Speaking Topics

All talks formatted for typical 50-minute lecture, can be increased or decreased in length.

First Impressions Count: Assessing and Stabilizing (General)

“First impressions” are formed in the first three seconds of new situation.  Visual cues such as demeanour, body language, and grooming are used to evaluate a person.  What many don’t realize is that we can use these same skills to evaluate and triage emergency patients.   Triage is an art form, and this lecture will give you the tools you need to recognize and classify patients into a triage scale, to ensure they are seen on a priority basis.

You Can’t Prevent a Hospital Associated Infection, or Can You? (General)

In recent years it has become apparent that veterinary medicine is moving in a similar direction to human medicine. We utilize many invasive devices, such as intravenous catheter, central lines, urinary catheters, mechanical ventilators, etc, and yet, in the grand scheme of things, we pay little attention to the maintenance of these devices to avoid infection. Additionally, with many of our pets being fed RAW diets, many pets being administered long term antimicrobials, and increased care of patients in intensive care settings, opportunistic pathogenic bacteria are being selected for, and often become resident in our patients. This is a concern not only for ourselves, but also for other patients in our hospital. This session will talk about strategies to minimize hospital associated infection through various maintenance protocols, and protocols for managing known infectious patients.

The Heart of the Matter: Cardiac Nursing (General to Advanced)

The heart is a complex organ which when working perfectly undergoes a series of events which produces a contraction roughly 100 times per minute.  This process involves physiology, electrical conduction and mechanical actions within the heart.  A defect in any part of the process can produce potentially fatal consequences.  In this lecture we will discuss the “normal heart” and then look at the “abnormal heart” through abnormal auscultations, ECG rhythms, and echocardiograms.  We will also discuss common nursing techniques for cardiac patients.

Gasping for Breath I: Respiratory Emergencies (General)

Sometimes there are subtle signs of respiratory compromise, which often progress quickly to profound respiratory distress.  Technicians of every level must be able to recognize mild, moderate or severe dyspnea, and respiratory failure, and know various techniques that will give the best chance of a positive outcome.

Gasping for Breath II: Respiratory Diseases (General)

Numerous respiratory diseases affect our veterinary patients.  We will examine the features we commonly see with each type of respiratory disease, and discuss common treatments that will be prescribed by the veterinarian.  Oxygen supplementation, and oxygen toxicity will be discussed in detail.  An understanding of each disease process and its treatment is vital for the veterinary nurse to be well informed and provide the best care to each patient.

Hemodynamic Gizmos and Gadgets (and how to use them) (Advanced)

Does a strong pulse indicate a patient is “normotensive”? We will examine methods of arterial blood pressure evaluation, and what the numbers mean.  This lecture looks at both indirect and direct methods of blood pressure measurement, the methods, advantages and disadvantages of each.

The INS and OUTS of Renal Nursing (General)

Kidney injury is a common condition in our veterinary patients and can occur via chronic or acute mechanisms.  It is important to have an understanding of the specialized care necessary for renal patients.  We will discuss primarily Acute Kidney Injury, its mechanisms and nursing considerations.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and the RECOVER Initiative: (General)

Veterinary medicine finally has it’s own guidelines for CPR! Now, instead of modifying human guidelines to suit our needs, we have evidence based, critically evaluated guidelines that are for cats and dogs. In this session, we will discuss those guidelines in detail, show you what has changed, and give you ideas of how to adopt the new guidelines in your own practice!

Oxygen, Yes, it is a drug (Advanced)

A focus on the use of oxygen in critical care, assessing the need for oxygen through blood gases and saturations, assessing how much oxygen to give (titrating!), and how to deliver oxygen effectively to critical patients. Includes the physiology of oxygen delivery and the oxy-hemoglobin dissociation curve, and how both are affected in critical animals.

Recognizing an Emergency (For front office staff)

Can you recognize an emergency when it arrives at your front desk? Can you see beyond the owners anxiety and critically evaluate the pet? Can you perform telephone triage? Do you the point that it is important to get the technician or veterinarian involved? These are skills that all front office staff need! In this session, we will use video, sound and pictures to help you to decide if a pet is truly emergent. We will also discuss strategies for prioritizing (triaging) patients based on urgency, and also how to recognize if a patient is going “downhill” in your waiting room.

Pain Management, the Role of Veterinary Technicians (General to Advanced) (can be up to 2 hrs, also works well with the IV complications, and CRI talks)

Pain management is an area that technicians can really take charge and “own”. Veterinary Technicians are in many cases the primary caregivers in veterinary clinics.  We are the first to notice changes in patient condition, and must notify the attending veterinarian.  As veterinary medicine advances, and general practices are performing increasingly advanced procedures, it is becoming more important for technicians to reliably recognize pain in our patients.

This lecture will concentrate on recognizing pain through a series of videos, using some classic examples, and many that are more subtle.  We will then discuss methods for differentiating pain vs. dysphoria.  We will have an overview of frequently used analgesics, multi-modal analgesia, and briefly discuss the pharmacology and synergies between classes of drugs.  Finally, we will discuss constant rate infusions and run through some example calculations.

Oh, that’s Gross! The Technician’s Role in Wound Management (Advanced)

In the management of acute and chronic wounds, the role of the technician is paramount.  Management of the severe wound is often a very intensive practice.  This lecture will aid in understanding the common types of wounds we see in veterinary medicine, and the process of wound healing.  A discussion of common strategies employed in the veterinary clinic to promote healing, such as sugar, honey, and special bandaging techniques will follow.  Warning, this lecture uses lots of images of pretty gross wounds!

Monitoring the Critical Patient (General to Advanced)

Not only is it important for technicians to know when they should use various monitoring instruments, it is even more important to understand how each device works, and their limitations.  This lecture reviews the function and use of various monitors, including pulse oximeter, oscillometric and Doppler blood pressure, and ECG interpretation of common arrhythmias.

TECHniques in Critical Care (General to Advanced)

This lecture will discuss nasal oxygen catheters, nasal feeding tubes, and peripheral venous catheters, their use and tips and tricks for placing in any patient!

Constant Rate Infusions (General)

Does the idea of having to calculate a ug/kg/min CRI of dobutamine make you shiver in your boots? This lecture will use a very interactive approach to discuss CRI’s; their use, contraindications and indications, and how to calculate using a variety of scenarios.

Constant Rate Infusions: The things you didn’t know (Advanced)

So, you spent all that time calculating out your CRI. Now, how are you going to make it? Do you understand compatibility, proper dilution, and delivery of your CRI? There are lots of ways to create that CRI and lots of ways to do it wrong. This lecture will focus on proper techniques to create the most accurate infusion!

Oh Oh, Respiratory Failure! Get that Patient on a Ventilator! (Advanced) What is respiratory failure? This lecture will review the physiology of normal respiration, and the two types of respiratory failure.  We will discuss the indications for mechanical ventilation and what the common initial ventilator settings mean.

Nursing the Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy Patient (Advanced) CRRT is becoming a more common site in many veterinary practices, and while there are numerous training modules usually provided by the distributor of the CRRT unit, there are very few options that discuss the unique nursing considerations for veterinary patients.  This lecture will discuss many of those challenges of nursing the CRRT patient.

Complications of Intravenous Infusions and Medications (General to Advanced) While it is something we do as technicians everyday, there are many potential complications associated with IV fluids and medications.  Drug and fluid incompatibilities, extravasation, and air embolism, while thankfully not very common, are certainly complications that we must be able to recognize and react to immediately.

Placement and Maintenance of Peripheral Intravenous Catheters (General)

We all know how to place an intravenous catheter, but do we really know the tips and tricks necessary for those difficult veins or difficult patients? This session will discuss current literature on IV catheter placement, strategies for success, and dealing with the patient that you can’t seem to keep a catheter in!

Placement and Maintenance of Central Venous Catheters (NEW)

Central lines are indicated for many situations in veterinary critical care, including serial blood sampling, administration of incompatible medications/fluids, and for long-term venous access. These catheters may be placed using different methods, and in various sites in our veterinary patients.  The method and site chosen should be discussed in advance and will be based on a number of patient factors.  Once placed, maintenance of the catheter is key to ensure both the function of the catheter, and the health of the patient.  This lecture will discuss placement of central lines, and the maintenance of the device, using the current literature.

Maintenance of Invasive Devices to Avoid Hospital Associated Infections

In critical care, we frequently use multiple invasive devices, such as peripheral or central venous catheters, urinary catheters, drains, and ventilators, in a population of high-risk patients that are typically stressed and immunosuppressed. This lecture will focus on device-related hospital associated infection, and provide attendees with the evidence to support the development of hospital placement and maintenance protocols and device “bundles”.

Check and Double-Check: The Nursing Bundle in Practice

Yes, a simple checklist CAN save a life! A nursing bundle is used to keep us on task, ensure that we are not missing any steps when performing such procedures as placing or maintaining IV catheters, central lines, urinary catheters, etc.  While universal, evidence based guidelines for the placement of each of these items do not exist in veterinary medicine as yet, we need to practice to at least our facility standard.  A checklist can be used to ensure consistency from one technician to the next, and to avoid steps being missed.  Ultimately, a reduction in morbidity and mortality should result.

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