“You can’t just rely on the stuff you learn in a book,” she said. “A lot of it is keeping cool and figuring out what to do when things don’t work out the way they are supposed to. Our job is to turn things around. It either goes great, or we have to be OK knowing there was nothing more we could have done.”
She sees her job as communicating “what we know, what we need to find out, and what options we have” in a way the client can understand.
“We want to make the best decision for the pet and that looks different to different people,” she said. “Five families with the same situation might have five different answers. You have to have a very open mind and be a good listener, as well as a good explainer. You give them all of the available options in a way that is patient centered.”
Making these decisions day after day can result in what she calls “emotional whiplash.”
A COLLEGIAL APPROACH TO CRITICAL CARE
Rutter wasn’t planning to take the job at Texas A&M at first, but that soon changed.
“I couldn’t believe how much I liked it,” she said. “I got on the plane after my interview wishing I had realized what it would be like sooner because I didn’t do as much preparation for the interview as I could have. My attitude was, I’ll go see what they have there, but I’m not going to take the job.”
She celebrated her third year at the CVM on March 1.
“We’ve worked really hard to integrate the Emergency and ICU services into the other services,” she said.
What clients see when they bring their pets to the emergency room is an emergency room doctor and their team working to care for or save their animals. But behind the scenes, the doctor is getting opinions from specialists throughout the hospital who give their time and expertise.