Job Title: Veterinary Assistant
Reports to: Surgery Supervisor / Wellness Coordinator
Job Summary: The Veterinary Assistant (VA) provides support to technicians and veterinarian staff in caring for all animals in the clinic. The VA is responsible for daily basic care and safe handling of all surgical and/or wellness services patients, and any other animals in the care of the clinic. Working in a high-volume fast-paced environment, this position assists veterinarians and technician staff with procedures, provides basic animal care, and client education with constant attention to each animal’s needs.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Provides superior client education and instruction through prompt and courteous service in person, by telephone or through email, keeping the customer informed from admission through discharge and after discharge. Communicates clearly, accurately and professionally with the public.
- Navigates difficult customer situations in a professional and courteous manner that results in satisfied customers.
- Demonstrates caring and respectful attitude at all times, especially when dealing with sensitive or emotional situations.
- Accurately evaluates temperament and behavior of patients to maintain safety of self, staff, clients and patients. Safely handles and restrains patient effectively and with least possible stress to the patient. Identifies and uses appropriate safety equipment when indicated to minimize risk of injury to self, staff, clients and patients.
- Assesses animal health and well being and notifies technician and/or licensed veterinarian, as appropriate, of any concerns immediately. Accurately determines gender of animals prior to surgery.
- Provides basic care for patients in the clinic under the supervision of a veterinarian and in accordance with veterinary standards, company policies, procedures and protocols, and all applicable laws.
- Promptly and accurately identifies urgent patient needs, seeks appropriate support and notifies veterinarian immediately.
- Identifies need for documentation and consistently documents findings, assessments, treatments and all significant occurrences in patient records on a timely basis accurately, completely and professionally, using proper documentation practices.
- Navigates records, analyzes and interprets medical and other data to provide excellent patient care and customer service.
- Performs perioperative patient care including safe handling of patients at all times, effective appropriate restraint of animals for anesthesia induction and intubation, surgical site preparation, and monitoring of anesthetized patients in accordance with company policy and accepted veterinary standards.
- Provides safe, compassionate handling and restraint of dogs and cats for procedures or examination and at all times during the patient’s visit in accordance with company policies & procedures.
- Properly and accurately analyzes test specimens.
- Follows infection control procedures at all times.
- Analyzes and appropriately identifies occurrences requiring documentation in patient records. Consistently documents such occurrences promptly and correctly, using proper documentation practices and correct medical terminology when indicated.
- Navigates medical records, analyzes and interprets data to form correct conclusions in order to serve clients, identify billable services, and assist other staff members.
- Maintains confidentiality of client and patient financial and medical information.
- Maintains a clean and clutter free work area.
- Maintains cleanliness of surgical suites, prep room, recovery area, exam rooms and cage rooms in accordance with company policy and infection control standards.
- Performs general housekeeping as needed, including dusting, mopping, sweeping, window cleaning, and laundry.
- Maintains cleanliness and sanitary condition of all equipment in the surgical, prep, recovery and animal care areas.
- Ensures proper disposal of regulated medical waste and sharps.
- Cleans, wraps and sterilizes surgical instruments in accordance with company policy.
- Maintains cages, carriers, traps, crates and other areas where animals are housed clean and free of bodily fluids, spills and other soil at all times.
- Immediately cleans up any bodily fluids, solids or hair to ensure safe and clean work environment.
- Provides support of licensed veterinary staff in patient emergencies, including retrieving data from medical records, retrieving supplies needed, and providing patient restraint as directed by veterinary technician or veterinarian.
- In the absence of licensed veterinary staff, supports technician staff in providing basic first aid to animals presented to the clinic in emergency.
- Regular attendance and punctuality is required. Vacations, absences, and tardiness must be discussed with the direct supervisor by phone or in person.
- Flexibility in schedule is required, including the ability to work evening, early morning and weekends. Overtime may be needed as determined by the needs of the organization.
All employees, regardless of position, may be called upon to handle animals.
Other duties as assigned.
Education & Qualifications
- Must be 18 years or older
- HS diploma or equivalent required
- 1 year professional or volunteer experience in a veterinary, pet boarding or shelter setting required
- Experience in a high volume spay/neuter setting preferred
- Valid NJ Driver’s license required to drive company vehicles
- Completion of formal Veterinary Assistant training program preferred
Knowledge & Skill Requirements
- Must embrace the mission and goals of the organization
- Ability to work effectively and efficiently in a hectic, high pressure environment
- Service oriented, polite and professional
- Able to recognize warning signs in animal behavior
- Ability to understand and explain common medical issues
- Ability to read and understand technical medical information and instructions
- Basic math skills
- Basic computer literacy – ability to learn practice software
- Ability to read, write and communicate verbally and clearly in English (bilingual English/Spanish is a plus)
Physical Requirements/Work Environment
- High volume, hectic Veterinary office similar to a medical care/urgent care environment.
- Noise level varies; animals will make noise including dogs barking, cats meowing or screeching, telephones ringing, equipment alert tones.
- Must be able to stand and walk for up to 10 hours.
- Must be able to repeatedly lift and carry loads up to 50 pounds throughout the day; must be able to carry heavier loads with assistance.
- Must be able to bend, kneel and reach repeatedly.
- Must be physically able to prepare/administer treatments and medications and operate instruments and equipment.
- Must possess visual, olfactory and auditory acuity sufficient to ensure accurate assessment of patients, reading instruments or test results and operation of equipment.
- Must be able to work, reach and lift on hands and knees.
- Must be able to safely stand, reach and lift using a ladder and step stool.
- Must be able to cope with death adequately so as to offer appropriate support to the bereaved owner.
- Must be able to function effectively during emergency situations so as to provide support to patients and veterinary staff.
- Must be able to recognize a need for assistance and ask for help.
- Services may be provided occasionally off site, outdoors or indoors in temporary settings throughout NJ.