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  • #3646

    The clinic I work at is short staffed for RVTs, like every other clinic in BC it seems so we have hired some additional Assistants to help with the workload. Only 1 has any formal training from an accredicted program. The practice owner wants to utilize 3 of the more experienced assistants (5 years, 2 years and 1 years) as Tech Assistants. Myself, my co-RVT and the practice owner have composed an Assistant Task List to help set guidelines in the clinic. One task put forward by the practice owner is for the assistants to monitor anesthesia. This is something I am extremely opposed to for multiple reasons, including the fact that 2 of our 3 DVMs have less than 4 years experience, and as RVTs we have extensive training in anesthesia and do continuing education yearly to keep our skills and knowledge up to date. I have told the practice owner this and she still seems set on having the assistants monitoring. I have spoken to our BCVTA rep to the CVBC regarding RVT duties (there are no regulations other than the DVM grts to decidemwho does what) and I have a copy of the ABVMA task list, but was hoping others might have ideas to help me make my stand.


    I don’t know that I can really help you “make a stand” but, before I was certified-an assistant acting as a tech (prior to any anesthesia course), I accidentally killed a patient due to improper use of the Popoff valve and not completing my anesthesia checks. It only took 2 minutes. I had no idea how the machine worked and relied on the techs around me to do the checks (that I was not aware of). I tell you, I would never make the same mistake but it still haunts me to this day (over 6 years later). I wish I had known then what I know now-I would never have accepted the role of anesthesiologist had I realized the risk, in full extent, of anesthesia.


    The only time in our practice when assistants monitor anesthesia is when a registered tech is doing a scale and polish. Essentially the tech is still montoring just through the hands of another. I would definitely struggle with that one as it becomes an ethical dilemma- do you do what you`re told or do you do what you know is right? Good luck, hope you can convince the practice manager.

    Ashley De Santis

    I am 100% with you on this. I would not be comfortable with an assistant monitoring anesthesia. Perhaps if you explain to your DVM in more details the extent of our anesthesia knowledge and training and remind them that it isn’t just recording numbers on a sheet. It’s knowing WHAT those numbers mean, knowing the reference ranges, what to do when things are abnormal; because as mentioned above, things can change in two seconds and it can be fatal. These are difficult conversations but if you research facts and sit down and show the DVM how strongly you feel (show them some of these comments?) maybe they will listen.

    And alternate suggestion if they will not change their stance is: what is you created a training check list? For reference ranges, troubleshooting, machine set up? They have to pass all of this to be able to HELP but not be the sole monitor. I wouldn’t love this at all either, but until there are more regulations in place (like our association is working so hard for!) we usually have to “do what we are told”. Perhaps this could be a compromise until your voice is heard?


    Hi Rose,
    I am 100% with you and my hair goes up on my back when Assistants and VOA ” monitor” anesthesia.
    To help you out with some ideas: Show your DVM the new CVBC regulation of all parameters that need to be recorded
    in an anesthesia sheet. Another alternative is that you go to the patient and assess it every 5 minutes and the assistant
    tell you the numbers in between. Only you have the authority to change oxygen and Iso concentrations, additional injectables
    from Induction to analgesia.
    What ” burns me” is these assistants call themselves ” TECH”, so does teh Drs to them…..just venting


    To work in BC we as techs don’t even have to be trained so anyone can do our job. Sadly we have not changed that so to have an assistant trained or not that is what most clinics use. This has been my fight for years and got no where. Unlike most provinces which results in our lower pay.
    I am the only tech, we have assistants we trained but they basically are watched by the vet as I prepare the next animal. I am always there and keep an eye out on what is happening. Luckily our surgeries are very short.
    Until we get changes making it so only qualified people can do our job people who shouldnt be doing our job will be. Someone who takes the assistant course should not be doing monitoring either but it is cheaper and we have no real rules.
    As long as the vet realizes they are responsible if something happens not much you can do.

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