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
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).
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.
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 on...it 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!