I recently had the pleasure of answering some interview questions for Dr. Caleb Frankel of VMD Technology about my career and how atdove.org came to be. Here are a few of those questions, and a link to the full article!
How did atdove.org start, where did the idea come from, and when did you get involved?
Our site started during some strategic planning sessions done by the senior leadership at DoveLewis. DoveLewis is a non-profit teaching hospital, with our founding roots in education.
In 2010 we began looking for ways to expand that teaching mission. While that was being discussed with senior management, I was talking with Avi Solomon, an ICU technician with a background in computer science, about training new technicians at DoveLewis. An intranet (don’t know this term?) for the hospital was in development and Avi and I were talking about creating videos of our technician procedure manual so that people would have a visual way to learn in addition to seeing the procedure written.
I had just gotten my iPhone and we were talking about simply filming with our phones and uploading the videos for our staff to see and to help with training.
Ron Morgan, our CEO, and Avi were chatting about the idea and both came together with a plan for a training website. As the technician manager at the time, I was brought in very early in the process to guide the medical content and help with the creation of various videos.
Through research, we learned that there was a gap in the online veterinary education market. No one was filming videos in a real, functioning clinic and nothing like what we visualized for atdove.org currently existed in the market. We realized that we could provide a valuable resource for veterinary hospitals. We have a large staff, we are used to teaching, and we saw an opportunity to share what we knew and what we learned.
What is the process of thinking up and developing content?
Most of my ideas for content come from my own experiences. I was very green when I started at DoveLewis and at the time there wasn’t a structured training program in place. It was sink or swim.
atdove.org is exactly what I would have LOVED to use as a new vet tech; the ability to see something before I have to do it, and the opportunity to watch the video over and over again. I developed a training program to use in-house for new technicians that included a detailed list of skills and procedures.
Most of the early videos came from this list. As we got to know our audience a little better and what they needed, we started getting requests for content. We keep a list of everything our users have requested and make videos based on that.
I also have lists of AVMA-required skills for technicians in school, areas where I had problems as a new manager result in some management discussions, and cases we just think are really cool will make it onto the site as discussion videos.
We reach out to general practices in the area known for their great patient and client care and have them help us with content that we don’t have access to (like dentistry and preventive medicine, and front desk care from a general practice perspective) which has gone over really well.
I also wander through the hospital on a regular basis and look for interesting cases or procedures going on so we can film. There is endless possibility for content!
What are your goals for the future of atdove.org?
I want to see atdove.org be the number one website for online education for all veterinary professionals and students. More specifically, I want atdove.org to be utilized for team training to increase the standard of care in practices.
Having consistent structured training will help decrease staff turnover and I think decrease burnout as well. Tech schools are using the website and I’m so happy to see students really excited about learning and getting access to real life videos.
I want to see us continue to have conversations about training the entire staff, the importance of customer service, and increasing patient care standards and I think atdove.org is a great forum for all of that.
Any final words of advice to your fellow technicians?
Just keep learning. Keep challenging yourself to get better, to learn more and stay interested in what you are doing. Burnout is real, so if you aren’t happy where you are, try to figure out why, and then do something about it. Doing something may be as drastic as finding a new job, but it’s worth it to keep yourself engaged in your job. Learning makes work exciting!