Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No College Degree? I beg to differ...

Recently, there was this horrible video shared on the news:


There are so many things wrong about this I don't even know where to start. First of all, I think due to a lot of ads by community colleges and online universities, most people are becoming aware that to be a Registered Veterinary Technician, you must have a college degree. For this woman to go on live television, a news station nonetheless, and say such false and inaccurate information is frustrating.

Then, she goes on to insult the profession that I spent 6 years working towards.

I struggle a lot sometimes with my profession, not because I am ashamed of my job, but because vet techs don't get a lot of the credit they deserve.  I went to the number one Veterinary Technician program in the nation. That's pretty huge! I am so proud of that fact. It's not only the hardest program, but we also get the most hand on experience and most hours of certified experience.  I've done things that most fourth year vet students don't get to do until they are out of practice. (Nothing against vet students, but because there are less of us and no interns/residents to compete with, we get to do tasks earlier in our curriculum).  To say I don't hold dogs and cats for shots and nail trims would be a lie. Unfortunately, when you are in a small animal practice, a lot of your clients will come in for just that.  Yes, a lot of the time I feel like a "glorified kennel worker".  I clean off tables, I clean poop out of cages, I get scratched and bled on, and unfortunately at my job I don't get to do a lot of the technical skills I was doing on a daily basis at school.  Its very frustrating and hard to stay motivated, but I work for amazing people which makes up for that fact.  I still get to do amazing things and be an integral part of every treatment, surgery, and sometimes decisions made.

When I bring a client in the room and they say "are you the vet" and I explain I am the vet tech, comparable to a nurse practioner, sometimes I get the reaction of "ok great!" but usually people literally say "I don't want you, I want the vet."  I usually smile and explain I will be taking a history and "don't worry the doctor will be right in!"  Its such a let down. It makes me feel like I don't matter. But then again, some of our older clients still treat our two young female doctors like 13 year olds and can't believe that a woman so young is a doctor?!?!

Its unbelievable what people will say or do.

I am so proud of my experience at Purdue. I got my Bachelors of Science in the College of Agriculture in Animal Science. A very TOUGH program at an Ag based school. I took all course required to be a Veterinarian, because at that point in my life, that was my plan.  Why did I change my mind and become a vet tech? It's not because I wasn't able to make the grades, or get into vet school, or because I wasn't willing to put in another 4 years of hard work. Its simply because: I do NOT want to be a veterinarian.

I've grown up in a family of veterinarians my entire life. I watched my dad get home late, miss swim meets, be dog tired and have to get up two hours after going to sleep to go in on a call.  Working at the animal hospital since I was 14, I started seeing that the vets didn't really get to do as much hands on as I thought they did. Their assistants or technicians did.  The vets were dealing with the over emotional or angry clients. They were dealing with making the hard tough decisions that they would lay in bed and question themselves on.  That's not what I wanted. I didn't necessarily want the huge pay cut that would be inevitable, but it was worth it to me to have a more family friendly job.

I love my job, but not every day. Isn't that normal? I am NOT too good to clean up poop, but I am too good to listen to some uninformed idiot tell everyone that what I do didn't take a college degree. Next time you're in the hospital and you can't move from your bed and you have to call a nurse to help you use a bed pan, remember, that's not what he/she signed up for, and its also not all they can do. Same with a vet tech. Just because it looks like all we do is trim your dog's toenails, just remember that when your dog comes in for surgery, we are the ones monitoring it and watching its blood pressure, and EKG and informing the doctor if something isn't right since their focus is on the actual surgery.  Remember that when your dog poops in the exam room and we are the ones to get on our knees and clean it up (even at 38 weeks pregnant) that when your dog is on IV because you gave it ibuprofen because your "groomer told you to" that the vet tech is the one changing the fluids, giving medicine, making sure your dog isn't laying on a blanket saturated in its own pee, and calling the doctor for orders since the doctors aren't even there.

Be educated, that's all I ask. I know this post is really angry and snarky and sometimes rude...but that's how I feel A LOT of people treat my profession and me.  Trust me, I miss putting in jugular catheters, and chest tubes, and inducing anesthesia, and all the other fun things that I hardly ever get to do at my job now. But I do love a lot of our clients and their pets. Sometimes I don't even like the pet, but the client is so sweet that I feel the need to go above and beyond for their biting l5 year old Min Pin.

Please give Vet Techs the credit we deserve!!!


  1. Preach it sista!! I can't believe that they actually allowed that to air. I wish she had been there yesterday when I had to assist a Dr with a dog that had priapism, or put a catheter in a dog with an open pyo, or when I was setting up radiographs for a dog with a possble FB, then turned around and set up surgery and assisted in said surgery. Yeah, because all we do is hold puppies for shots and kittens for nail trims. Looks like she needs the education.

  2. "I love my job, but not every day" -I can relate to this.
    Isn't that normal? I would say that, it's normal. Most people will surely answer the same. We will not always be pleased by our jobs. There are instances that we need breaks. Cleaning dog poop? oh... sometimes, I get disgusted.

  3. In the end, it's almost more important to have you guys around - the vet techs, I mean. You do all the tiny things that in the end get our pets healthy. Next time I'm there, I must remember to thank the technician personally for his/her time and efforts.