways) to operate and maintain them.
- Routinely check and change soda lime. Record dates of soda-lime changes on the machines.
- Check anesthetic hoses for leaks (know how to perform leak checks) and internal contaminants.
- Ensure that the anesthetic scavenging system is functional.
- Understand the differences between rebreathing and non-rebreathing systems, adjustments needed for oxygen flow rates, and anesthetic percentages used for each.
- Regularly check the level of inhalant anesthetic in vaporizers. Add anesthetic as needed.
- Check pressures in oxygen tanks regularly and replace tanks at appropriate times. Check regularly for leaks in oxygen hoses and couplings.
- Connect oxygen E tanks to anesthetic machines without damaging gaskets. Maintain spare gaskets and replace them if they are damaged.
- Complete the anesthetic checklist prior to anesthetizing patients. Organize induction supplies.
- Test endotracheal tube cuffs for leaks prior to use and replace them.
- Know the volume of air that should be used to inflate cuffs to pressure levels that prevent leakage without traumatizing tracheas.
- Attach proper sized rebreathing bag to anesthetic machine.
- Generally understands the various anesthetic agents used for different patients.
- Prepare/print out emergency drug sheet for each patient.
- Know reversal drugs for the procedure if applicable.
- Administer pre-anesthetic drugs to surgical patients as directed. Record times of administration.
- Pre-oxygenate surgical patients that are at particular risk for oxygen deprivation as directed.
- Administer IV, IM, and inhalation anesthetic agents safely.
- Estimate endotracheal tube diameters for patients. Safely pass endotracheal tubes and ensure proper fits.
- Use a laryngoscope or other light source as needed to pass tubes.
- Check patients for proper respiratory function during intubation to ensure that tubes are in the trachea and not the esophagus.
- Monitor surgical patients by tracking anesthetic depths, heart rates, respiratory rates, temperatures, pulse oximetry, capnography, NIBP/IBP and ECGs during anesthetic procedures. Identify and troubleshoot malfunctions of monitoring equipment. Inform management of needed servicing or repairs.
- Adjust gas anesthesia for each patient to safely maintain proper surgical planes. Administer additional injectable anesthetics within safety guidelines as needed to maintain desired surgical depths and proper pain management.
- Use palpebral, toe pinch, and corneal reflexes to assess and maintain necessary surgical planes.
- Recognize anesthetic crises and respond appropriately with anesthetic drug adjustments, emergency drugs, mechanical resuscitation and defibrillation as necessary.
- Properly and completely fill out anesthesia record/flow sheet for each surgical patient.
- Maintain anesthetic log books so as to be in compliance with AAHA and state board standards.
- Monitor patients’ recoveries. Protect patients from aspiration and hypothermia. Deflate cuffs and remove endotracheal tubes as soon as gag reflexes return. Continue to practice pain management protocols.
- Maintain radiographic and shielding equipment to maximize patients’ and employees’ safety. Record maintenance data.
- Maintain table, tube head and lightbulbs.
- Know how to perform radiographic contrast studies, such as barium swallows, upper and lower contrast studies of the GI system, excretory urograms, IV pyelograms and cystourethrograms. for example.
- Minimize radiation hazards. Use protective lead lined equipment and wear dosimetry badges during radiographic exposures.
- Position patients to obtain diagnostic-quality radiographs of skeletal anatomy, internal organs, superficial lesions, or extremities.
- Consistently use right and left markers.
- Understand the Sound Eklin software system. Be able to properly enter patients and make adjustments to the images as needed. Be able to bring up and send images to referring DVMs or to specialists for interpretation.
- Maintain a radiograph log book that complies with AAHA standards and/or state laws.
- Ultrasound and Echocardiogram Tasks
- Prepare patients for ultrasound—clip appropriate areas to be imaged if required.
- Warm the ultrasound gel before use.
- Properly restrain and position patients for ultrasonography/echos.
- Clean and maintain ultrasound equipment.
Inventory-Management Tasks (in conjunction with Assistants)
- Discuss new products with detail representatives and doctors.
- Know where back stock is located for hospital supplies. Ensure that medical supplies are fully stocked in the hospital. If items are running low, place them on the order list.
- Receive and stock supplies, matching invoices with packaged goods. Report all shortages, overages, and damaged goods.
- Ensure that medical supplies are always available.
- Regularly check for outdated supplies. Remove and replace them as instructed by the practice manager.
- In addition to the Veterinary Technician position, the Lvl III 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 Lead Technician will participate in recruiting and hiring new technical staff members. As a key leading member of the technical team, the Lead 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.
Physical Duties and Responsibilities
- Lift and/or carry up to 40 pounds from floor level and above at least several times per day
- The ability to work in a stationary position at a computer for long periods of time
- The ability to stand, walk, stoop, bend, twist, kneel, crouch, and climb for long periods of time
- The ability to physically restrain all sizes of pets on the floor and on the exam table
- Must be able to grasp, hold, and manipulate objects
- Possess vision abilities to detect, observe and assess, including close, distance, color, and peripheral vision as well as depth perception and the ability to adjust focus
- Potential for exposure to anesthetic gases with proper protective measures
- Potential for exposure to zoonotic diseases
Benefits of working at Evolution Veterinary Specialists:
- Matching 401(k)
- Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance
- PTO including some Paid Holidays (based on position’s schedule)
- Career training environment
- Discretionary Employee Bonus Program
- Employee Pet Discount
- Reimbursable Expenses including Scrub allowance and training