November Firstline Challenge topic: Patient care


These Firstline Challenge activities will help you keep pets healthier.

Each phase of the Firstline Challenge's patient-care component walks you through a series of activities that will help you and your colleagues keep pets healthier. We envision that completing all four phases will take you about one month, but you're welcome to go at whatever pace is comfortable for you. To get started, check out No. 1 in Phase 1. Good luck, and long live pets!

Phase 1: Learn more

We suggest you complete one of these steps each day.

    1. Read "Behaviors suggestive of postoperative pain in cats" by Sheilah Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVA, DECVAA, CVA, MRCVS

    2. Read "Blood tests: 10 smart responses to clients' questions" by Caitlin Rivers, senior staff trainer

    3. Read "Give clients the skinny on dermatology" by Liz Nartowicz, associate editor

    4. Read "Get feline health out of the shadows" by Kerry Hillard Johnson, Firstline editor

Phase 2: Take action

We suggest you complete these activities over the course of two weeks.

    1. Thorough medical records help you keep pets healthy. Use master problem sheets to collect important patient details in an at-a-glance format.

    2. Write scripts that help team members schedule follow-up visits with clients. Take a look at this script for scheduling a dental cleaning.

    3. Develop educational handouts that help clients understand-and seek-the care their pets need. Here are a couple to get you started: Wellness examination report card and Important reasons to spay or neuter your pet.

    4. Be sure you and your team members are prepared to offer preventive medicine. For example, start a behavior program or senior wellness program and make sure you're up to speed on parasite prevention.

Phase 3: Check your progress

We suggest you complete these steps over the course of one week.

    1. Take this photo dermatology quiz to see whether you have skin sense.

    2. Ask the veterinarian or your manager whether your patient-care skills have improved. Perhaps you'd like to look into taking on the roll of patient care coordinator.

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