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Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week

This week (October 15-21, 2023) is considered Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week by the AVMA. I wanted to take a moment to give you some food for thought about why you should make an effort to appreciate our veterinary technicians.

  • Veterinarians are simply lost without them. Many have the misconception that veterinarians are better than technicians at all things veterinary including drawing blood and general anesthesia. But in actuality, technicians have way more practice than veterinarians at drawing blood and placing IVs and all those practical tasks. Having a technician free to do these talks frees up more time for the veterinarian to be able to help clients understand the problem or research treatment options for the pet or write their medical records. Entire clinics have shut down because of lack of technical staff.

  • Veterinary technicians are often treated poorly by clientele. When things are not going well (i.e. pet is sick or you've been on hold a long time), there is a natural need to take it out on someone else. I'm not a human psychologist, but the same phenomenon happens in cats and it's called displaced aggression. So many times, my technician has told me that the client treated them very poorly, spoke rudely to them, etc. I pick up the phone and the client is kind and appreciative and respectful to the me, the doctor. What people fail to realize is that our technicians will bend over backward to help someone who has always been kind and respectful to them. They will allow them to visit their pet outside of visiting hours or try to squeeze them in on a busy day if their pet isn't doing well.

  • Veterinary technicians are often treated poorly by veterinary clinics. In my opinion, veterinary technicians aren't ever paid enough. After a few years, they often move on to better careers such as human medical fields (nursing, respiratory therapy, radiologist technician, etc.) Almost all technicians that I personally know live far away in places where the cost of living is lower, and they have long commute times to get to work. They do a lot of heavy lifting because few clinics will invest in hydraulic exam tables. They run the risk of dog and cat bites (preventable but also inevitable), and they work in a loud environment with dogs barking [J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2020 Nov;30(6):632-637. Noise levels in an academic veterinary intensive care unit]. It's a tough job!

So, for this reason and many others, take the time to be appreciative of the veterinary staff! Not just this week, but ALL the time. Don't just tell the veterinarian how great their technicians are, tell them yourself. Forgive them for their mistakes, because they were not intentional and I guarantee that they will beat themselves up enough about it without your help. Remember that they are there for you in a time of need.

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