Q. Our practice does lab testing in-house and the results often vary. How can we boost our proficiency?
"The best way to get consistent results is to handle all samples consistently and correctly," says Caitlin Rivers, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a veterinary assistant and technician supervisor at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa. "And the best thing team members can do to improve their proficiency is to draw and test a lot of samples."
Rivers uses this approach to train team members at Metzger Animal Hospital to properly collect samples:
Once they draw the samples, Rivers advises team members to use the method recommended by the machine manufacturer to transfer the blood from the syringe to the blood tube. "How you handle the sample once it's in the syringe is just as important as the draw itself."
- First, team members practice properly holding the syringe and pulling the plunger.
- Next, they practice drawing from a fake leg made from self-adhering bandage tape and a Penrose drain piece.
- Finally, they practice sampling live animals, starting with sedated canines and progressing to active patients.