Let's Talk About You
So enough about me, let’s talk about you! MyEVT has created this blog for technicians (you), to be written by a technician (me).
Are you indeed a veterinary technician? The formal use of this position title implies that you have become either a registered, licensed, or certified technician…depending of course on the state you live in. But you could have become credentialed by completing an AVMA-approved program of veterinary technology, or sitting for the board exams based on your level and length of experience, before that became impossible. If you went to school and obtained an associate’s degree as the majority of folks do, then you truly are a veterinary technician. However, if you obtained a four-year bachelor’s degree, then you’re actually a veterinary technologist. It’s a shame that those two positions have the same initials…seems that extra two years should get you an asterisk at least!
Then again, maybe in your practice you are called a veterinary technician even without the credentials. That is quite common, in fact. Typically you gained this position title because of your expertise and experience, by climbing to the top rung of the medical support staff career ladder. Before this, you were probably called an assistant…and some even begin their career in veterinary medicine as kennel help. Here’s an age-old question for this profession: is it better to have someone newly graduated from tech school with little or no hands-on experience, or someone who’s never gone to school yet can successfully perform most every technical task? I’ll let you answer that for yourself!
That’s not the only question that our profession struggles with, and we’ve struggled with some of these issues for years. Top on the list is likely the wages we earn. I realize that none of you probably thought you’d get wealthy working in veterinary medicine, but I imagine most of you at least felt you would be able to financially survive. Unfortunately, some cannot, and they leave the profession for greener (literally!) pastures. Those that stay are often supplementing their income with a second job, or a second income in the household. We’d love for this to change, to receive competitive wages similar to “human” nursing, but there are so many moving parts involved: the fees we charge, the awareness of the public about what we do, the efficiency of the business, the generosity of the boss perhaps, and the list goes on.
There are emotional costs to doing this work as well. We struggle with trying to do the work of caregiving, expending ourselves emotionally and physically, while trying to empathize with our families and nurture our patients. Over time, this can take its toll, particularly if you’re not great at caring for your own needs. Unfortunately, our profession attracts the kind of people who do just that…take care of others more than ourselves. So we have to find a balance in order to keep a positive attitude about the work we do day in and day out. Some of you likely work in environments where this balance is even more difficult. If you work in a shelter or humane facility, then you are constantly trying to find an even ground to stand on between the tough work of euthanasia and the satisfaction of re-homing animals. Even in veterinary practice, there are more difficult environments you can choose such as an emergency practice or referral hospital. The options have never been more abundant, especially now that there are TEN different ways to specialize as a technician!
Speaking of alternate careers besides veterinary practice, there are a variety of places you may be working right now. Perhaps a zoo, wildlife rescue facility, teaching soon-to-be technicians, or in industry helping companies involved in caring for animals keep their products helpful and interesting. There are many other places for us as technicians…let us know where you work!
The point is, while this blog has been created for technicians, from a technician’s viewpoint, we may have differences between us that will make this an even more interesting forum. Regardless of where you are in your career, there is one thing we share…our desire to help animals. On that common ground we can stand, while we learn more about each other. Welcome…I’m happy you’re here!
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