October 14, 2020 – Veterinary Technician Week

This week is dedicated to honoring veterinary technicians. In clinics across the country, techs are being gifted small tokens of appreciation, supplied with lunches, and offered extra words of thanks from their employers and co-workers.

Amazing people.

I’d like to tell you why you should appreciate them every single day you step foot into a veterinary facility.

As a veterinarian, my job is to diagnose conditions, read radiographs, interpret bloodwork, find the best treatment course, make medical decisions, perform surgery, and stay up to date on advances in medicine and surgery. In order to do all of those things, I need dependable, trustworthy, and caring people to actually carry out treatment plans, place IV catheters, take x-rays, bathe dogs, clip and clean wounds, administer medicines, monitor anesthesia, set oxygen cage flow rates, walk dogs, clean litter boxes, disinfectant everything, and pay attention to patients.

Gross? Doesn’t matter. Techs love them all.

I really dislike the term “technician”, as they truly are nurses in every sense of the word.

Definition of Nursing

(https://www.icn.ch/nursing-policy/nursing-definitions)

Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings.

Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people.

Advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles. (ICN, 2002)

Ultrasound Assistant

Veterinary technicians do all of these things in the animal world. They are front line workers in client education. They look for zoonotic diseases (those than can be passed from pets to people) such as mange, ringworm, hookworms, and more. They educate about fleas, heart worms, intestinal parasites, nutrition, house training, socializing, and so much more.

Actual heart worms from a dog who died of the disease.

They are the ones snuggling patients following a surgery, hand feeding pets to be sure they are eating (to the point of sharing their own food), monitoring IV lines, brushing, petting, and simply caring for every need.

They are the ones spending extra time making sure owners understand at-home care instructions. They are the people refilling medications and double checking doses.

Clipping and prepping for an IV catheter.

Veterinarian Nurses truly understand the bond between people and pets. They take in foster animals, bottle feed orphans, stay late after their shift is over to make sure no animal is neglected, and lose sleep worrying over critical patients. They are the lifeblood of veterinary medicine.

I write all of this for a few reasons:

1 – To acknowledge the importance of the work that veterinary technicians and assistants do.

2 – To ask the general population to recognize the importance of these people in the veterinary office. Please don’t treat them as “less” because they aren’t the veterinarian. They are the ones loving on your furry companions.

3 – To recognize that they are Veterinary Nurses and should be honored as such.

4 – To say THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK to all of our underpaid and under recognized veterinary staff. We love you and would not want to work without you.

So what can you do?

Simply be kind to the veterinary staff.

Say thank you.

Smile.

You have no idea if the person standing before you just lost a patient they had been caring for. Or if they have a sick child they left with someone else so they can care for your pet.

Be grateful for those serving you and your animal family.

Happy Vet Tech Week!!

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