In the previous weeks, we have given a little insight on all the tasks that a veterinary technician does on a daily basis. We have also introduced you to our amazing team of certified veterinary technicians and assistants. With this information at hand, we want to talk about a detrimental fact in veterinary medicine. We lose certified technicians at an alarming rate! Between the physical requirements of lifting heavy animals, and the stress of feeling underappreciated and overworked, technicians last an average of 5 years in their career. After considering the schooling required and the cost of continuing education to maintain the most current knowledge, this hits us all in the field.
Some of us feel our level of skills is overlooked when we see other veterinary clinics labeling their assistants as veterinary technicians. Technicians have worked hard for their credentials, and it is rewarding to be recognized as such. So what is the difference?
A veterinary technician is either the graduate of a veterinary technician program who has passed the required exam, or one who was certified by passing the exam. An assistant provides care under the supervision of a veterinarian or a technician. They are not required to have a degree or pass the required exam. With that being said, our assistants are crucial to the team. In fact, many of our current technicians started as assistants!
Technicians are often compared to nurses with the technical skilled work they do.
However, they also need to have the skills of an x-ray technician, pharmacist technician, dental hygienic, lab technician, and a surgical technician. These are all very involved skills that often are not in the same pay grade as similar professions.
It is also difficult to maintain a balance between home and work. A veterinary technician’s job is very rewarding as we get to help animals in need. The routine exam and vaccine and skin or ear cases are the easy part of our day. Urgent cares leave us working through lunch breaks and managing several cases at once. The more challenging is the emergency right as our shift is ending. This allows us to put our skills to the test and feel like we have really made a difference, but it also leaves us several more hours away from our families.
We also spend a good portion of our time educating clients. Nothing makes a tech more elated than our advice turning into a success, but when we give out our knowledge and it gets the cold shoulder, it often leaves us feeling defeated.
All of these things can lead to a fast burnout for techs. This is where Oakview has really raised the bar! They have provided seminars for us during staff meetings to recognize burnout and compassion fatigue and given resources for us to follow up with. They have re-worked our philosophy to include a more positive atmosphere including a shout out board to thank everyone for above and beyond care. We currently have a relax and restore area with heated massage chairs. And we are ever thankful for the lift tables in our exam rooms and surgical prep area!
Oakview Vet feels like family and through our endless love of helping animals and the high reward that goes along with it, we are hopeful to surpass industry averages and keep our technicians thriving!
Read more in this article from the American Veterinary Medical Association: Technician shortage may be a problem of turnover instead
by Becca Dambroski
Becca joined the clinic in 2005 after graduating from UWSP with a Bachelor of Science Degree. She became a certified veterinary technician in 2007. Becca and her husband Keith have three children, Ava, Zoe, and Oliver. Her fur family consists of 3 horses: Jet, Mr Pickles and Mariah. Her cats are Stormy and Cheetah.
In her down time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family and fur babies.
Becca also enjoys working on her family’s dairy farm.