Delving Into the Harmonious Partnership Between Vets and Veterinary Assistants

Partnership Between Vets and Veterinary AssistantsFor those who truly love and connect with animals, a vet clinic is the ideal work environment. It’s a place where they can be surrounded by cats, dogs and other animals that they love and care about, all while doing rewarding work that leaves them feeling fulfilled. Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about veterinary work is that you have to become a veterinarian in order to work with animals. That’s simply not true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite — there are many positions at a vet hospital for people of all backgrounds and skill levels, allowing you to pursue a career in animal care. By understanding the unique relationship that exists between a vet and a veterinarian assistant, you can decide if veterinary assisting is the right professional path for you.

What Does a Veterinary Assistant Do?

A veterinary assistant often works in the clinical setting, whether in a veterinary practice or a vet hospital. Typically, the assistant works alongside a veterinarian or a vet tech to provide support during office visits and procedures. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association[1], veterinarian assistant tasks may vary based on the clinic they work in, but most assistants complete a certificate or training program as well as receive on-the-job training to prepare for their responsibilities.

Hands-On Tasks

This is primarily considered to be a hands-on position where you will have a lot of contact with both the animals at the clinic and the pet owners who bring them in for care. According to Penn Foster[2], typical tasks that a veterinarian assistant may be responsible for include:

Grooming

In some cases, veterinary clinics provide basic grooming services for dogs, cats and small mammals. This can include sanitary trims to keep the animal’s coat clean and healthy, as well as nail trims. In most cases, the vet assistant will take care of these tasks, giving them an opportunity to connect with and care for the animals they serve.

Keeping Equipment Sterilized and Cleaned

Veterinary assistants are often responsible for clinical tasks, such as sterilizing and cleaning equipment that is needed by the veterinarian or the vet tech. Tools and other clinical equipment need to be sterilized prior to and following any procedures performed by the veterinarian.

Exam Room Set Up

Before a pet owner and their animal patient enters an exam room for care, the room must be cleaned and prepared. The veterinarian assistant often sets up the exam room so that it is ready to welcome the patient. During the set-up, the veterinary assistant will often review the patient’s chart to determine what tools the veterinarian may require for the appointment.

Helping Vets When Needed

In some cases, depending on the size of the animal or the type of care they require, the veterinarian may need the physical assistance of the vet assistant. The vet assistant may help keep an animal calm, secure or comfortable. They can hold the animal still for the veterinarian or distract the animal by using treats, food or a simple toy. Veterinarians often appreciate having their assistants nearby in case they need an extra hand during an exam or a procedure.

Customer-Facing Tasks

Veterinary assistants also often have direct contact with customers at the vet clinic or hospital, allowing them to establish relationships with long term clients and provide the stellar service they come to expect from the facility. As noted by VeterinarianEDU.org[3], veterinary assistants may be responsible for some of these customer-facing tasks:

Scheduling Appointments

In many clinics, veterinary assistants are responsible for administrative tasks, some of which require them to work directly with the customers. Scheduling is a common task for veterinary assistants, and they often work to accommodate the needs of the customer while scheduling appointments, surgeries and follow-up visits for their patients.

Updating Patient Records

Veterinary assistants may be required to update patient records, so it’s vital that they are organized and detail-oriented. Patient records must be maintained accurately so the veterinarian has background information to rely on as they care for and treat their animal patients.

Pet Insurance and Billing

More and more pet owners are investing in pet insurance policies, requiring veterinary assistants to understand the world of medical billing and coding as it pertains to their role. Pet insurance is like health insurance in that visits must be properly coded and then billed appropriately to determine what coverage is provided. Then, when the insurance coverage has been received, patients can be billed for the remaining costs.

How to Keep Collaboration and Teamwork Prevalent

Veterinary assistants play a pivotal role in the clinical setting, as they become powerful partners with the veterinarians they work with. It’s essential that vet assistants prioritize collaboration and teamwork while actively working to nurture the professional relationship between themselves and the veterinarians they work with each day. Vet assistants can help foster a culture of collaboration by:

Prioritizing Constant Communication

Veterinary techs should make a point to proactively communicate with veterinarians, providing them with relevant information they have received from the pet owners prior to the appointment.

Training With a Vet

Veterinary assistants can show initiative by undergoing additional training with the veterinarian on staff at their clinic. This will provide the assistant with insight into the job responsibilities of the veterinarian, increasing understanding at the clinic. In addition, it will give the assistant a better working knowledge of the science behind veterinary care.

Developing an Educational Understanding

In some clinics, veterinary assistants are not required to complete an educational program to secure a position — but an educational background certainly provides added value. A veterinary assistant who has completed a certificate program will be able to better connect and collaborate with other veterinary professionals on staff.

Why Is Collaboration Needed?

When all the professionals in the vet clinic or vet hospital are working in tandem in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, the entire operation runs cohesively. This leads to better care for the animals, better customer service for the pet parents and a more positive work environment for everyone employed at the clinic. Collaboration is crucial because it leads to:

Happier Patients and Pet Owners

Customers can feel it when they walk into a vet clinic that has a positive work environment. It permeates the atmosphere, leaving them feeling confident and assured in the care their pets are receiving.

More Efficiency in the Vet Office

Collaboration ensures that all employees in the vet office are working in tandem, leading to timely appointments and efficient processes. When an office operates efficiently, employee satisfaction ratings typically soar.

Explore Carrington College’s Veterinary Assisting Program

At Carrington College, we offer an engaging Veterinary Assisting Certificate of Achievement program which prepares our students to successfully work under the supervision of vets in a clinical setting. By prioritizing skill development and offering a solid educational foundation for the veterinary field, we ensure that our graduates are prepared to seamlessly transition from the classroom to the vet clinic or hospital. Request more information about our Veterinary Assisting Certificate of Achievement program today.

  1. www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/yourvet/veterinary-technicians-and-veterinary-assistants
  2. www.pennfoster.edu/blog/your-veterinary-assistant-career-guide-salary-job-duties-requirements
  3. www.veterinarianedu.org/2017/03/veterinary-assistants-and-their-pivotal-role-to-the-veterinary-team/

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