At the very core, it’s about traffic control, but Shannon House’s role as an emergency receiving technician (ERT) for the Cornell University Hospital for Animals requires that she wear a closet full of hats, depending on the day, the case, and who is in the room.
“The ERTs make everything run,” said Andrea Battaglia, who is the section supervisor of ICU/INC/ER and has been an LVT since 1986. “They make sure that our clients receive the care they need in a timely way. They are the line of communication between services, including the nursing care unit that must always be apprised of the current situation.”
In addition, the ERTs are teachers, which is one of the most rewarding parts of the position for House, who has been in the field for 15 years and been licensed for eight.
“Teaching is probably in my genes,” House said, noting that her mother and sister are teachers and as the oldest sibling, her opinions are frequently sought. “I also find a great deal of gratification in hearing a student say ‘ahh, I got it’ after I’ve shared the finer points of procedures like drawing blood and placing catheters.”
House also enjoys walking students through the thought process behind her decisions.
"We encourage students to participate in procedures as much as possible,” House said. “However, some animals present with conditions that require a person with a lot of experience to place their IV catheter or perform their venipuncture. In those cases, we demonstrate technique and explain the rationale behind the decisions."
House came to Cornell in 2011, after serving in almost every role in the veterinary profession except for that of a veterinarian. She’s been a receptionist, an assistant, and the head zookeeper, which is the position that rekindled her interest in the field.
“I was interested in the ‘whys,’” said House. “I was fascinated with the significance of the symptoms and the numbers on test results. When I found this position open at Cornell, it was a perfect fit.”