I understand how my profession tends to go unnoticed by the world. After all, much of the work technicians do is behind the scenes. This week is National Veterinary Technician's week, its purpose is to raise awareness of what people like me do every day and to give veterinary technicians a chance to reflect and celebrate the field we have chosen.
A lot has changed over the years since I first decided to become a Registered Veterinary Technologist. Back in 1989 I even remember my high school councilor telling me I shouldn't go into this field. I was told that the pay is horrible, the work is stressful and most people leave the field in under 5 years but I was stubborn and I did it anyway. When I first graduated most veterinary technicians were still mostly being used as glorified “animal holders”, the practice owners at the time didn't really know what we could do.
Now I'm proud to say we are self regulated just like the human nurses and I do many many things to care for the animals and help out my hospital as a whole. I work in an awesome hospital with an awesome team. Veterinary technicians do so much more now. To name just a few of the things we do on a daily basis, we administer medications, administer and monitor anesthetics, place intravenous catheters, preform dental scaling and polishing, position, expose and develop radiographs, provide nursing care and nutritional support, acquire laboratory samples and then preform the laboratory testing, provide a variety of counseling and when the time comes we help ease end of life suffering.
My job can be stressful as I'm a part of emotional decisions almost every day and I tend to take my work home with me as proven by my rag tag houseful of adoptee's. But, I get the biggest reward, I get to know every day that when an owner is handing me their beloved family member I'm going to be playing an integral part in helping that pet feel better. And when they get to go home at the end; I was an important part of what made that happen. Although it's true, I will never make the amount of money my sister does as a human nurse, after 19yrs as a vet tech I could honestly go back and tell that councilor that she was only partly right....five years is long over and I'm still here with no plans of going anywhere.
Written by Angelina Johnstone RVT. Angie is one of the RVT's at our sister clinic in Hamilton, The Cat Clinic