When your cat goes to the veterinary hospital, she’ll probably spend more time with veterinary technicians or other staff members than with the veterinarian. I’m not a big fan of the term “technician” for what vet techs really do. While they are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians to give cats the best medical care possible, they are so much more than that.
Perhaps the term “veterinary nurse” is a more accurate description of what vet techs really do. They’re the ones who will go the extra mile to keep your hospitalized cat comfortable. They’re the ones who will sit with your cat while she recovers from anesthesia and surgery. They’re the ones who will treat your cat like she’s a member of their family.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly exceptional veterinary technicians in my years in the profession, and I share my stories of working with some of them in Adventures in Veterinary Medicine.
I worked as a veterinary assistant for a few years before I went on to manage a veterinary hospital. I was trained on the job, and I was lucky to learn from some of the best techs in the profession. I knew nothing about working in a hospital when I got my start. I will never forget a technician named Stacey, who took me under her wings and showed me the ropes. Another technician, Kelly, gave me an orange and a syringe to practice drawing blood at home. Our head technician Susan, one of the most dedicated technicians I ever worked with, got me over my apprehension of learning how to place IV catheters, and as a result of her tutelage, I actually got to be quite good at it and often became the “go to” person for tiny little cat veins.
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Inc. (NAVTA) has designated one week in October as National Veterinary Technician Week. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the veterinary technicians in your cat’s life.
I have so much respect for anyone who chooses this profession. Low pay, long hours, and the often dirty work make this a less than glamorous profession. But for dedicated veterinary technicians, the rewards of caring for the animals they love far outweigh the drawbacks.
So this week, pay some special attention to the veterinary technicians who take care of your cat when she has to go to the hospital. As a former veterinary hospital manager, technician, assistant, kennel attendant, and receptionist (yes, I’ve done it all at one time or another), I can tell you that brownies and other treats are always appreciated as a token of your gratitude…
Do you have a favorite vet tech? Tell us about him or her in a comment.