Amplifying the voice of veterinary technicians everywhere

Firstline, Firstline May June 2021, Volume 19, Issue 03

Why technicians are more than just in-clinic workers, plus a look at the many opportunities available to RVTs.

So many people are wasting time debating the “veterinary technician” versus “veterinary nurse” terminology. My thoughts? I honestly don’t give a hoot—I feel like it makes no difference to the public or nurses. What is worth fighting for is improving veterinary medicine education and shaping it to empower technicians.

I’m most passionate about discussing the numerous opportunities for technicians outside the clinic. It’s often drilled into our heads that we can’t do anything without a veterinarian (eg, perform surgery, make diagnoses, and prescribe medications), but that can be misleading. I challenge all veterinarians and licensing boards to think outside the box because this new movement of solo RVTs, The Vet Tech Society Movement, is spreading like wildfire across the country. My goal is to educate you on all the ways technicians can work outside of a clinic.

Forging a new path

As technicians, we play an integral role in assisting veterinarians in clinical settings. However, we should always encourage and uplift those technicians who wish to pursue a career outside of the practice. For example, I aid dozens of clients daily, on a call, or via Zoom. I educate them on how to supplement their income (or replace it, if they so choose) and create a more flexible work schedule.

Many of my clients have received a lot of pushback from veterinarians and their licensing boards. Some states go to the extreme, stating that an RVT outside of a clinic cannot be considered a registered technician. I would ask those who believe this to look at my business and explore what I do and how I am changing veterinary medicine.

How to get started

I recently received a call from a frantic new client whose cat had developed Horner syndrome due to a ruptured eardrum from medication. Although her veterinarian had created a treatment plan, the owner was too nervous to medicate her cat. She was planning on leaving for a 7-day trip and asked the veterinarian if she could board and medicate her cat. But as there was no staff on-site on Sunday, she was told no.

On the bright side, 1 of her friends referred her to me. Soon after I received her call, I set up a consultation to discuss her cat’s needs and the veterinarian’s plan. She was very nervous initially, but I put her mind at ease by informing her about the treatment options for Horner syndrome. I updated the family regularly while they were away, as well as the veterinary practitioner. The cat recovered beautifully because she had access to a technician who was able to administer her medication properly.

I know things can’t drastically change in a day or even a year, but as a solo RVT and coach, I am an advocate for us and for change. New rules, new freedoms. Let’s do this!

Serena Pudelski, RVT, is a self-employed veterinary technician and owner of The Traveling Tech and Pet Consultant.

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