Providing Vet Techs with More Responsibility in Appointments

September 8, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

E’Lise Christensen, DVM, DACVB, veterinary behaviorist at Veterinary Behavior Consultations of Colorado & New York City, discusses the importance of veterinarians delegating certain appointments to veterinary technicians.

E’Lise Christensen, DVM, DACVB, veterinary behaviorist at Veterinary Behavior Consultations of Colorado & New York City, discusses the importance of veterinarians delegating certain appointments to veterinary technicians.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“To hit all the points [that] you want to hit during a veterinary visit can be really difficult. One thing I strongly recommend is a checklist and outsourcing information where appropriate to your technical staff. There are some things that a veterinarian really should be discussing with the client directly, but there are many others that don’t require the veterinarian’s expertise exactly, but they do need a veterinarian technician’s expertise and a veterinarian’s thoughts.

When you delegate appropriate information to your technicians, then you can deliver the information that is most intense or complicated or requires the most teamwork to solve or create a plan for. Now, I think [that] you’ve made the best use of your time, and when you do that, your technicians are happy because a good technician wants more responsibility in the appointment and probably really enjoys the human-animal bond, sometimes way more than a veterinarian does.

If we can get that [vet tech] enlisted and trained to deliver the company line on health and behavior, then, as a veterinarian, you can really provide the service that only you can provide. That’s where I see a lot of veterinarians running into trouble: either their technical staff are not trained to deliver those little talks, or the veterinarian has a hard time giving the technician the time to do it because it’s stressful to delegate. But the thing about behavior is that it’s a place where technicians really bond to your practice.

It’s hard to find great techs right now, so as long as you don’t put them in a positon of having to do behavior questions that they don’t know the answer to, or you don’t put them in the position of thinking they know an answer [that] they don’t know, and then having that get delivered to your client, then you can really save time and still save lives by really getting a team approach.”