Vet team confessions: The tiny tears in our souls
From their experiences with imposter syndrome and compassion fatigue to feeling like no one really understands what they do, veterinary technicians and practice managers share the little cuts and wounds that bleed them dry in their daily practice lives.
The daily work in a veterinary practice has a way of ripping little holes in one's soul. Without support, time off and mentorship, these little rends and tears can grow bigger and hurt more. Here are some of the secrets veterinary technicians and practice managers have shared through the Veterinary Confessionals Project. Read them, then share your own here.
Compassion fatigue and imposter syndrome are real.
I want to quit. I'm so tired. CVT
I want to be the best tech possible not only for the animals but also for my team, but I have a fear I'm not good enough.
I often feel like a non-person as a technician. I love the animals and the medicine.
I am a veterinary technician. I think I have lost my compassion for both the owner and the pet. My heart hurts thinking about leaving the field.
Managing a pet resort for 13 years has hurt my relationship with my own pets. I can't enjoy them anymore. My nerves are worn when I come home. I now have a family as well. Sometimes I feel like I just can't do it anymore. Sometimes I feel cold.
And sometimes team members feel like they've drifted far from their original goals …
I graduated animal science and pre-vet and decided not to go to vet school because of the cost. I still have regrets about not going and feel like I let some people (and myself to a degree) down. But I love working in feline behavior so much! Business is booming and I am so happy! Maybe someday I will revisit vet school, there is no telling what the future holds. But I feel like I'm helping more animals where I'm at. I'm still learning and sometimes feel like I'm not as good as everyone thinks I am, so I bust my butt learning everything I can. Gotta stop doubting myself! >^.^< I can do this! I am doing it!
My whole life, I've wanted to be a vet; it was my dream job. I've been a vet tech for six years now, two bachelor's degrees (one free, one = $50,000 in debt for out-of-state) and now, vet school seems impossibly out of reach to me. I'm having a hard time with myself, accepting that due to money (and maybe bad grades here and there) I can't follow that dream. =-(
New techs are hungry for mentorship and support to grow ...
I graduated this year from a veterinary technology program. I feel like my education was rushed and I couldn't retain all the information crammed into my head. I'm glad the school is closing down. A four-year program would have been much better.
As a future CVT, the vet I'm shadowing yelled at me when I asked a question. I cried. Please be nice. I'm just trying to learn!
I was in another line of work for 10 years, making almost $70k, but at the cost of my time and sanity. It nearly ate my soul. At 34, I am now working at a small practice and taking classes to work toward my new goal of becoming a licensed vet tech. I make significantly less money, but I am happier, I'm sleeping more, and I am taking far better care of myself, my husband, my family, and my priorities. I come home knowing I helped make a difference. You can't put a price on that!
I think the hardest part of my day at times is trying to protect others from the mistakes that stick forever while also trying to teach others to be and practice well. And one thing that I struggle with every day and do not wish on anyone is living with having killed my first ever anesthetic patient. CVT, supervisor
Managers sometimes feel alone, underappreciated or misunderstood …
I am the manager not your personal assistant!!!
I hate the fact that in my state non-DVMs are not allowed to own, even in part, a veterinary practice. My DVM husband gets all the glory and credit, and as his LVT practice manager wife, I get all the headaches and grunt work but none of the recognition. It's almost embarrassing at industry events when other DVMs want to talk business, my husband defers to me, and then I get looked at like I'm some sort of lowly life form, and the other DVMs try to shuffle out of the conversation. Like it is some sort of taboo for DVMs to discuss the running of a veterinary practice if that person doesn't have the same letters after their name, even if that person is the practice manager, and the actual DVM couldn't tell you how much money is in petty cash, much less how much is in the business accounts!
I'm a new practice manager trying to do a good job and not be horrible like the practice manager I had before. When someone makes an honest mistake and owns up to it, I use it as a teaching moment and keep it private. I try to be fair to everyone, and I am more than willing to help out anyone who needs it. Still I have people actively trying to discredit me and point out even the tiniest typo I make. No one ever thanks me for helping when they are overloaded. I don't want to stop helping but I feel like I'm losing the love I had for this job. I have no one at home that will listen. I feel more and more alone every day. Thank you for reading this.
I'm a licensed tech but have worked on the business side for my vet clinic for many years. I often feel that nobody understands or appreciates what I do, or that I'm the only one in the building that does it. I bet they're care if payroll didn't get processed!
But at the end of the day, you're all a team fighting for the same cause: healthy pets.
Our clinic has the best staff ever! We're super close: techs, vets, reception, everyone! Sometimes we may be a little too open … =P
No matter the secret, job title, or issues-remember you make a difference, and a damn good one! You're all appreciated! <3