Licensed Practitioner/ Animal Assisted Therapist
Honu Services

Bethesda, Maryland

Posted in Consultancy
27 days ago


Job Info


Location- Bethesda, MD

Job Type: Full-time

Licensed Practitioner / Animal Assisted Therapist needed - Help our Veterans!

4S - Silversword Software and Services, LLC (4S) has an immediate opening for a Licensed Practitioner/ Animal Assisted Therapist at our Bethesda, Maryland program location. Service dog training experience or utilization is preferred. If you are a passionate, experience, licensed practitioner who loves dogs, this just might be your dream job!

With our partner Warrior Canine Connection, we are offering a unique and highly effective service dog training model known as Mission Based Trauma Recovery. In short, active duty Service Members and Military Veterans with combat related traumatic brain injury and stress related illnesses are engaged to help us train purpose bred dogs to be service dogs. By learning to train service dogs, these Warrior Trainers are given a chance to develop practical skills such as patience, positive reinforcement, emotional regulation, and effective communication skills, while simultaneously helping to prepare the dog to assist a fellow injured Veteran in the future. Our service dogs learn up to 90 commands during a comprehensive, two-year training process. After those two years of training, the dogs are professionally matched with a Veteran with disabilities who has mobility impairments or psychological injuries.

As a 4S Animal Assisted Therapist, you will screen service members and veterans for eligibility to participate in the program, work with the service animal training instructors (SATI) to structure training sessions that map to clinical outcomes, support and observe one-on-one instruction and teach small group classes to these volunteer Warrior Trainers. For the current opening, most of the work will occur at a military medical facility in Bethesda, Maryland where our unique program is offered as a compliment to clinical treatment programs.

This position requires service dog training experience or utilization in a program setting, as well as state licensure and at least two years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), occupational therapist (OT), or related clinical field. ( Please see the complete list of qualifications below )

This is a job that will truly make a difference in the world, and in the lives of the individual Veterans and Service Members we work with every day.

What the job involves:

  • Provide medical referral and supervision of training sessions with purpose bred dogs to be service dogs, from puppyhood to advanced training, through various onsite and field activities.
  • Observe and participate in one-to-one instruction and provide and support small group instruction on service dog training to volunteer Warrior Trainers recovering from both the hidden and visible wounds of war (e.g. Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other psychological health or physical injuries) that will provide opportunities for patients to develop improved cognitive, behavioral, social and emotional competencies.
  • Be eligible for credentialing and privileging at WRNMMC.
  • Work with the SATI to match animal training activities to the desired clinical outcomes for wounded warriors and documents the sessions and progress in the client electronic medical record.
  • Track and enter medical encounter data, daily activities and complete required forms and reports in a timely manner.
  • Maintain a clean, safe environment for the dogs and humans at the program sites.
  • Comply with or exceed Assistance Dog International minimum standards and ethics.
  • Participate in staff meetings, professional development and community activities as directed.
  • Responsible for providing clinically based interventions to health care beneficiaries through the implementation of an animal assisted therapy program.
  • Monitor and contribute to therapeutic service animal training sessions in accordance with program standards (e.g., based on positive methods of shaping behavior) and targeted therapeutic goals.
  • Establish specific patient goals and objectives for the individual application of the animal assisted therapy program,
  • Collaborate and align these goals to support the overall clinical goals established for the patient by the referring provider / interdisciplinary team.
  • Provide professional judgment with a flexible use of a wide range of clinical skills to support health care beneficiaries presenting many combinations of vocational, education, physical, social, and emotional problems.
  • Monitor efficacy and outcomes of both individual treatment sessions and over the course of therapy.
  • Maintain encounter reports, metrics, patient documentation and program administrative documentation as needed according to the needs of the military program manager.
  • Effectively use of the military electronic medical record (EMR).
  • Provide ongoing assessment of the progress of the patient towards established clinical goals as relates to the application of the animal assisted therapy modality. These metrics will be in conjunction with other ongoing quality assurance and outcomes projects.
  • Independently plan, design and carry out actions to accomplish the mission.
  • Serve as an integral and critical clinical member of the integrated diagnostic, evaluation, treatment planning, education and research teams.
  • Coordinate with appropriate team members to ensure compliance with HIPAA, patient goals, research guidelines, medical record requirements, and installation regulations.
  • Serves as a member of an interdisciplinary team of providers across different healthcare specialties, and provides consultative services to other team members as required.
  • Participate fully in assigned Quality Management / Utilization Management programs and initiatives. The Animal Assisted Therapist shall be responsible for updating and implementing Standard Operating Procedures of the clinical practice, not limited to participating in Joint Commission (JCAHO) mock accreditation exercises and the Joint Commission audits.
  • Coordinate, liaison and serve as NICoE representative for academic contributors / collaboration on the animal assisted therapy program.
  • As required, participate in research related to rehabilitative and animal assisted therapy outcomes, efficacy and interventions.
  • Act as an educational resource for Wounded Warriors and their families who have questions surrounding service animals and/or display interest in applying for a service animal in the future
  • Responsible for advocating for the industry's use of service animals in clinically appropriate and therapeutic ways, (e.g., reducing isolation, recognizing stress cues), rather than uses that reinforce negative symptomology (e.g., blocking, security, intimidation).
  • Represent and serve as an advocate for Wounded Warriors and their families in obtaining services and support related to service animals for their individual and/or special needs; follows through on each case to ensure that provisions for ongoing social services are identified and initiated prior to the Warrior's return to the community.
  • Identify and refer families who may be candidates for the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) in accordance with DoD policies and procedures. In the determination of family violence, intervenes in accordance with policy and program guidance as specified by the Family Advocacy Program - DoD Directive 6400.1.
  • Serve as a subject-matter expert on the roles that service animals can have in addressing psychosocial problems in collaboration with clinicians in other medical specialties.
  • Work in collaboration with interdisciplinary team consisting of, but not limited to, physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and case managers.
  • Comply with all plans of care and medical instructions for patients issued by Licensed Independent Providers (LIP) such as physicians, therapists, and psychologists.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other agencies within the DoD, to include the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), the Defense Health Agency and its component centers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as other federal and civilian academic collaborators.
  • May be required to travel with patients as part of the staff for therapy activities. Should the travel for such activities be funded by proffer to the Government from a recognized non-profit organization, such travel must first be approved and accepted by the Staff Judge Advocate and Medical Center Director per established procedures before the Contractor may take part.
  • Dress professionally yet appropriately for constant interaction with animals and patients in a hospital setting.
  • In coordination with the Lead, Division of Wellness and other NICoE/WRNMMC clinical leadership, participate fully in established Program Evaluation and Quality Management / Utilization Management programs and initiatives for improvement of warrior and family services and clinical operations related to the implementation of and conduct of quality improvement strategies.
  • Participate fully in the Peer Review Program as appropriate for the specific licensed clinical specialty of the contract provider.


Job Requirements
Required Experience, Skills, Background:
  • Possess appropriate higher education, current state licensure in the jurisdiction in which the service is performed, and at least two years clinical experience as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), occupational therapist (OT), or a related clinical field. These positions require privileging and credentialing at WRNMMC and/or FBCH, as applicable. Must comply with all NCR-MD credentialing requirements as detailed by the Executive Committee of the Medical Staff. This includes peer review of medical documentation, discipline required continuing education, and all other requirements as detailed by regulation or directives.
  • Have experience working in a healthcare environment, preferably a military medical treatment facility.
  • Possess certification of completion of an industry-recognized Animal Assisted Therapy education program.
  • Minimum of one (1) year working experience as an animal assisted therapist. Have demonstrated experience working with and instructing patients with TBI and/or Psychological Health conditions. Demonstrated experience working with individuals with TBI and/or mental health conditions, an understanding of TBI and/or PTS/PTSD symptomology, and experience working in a healthcare environment.
  • Experience as a service dog trainer (candidates with experience training other types of assistance dogs or significant work as a professional dog trainer will also be considered).
  • Comfort in providing one-to-one training supervision or provide group orientation sessions regarding animal assisted therapy. .
  • High level of proficiency in and ability to leverage information technology including, but not limited to: Microsoft Office (MSWord, MSExcel, MS PowerPoint, MS Visio, MS Project), electronic health record systems, telecommunications software (Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc.).
  • Detail oriented and demonstrably strong work ethic - this can be demanding work.
  • Friendly, calm, mature, patient, and professional demeanor with excellent communication skills.
  • Desire to work with Veterans and the knowledge, skills, and ability to effectively interact and work with Veterans who have experienced combat trauma and/or psychological health or physical injuries.
  • The ability to work independently with minimal supervision - you must learn quickly.
  • Work with a care team, including service animal trainers, program supervisors and other care providers and provide clinical leadership in AAT sessions and all interactions with the care team.
  • Ability to prioritize work tasks - organization skills and time management are critical.
  • Ability to instruct people with a variety of backgrounds and skill levels in the WCC training methodology and best practices for service dog training.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to implement, effective training methods, problem solving and instruction for all phases of training (puppy through graduate training).
  • Ability to learn and manage a variety of administrative processes.
  • Basic computer kills and competency in Microsoft Office applications in order to maintain dog records, training charts, puppy evaluations, etc. Salesforce experience is a plus.
  • Ability to pass background check for clearance to work on Federal property (livescan finger printing, TB tests, no felony convictions, etc.).
  • Possess a valid driver's license, working vehicle and insurance.
  • This is a full-time position with occasional weekend/evening hours
  • Be physically capable of performing duties required of them. Contractor personnel shall be able to perform regular and recurring bending, lifting, stooping, stretching, working in awkward positions and performing tasks related to the care and training of large breed service animals.
  • Must possess state motor vehicle license enabling operation of Government Owned Vehicles for the purpose of transporting rehabilitation patients and or staff as mission requires.
  • Speak, read, and write in fluent English.
  • Possess and maintain current 2-year Basic Life Support certification approved by the American Heart Association.
  • Contractor personnel shall abide by all applicable Federal, state and local laws and regulations.
  • This position has a mandatory seasonal influenza vaccination requirement and is therefore subject to annual seasonal influenza vaccinations. Applicants tentatively selected for appointment to this position will be required to sign a statement (Condition of Employment) consenting to seasonal influenza vaccinations.
  • Comply with all NCR Directives including those associated with clothing and appearance (1000.7) and drug free workplace (1010.01). Compliance with hospital computer security and HIPAA requirements is also required.


Additional Desirable Qualifications:
  • Comfort and experience in public speaking, presentations and interacting with community members, sponsors and public relations partners.

Compensation and Benefits:

Exceptional compensation package including salary, medical, dental, and retirement benefits for full-time employees.

To Apply:

To apply for this position, please provide a cover letter with resume to Attention Hiring Manager.

Physical Requirements

Work may involve sitting or standing for extended periods of time. Position may require typing and reading from a computer screen. Must have sufficient mobility, including but not limited to bending, reaching, and kneeling to complete daily duties in a timely and efficient manner. There is a possibility that due to parking availability and location of work, walking moderate to long distance may be required. Possible lifting up to 25 lbs.

Please note: 4S-Silversword Software and Services LLC reserves the right to change or modify job duties and assignments at any time. The above job description is not all encompassing. Positions functions and qualifications may vary depending on business needs. 4S-Silversword Software and Services LLC is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants based on race, color, creed, religion, medical condition, legally protected genetic information, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, or Vietnam era, or other eligible veteran status or legally protected characteristics.



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