Your Veterinary Voice, Episode 14: Meet Kenichiro Yagi, BS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)
Get an uber-tech's take on the national credential initiative, career development in the veterinary field and what it's like to spend childhood as a mechanical robot hero.
The profession of veterinary technician is at a crossroads, in name at least. You've heard it: NAVTA is beginning a national push to change registered veterinary technicians and credentialed veterinary technicians and licensed veterinary technicians … to veterinary nurses.
Traditionalists say the term “nurse” minimizes what a technician can do-“We're bigger than nurses,” they argue-while name changers say it more accurately portrays the expertise of the position and elevates the profession as a whole-“A technician sounds like someone who works on your car or in a lab, not caring for animals,” they argue.
Which way are you swinging on the name? Need that nurse name? Or is this Nurse-ageddon in the veterinary profession?
We brought one of those name changers to Your Veterinary Voice to hear him out-Kenichiro Yagi, BS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM). He's in favor of the term “veterinary nurse,” an advocate for raising awareness of current veterinary technicians' true capabilities.
So … tech or nurse?
Need help sorting it all out? Check out our national credential initiative cheat sheet.
Two supertechs for the price of one: Ken Yagi and Tasha McNerney, BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (anesthesia and analgesia) share what Uber can teach us about the national credential initiative.
“It's a whole encompassing way of approaching patient care-that's more nursing,” Yagi says. “If we think about the roles that veterinary technicians play, such as taking a radiograph or ultrasonography, the ability to do that I think is more of a technical role.”
This is where we begin our discussion.
What is the deal with pet insurance, anyway?
If you're skeptical, check out a naysayer's guide to pet insurance and third-party payment plans.
At some point, states will make decisions. The country's veterinary technicians and the veterinary profession at large will make a decision. The credential debate will come to a conclusion, but the landscape of veterinary medicine itself will continue to shift. Let's jump topics. As methods of treatment evolve, the cost of care-particularly emergency care-can skyrocket. This is where the nuanced judgement of specialists is crucial. As Yagi points out, critical care is not for every patient: “As responsible veterinary care teams, we should be recommending what we think is the best course of action. That can sometimes include something like euthanasia.” Jump to 8:37 for our discussion of patients, payments and pet insurance.
The classic story of the veterinary professional goes something like this: “Even as a child, I knew that all I ever wanted to do with my life was to help animals.” Turns out, with Ken Yagi … not so much.
“Uhh, no, I was not one of those people,” he says. “My parents always joked that I wanted to be a mechanical robot hero or something like that.”
Do you still have career confusion? Take a look at these resources:
So how did he wind up as ICU and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California? Jump to 13:44 to hear about his path from vague plans to VTS.
“Do I want to touch this question?”
OK, we went there. Ken Yagi himself points out that, being an Asian-American male, he's somewhat unique in his field. And we wanted to know if this has been a disadvantage-or possibly an advantage. Ever analytical, Ken gives us an earful about culture, gender and treatment in the workplace. Go to 23:18 to get into this topic.