December 20, 2016

Using Critical Thinking in Clinical Pathology: Vet Techs

David Liss, RVT, VTS, CVPM, program director at Platt College, discusses the need for critical thinking in clinical pathology.
By American Veterinarian Editorial Staff


David Liss, RVT, VTS, CVPM, program director at Platt College, discusses the need for critical thinking in clinical pathology.
 
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
 
“I think clinical pathology is all about critical thinking; for example, a patient comes in and they have blood drawn and a veterinary technician is looking under the microscope at the different cells. We cannot legally diagnose, but we can certainly assess what we are seeing. If we see an organism that we recognize or if we see signs of anemia or changes in the red blood cell color that indicate different diseases, there are two options that we can take. 1) Non-critical thinking: which would be to write down our findings on a chart, give it to the veterinarian and move on to the next thing. That chart may sit in the rack for an hour or two and the patient is sitting in the cage. 2) Critical thinking: [Recognize] this patient is anemic, let’s get some more bloodwork; what is their packed cell volume (PCV); do I need to prepare for a transfusion; let me alert the veterinarian—all of those pieces come together and that patient gets a lot higher quality care in a much shorter amount of time. Rather than the tradition of just writing down a finding and a line of things, and no thinking as to what does this mean; how can I help; what can I assist with; what do I need to prepare for [that could potentially] be happening.”
 

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