dvm360 Live! celebrates veterinary technicians
Two credentialed technicians share what they love about their career and the veterinary industry.
Content sponsored by Banfield
Alongside every veterinarian is a veterinary technician to help care for our pets. Using their technical and scientific knowledge, they assist with tasks such as taking a medical history, preparing instruments and pets for surgery, performing laboratory procedures, grooming, and much more. In honor of National Veterinary Technician Week (October 16-22), a recent episode of dvm360 Live!™ featured Michael Lark, CVT, and Deena Torres, CVT, LVT, veterinary technicians with Banfield Pet Hospital. They sat down with Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, the host and dvm360®’s chief veterinary officer, to share insights into their field, the current scope of the industry, and how Banfield supports their needs and careers.
Lark and Torres emphasized that patients are at the forefront of why they return to the hospital every day. “I think I speak for anyone who owns a pet that pets are like your family member,” said Lark, who cannot recall a time in his life when he did not own a pet. As bonds form with patients and clients, they work with their team to provide high-quality care for pets.
This quality is critical as there is a higher demand for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. To help meet the demand, technician appointments have grown within the industry over the past few years. Doctors can focus on patients that are sick or have underlying problems, while technicians can focus on the wellness components of a visit. “...I want to be utilized to my fullest capacity,” said Torres. “Everything the doctor wants me to do, I always want to meet expectations.”
Growth and career paths
Becoming credentialed and maintaining their education allows veterinary technicians to continue to support veterinarians. If technicians are licensed in multiple states, they must know the differing laws for each one. Banfield helps their technicians by providing online resources and textbooks for anything they need a refresher on. They also help cover costs for their exams. Whether someone has a lot of experience or is just starting out, there is support to expand on skills critical for the job.
Technicians may advance their careers by taking on a supervisory role or by obtaining specialized certifications. They then have a more hand-in-hand working relationship with doctors. “[Banfield] encourages us to take on different roles, and whatever we feel comfortable in doing.... As vet techs, we could specialize in surgery.... We could also advance to being field directors; we could be practice managers,” Torres said. These career milestones add to the scope of being a veterinary technician.
However, it can be a challenge to find a job with a work-life balance and one with a safe environment for advocacy. Torres describes herself as a mom and a wife. Lark emphasizes the value of a positive and safe space as someone who is part of the LGBT and Black community. Both technicians believe they have found the animal hospital for them with Banfield’s accommodating nature for scheduling—for example, when something happens and you need to pick the children up from school—and emphasis on creating an inclusive workplace.
Advice for fellow technicians
Being an integral part of the veterinary team, and bringing constant compassion to those they work with, can be stressful. At the end of the day, remembering why they became veterinary technicians keeps Lark and Torres motivated. “...We’re here for the pets. And it’s always very rewarding to come in every day at work and help these doctors treat these sick animals and take off the caseload for them to help these families,” said Lark.
Torres praised fellow technicians in the field for all the effort and hours put into loving their patients. “What we do, no one else does.... It’s rough at times, and it’s fulfilling most of the time. And we all love it.” With this attitude and resilience, pets everywhere are in great hands with veterinary technicians.