dvm360 live! Celebrates veterinary technicians
Two certified technicians share what they love about their career and the veterinary industries.
Content sponsored by Banfield
Along with every veterinarian, there is a vet technician to help take care of 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 lab procedures, grooming, and much more. In honor of National Veterinary Technician Week (October 16-22), a recent episode of dvm360 Live! ™ presented by Michael Lark, CVT, and Dina Torres, CVT, LVT, veterinary technicians from Banfield Pet Hospital. They sat down with Adam Christmann, DVM, MBA, host and Principal Vet Officer for dvm360®, to share insights about 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 members of your family,” said Lark, who can’t remember a time in his life when he didn’t own a pet. As bonds are formed with patients and clients, they work with their team to provide high quality pet care.
This quality is critical as there is a higher demand for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. To help meet demand, technician designations in the industry have grown over the past few years. Doctors can focus on patients who are sick or have underlying problems, while technicians can focus on the wellness components of a visit. “… I want it to be exploited to the best of my ability,” said Torres. “Whatever the doctor wants me to do, I always want to meet expectations.”
Growth and career paths
Obtaining accreditation and maintaining their education allows veterinary technicians to continue supporting veterinarians. If technicians are licensed in multiple states, they should know the different laws for each. Banfield helps their technicians by providing online resources and textbooks for anything they need a refresher on. They also help cover the costs of their exams. Whether someone has significant experience or is just starting out, there is support to expand the skills essential to the job.
Technicians can advance their careers by taking on a supervisory role or by obtaining specialized certifications. Then they have a more hand-to-hand working relationship with the doctors. “[Banfield] encourages us to take on different roles, whatever we feel comfortable doing….and as veterinary technologists we can specialize in surgery….we can also apply to become field managers; Torres said. These career milestones add to the scope of being a veterinary technician.
However, it can be difficult to find a job with a work-life balance and a safe, inviting environment. Torres describes herself as a mother and wife. Lark emphasizes the value of positive and safe space as an LGBTQ person. Both technicians believe they’ve found the animal hospital for them with Banfield’s convenient nature of scheduling — say, when something happens and you need to pick up the kids from school — and focus on creating an inclusive workplace.
Advice for fellow technicians
Being an integral part of the veterinary team, and bringing constant empathy to those they work with, can be stressful. At the end of the day, remembering why they became vet technicians keeps Lark and Torres motivated. “…we’re here for the pets. It’s always so rewarding to have you come to work every day and help these doctors treat these sick animals and take their caseload off them to help these families,” Lark said.
Torres praised his fellow technicians in the field for all the effort and hours they put into loving their patients. “What we do, no one else does… It’s hard sometimes, and it delivers most of the time. And we all love it.” With this attitude and flexibility, pets everywhere are now in good hands with veterinary technicians.
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