Practice Management Tools: Immediate, Direct, & Indirect Supervision

Immediate, Direct, and Indirect Supervision: Why It Matters

Our environment in the veterinary industry can be very fluid, with veterinarians often supervising several different situations simultaneously. Understanding the differences between the types of supervision for your licensed technicians and recognizing they do not apply in the same manner to your veterinary assistants helps protect your and your technicians’ licenses which will build trust and support among your team.

Rule 700-151-.01 Immediate Supervision
Immediate Supervision means that the duly licensed veterinarian is in audible and visual range of the animal patient and the person treating the animal.

Rule 700-15-.02 Direct Supervision

Direct supervision means that the duly licensed veterinarian is on the premises and is quickly and easily available and that the animal patient has been examined by a duly licensed veterinarian at such time as acceptable veterinary medical practice requires, consistent with the particular delegated animal health care task.

Rule 700-140.03 Indirect Supervision

Indirect supervision means the duly licensed veterinarian is not on the premises but has given either written or oral instructions for the treatment of the animal patient and the animal has been examined by a licensed veterinarian at such times as acceptable veterinary medical practice requires, consistent with the particular delegated health care task.

While each type of supervision have their advantages and disadvantages, understanding the differences between them can protect you and your technician’s licenses which will build trust and support among your team. Your technicians will feel valued and motivated, knowing they can practice within their license which in turn can boost morale and extend the longevity of your team.

With the right structure and support, you can avoid burnout and create a culture of collaboration, success, and increased productivity. So why not give your technicians the autonomy they deserve and see the positive impact it can have on your practice?

Ready to fully utilize your Veterinary Assistants and Licensed Veterinary Technicians? The “Scope of Practice” details the duties they can perform under each type of supervision.

Dentistry: The Double-Edged Sword

Dentistry is a great illustration of understanding the different types of supervision, and why it matters. We got with Dr. Kristin Scott, DVM, DAVDC, and asked her how clinic leadership can lean into fully utilizing their technicians. The first step is understanding what they can’t do while also maximizing all of the things they can do.

“On the one hand, dentistry expands a technician’s skill and their value to the practice.  There is a large variety of tasks that can be done independently, great dentistry CE is available, techs are often the first to notice the extent of oral disease and they are in a position to advocate for their patients.

On the other hand, technicians are often put in situations where they are expected to perform dental tasks beyond their comfort zone, perform them on older anesthetic patients, and perform them without the support of a doctor readily available.  Regularly being in that situation can cause burnout from the stress it causes.

The patient deserves to have a trained technician and a dedicated doctor working together to achieve successful procedures.  The presence of both is integral to the welfare of the patient and, subsequently, results in increased productivity when everyone feels supported in doing the best job possible.”

Interested in hearing more from Dr. Scott?

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