The veterinary technician's role in cancer pain management
Veterinary technicians typically are the first to greet clients and assess the patient. What's more, clients often enjoy a separate relationship with technicians and convey different degrees of information to you than to the doctor. This makes your position particularly important to cancer patients and their owners.1
To help create an optimal outcome, follow these steps:
1. Educate yourself on the most current techniques to alleviate pain (e.g. drugs, possible complications, interventional techniques).2. Educate pet owners realistically and involve them in creating the overall plan.
3. Use a systematic approach to score the pain throughout treatment.
4. Communicate to the veterinarians the degree of pain the animal may be experiencing at home.
To be effective as a technician, you must be able to assess the pain accurately and in a timely fashion. You should be versed in identifying the effectiveness and side effects of treatment, as well as be proactive in educating clients on the process.
1. Withrow SJ, Vail DM. Withrow and MacEwen's small animal clinical oncology. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co, 2001;183,185-187,190,220-222,229.