Friday, October 14, 2011

First Day.

So today was my first day at WC.

I was flipping terrified.  I went into auto-pilot on the commute there, and started getting anxiety sweats as I walked down the block to the place.  But what can you do at that point? Nothing.  All you can do is walk in the door and act like you know what the hell is going on around you, even though the voice in your head is letting out one, long, continuous high-pitched scream of terror.  For HOURS.  The voice inside my head is now hoarse.

I trailed the head vet tech for the majority of the day - he was my main go-to person, but I pretty much could call on any tech if I needed help, and tagged along with a few other techs when they had a project to do (tech appointment, SQ fluids, ultrasound, etc).  It feels weird being one of the LVTs - I still feel like I'm in internship mode!  At BPV, we were pretty much just in the way, and they could function perfectly fine without us being underfoot.  We weren't getting paid, and some techs didn't even realize we were there, so a lot of the time we just ended up standing around, or cleaning things multiple times.  Even with my working interview being last week, I still almost feel like I'm on a working interview, but it's not - it's actually my JOB now.  I have an accountability level, and have to keep reminding myself that I am actually getting PAID to do things now.  Not going to lie, it feels weird.

One example of what feels weird to me: WC uses veterinary assistants.  BPV doesn't use assistants, they only hire techs, and techs do all the jobs - tech work, restraint, basic cleaning, etc (this is probably why they don't pay so great, even though their prices are astronomical).  I have no clinic experience outside of BPV, so I just assumed techs always did everything everywhere.  But at WC, you ask for an assistant, and suddenly there's one in front of you (assistants seem to outnumber techs 2:1) - they get the animal, restrain it, you do whatever you need to do (blood draw, injection, fluids, meds, etc), and they take the animal away and put it back in the cage/run.  As a tech, you can concentrate on the tech side of things, which I like a lot more.  Also, apparently, if you pull blood and the test that needs to be run isn't in-house, the assistant can take it and get the paperwork and bag it up instead of you doing it.  I can't say I don't like the setup.  It feels strange that even on my first day there, I wasn't the low man on the totem pole - that's not to say the vet assistants are low (the place couldn't run without them) but I'm so used to being new and being the grunt for a good long while before gaining any credit that it takes a new perspective to be able to tell someone what to do ON MY FIRST DAY OF WORK.

So I got there at 9am, and immediately jumped into things.  The head tech had me do bunches of drug calculations and tons of blood draws - one of the most challenging things, I'm finding, is remembering what tests require what kinds of blood collection tubes and what machines to use to analyze the sample.  For example, one kind of test requires two different kinds of tubes, and gets sent out, another requires one kind of tube, that uses a specific machine with a specific set of slides and directions, while another requires two smaller identical tubes, but uses the same machine as the last test, but requires a different set of slides.  So much to remember!!! At the end of the day, the tech gave me a good tip: He told me to bring in a notebook with me so I could jot down notes about procedures and tests as a reference guide (and so I wouldn't continually pester him about what slides go where).

So I won't lie - I screwed up some things.  Had a butterfly catheter fall out because I'm not used to doing blood draws with an animal being held in an upright position in the air (as opposed to the only way I ever learned/saw, with the animal lying down or sitting), couldn't remember how to run a test, missed tracking an animal's respiratory rate (only once, though, and it was more of a "whoever happens to be around at the time do it" thing), couldn't figure out that to draw up ACTH (a gel) I needed a bigger needle and kept trying with the smaller one and actually had the tech say to me, "You can't just keep doing the same thing and think it's going to work.  Bigger needle!".  Duhhh.

But I also did some good stuff today - I'm pretty spot-on about treatments, as well as remembering to log them in the computer afterward (I was on that treatment board like white on rice), I'm way better at blood draws than I previously thought (especially lat saphs), and dammit I actually remembered the name of the muscle group I was going to inject into when asked on the spot (but not until the longest nine seconds of my life dragged was the epaxial btw).  Also, I've become the queen of ear and eye cleaning.  I'm realizing that I may not know all of this stuff inherently, unfortunately, but if you tell me once, I'll remember it.  Especially if I screw it up in a major way.  Then there's no way I'll forget it.

So I ended up staying until 5.45pm (I was scheduled until 5).  Don't have to be back in until next Tuesday, and very glad for it - I need a good chunk of time to process everything that just happened today, and wrap my mind around all the things I did and will be expected to do.  My hours are almost full time (I am considered a full time employee), and my schedule has me working every other Saturday.  Not too shabby, all things considered.

All in all, no one lost any limbs, and I wasn't told not to come back.  That's my measure of a successful day!

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