Exam Room Team Members, (ERTs) have many different responsibilities.
To the pet's family, the ERT is the friendly and familiar face that welcomes the pet and their family into the exam room. They listen to the concerns that the family has about the pet. Through the years, they treasure the many amusing and touching stories they have the privilege of hearing, while becoming very close with the patients and their families. By having a relationship with the family, the teammembers are better acquainted with the pet's history and can give educated recommendations for the best care possible.
The dogs recognize the ERTs as the “cookie givers” with magical pockets full of treats that never seem to empty. The cats are treated to cheese and treats, but also enjoy a good scratching on the cheeks and rump. They enjoy the security of a warm embrace during an exam.
Along with the doctors, the ERTs call to see how things are going after vaccinations and visits when the patient has not been feeling well, and help answer any questions the family may have. It is always very rewarding to be able to deliver good news, such as a negative heartworm test.
Behind the scenes, ERTs do much more. They are part of a team that is dedicated to giving the best care with the least amount of stress to the pet. Each ERT works with the same doctor, which allows for a special relationship to be built between the team and the family. Many people look forward to seeing "their" ERT just as they look forward to seeing "their" Doctor and the ERTs look forward to seeing "their" patients and families.
Among other things, team members set up the exam rooms, spray the cat rooms with calming pheromones, prepare treats, rub ears and bellies, desensitize areas before vaccines are given, and gently hold the pet so the doctor can make a full examination. ERTs are an integral part of making the pet as comfortable as possible. Each pet is treated as an individual, and each appointment is customized for that particular pet.
The ERTs prepare for the day by reviewing the medical records of the upcoming scheduled appointments. They also help the doctors fill prescriptions, make phone calls, set up tests for the lab to run, and various other duties to help the day run smoothly.
Throughout the course of any day, an ERT can help Lab Techs draw blood, assist with x-rays, and hold pets during treatments. They assist doctors during ultrasounds and some of the ERTs even help during laparoscopic procedures. They are the reassuring face when the pet wakes up in recovery after sedation or anesthesia. ERTs also monitor vitals after surgical procedures while the pet is in recovery.
The ERTs love their jobs and the pets who rely on them. Because they become so involved with the welfare of the patient, it can sometimes be an emotional rollercoaster. In a typical day, an ERT can be celebrating with one family and grieving with another. In the midst of it all, they must be ready to jump in during emergencies – and yet, none of our ERTs would trade their jobs for the world. From kitten hugs to puppy kisses, lasting friendships, and a chance to meet very special people and pets, every day is a special day for an ERT.
AHNA ERTs and the Doctors they work with:
(in order they are pictured in this article)