Fresh out of school, you think you're prepared for the world of veterinary medicine. Years later, you realize you had NO IDEA what you were getting yourself into. What would I tell my younger, newly graduated veterinary technician self?
1) You'll never look at your notes from school, so don't let them take up any more years on your bookshelf. You'll learn way more in practice than you would ever dream of learning from those scribbled notes.
2) You're going to LOVE abscesses in an unnatural way. The lead up, the suspense, the explosion of pus.... It's just so satisfying to watch and doctors will learn to include you in every one of these cases.
3) The first year is the hardest. You'll feel like an idiot but you'll get through it and eventually teach others how to do the things you're stressed about learning now.
4) You won't cry at every euthanasia. Not saying they will be easy but you will develop a respect for the process and appreciate it for your suffering patients.
5) Try not to judge. This is a difficult one. It's easy to get caught up in the stress of the job and and become jaded. Don't judge an owner by their appearance- the ones who look like they have no money and don't care are often the ones who will go above and beyond for their pet. People will surprise you.
6) Don't get caught up in gossip. Vet clinics can be like high school sometimes. Focus on your own thing and rise above.
7) You will eventually get paid more. It will never seem like enough, but you'll get paid in other ways too, like puppy kisses and appreciation from your clients.
8) You will never stop learning and 5 years from now you may see something for the very first time. Never think you know it all cause really, you don't.
9) Every tech has insecurities, especially the ones that bully you. Learn to help each other and never forget how important team work is.
10) Never settle. You're in charge of your life. If you're unsatisfied with the state of your current position, remember you're responsible for your own happiness! Don't be afraid of change, it's good for you!
11) Don't jeopardize your beliefs for the sake of a job. Work in a place where you are happy, agree with the medicine or what ever makes you happy, or else you won't take pride in your workplace.
12) NEVER allow anyone to tell you that you are 'just' a technician, or assistant, or receptionist. We are ALL important parts of a big machine and no one can do their jobs without the other team members.
13) Don't ever stand by improper patient care, bullying, or animal abuse. Patient abuse happens and they do not have a voice. Being an animal advocate is very important!
14) Compassion fatigue happens, and it's not anything to be ashamed of. It WILL happen, and when it does, know to act ASAP. Talk to others, in some cases take a step back, or seek out something that will help you through it.
What would you tell your younger veterinary self? Tell us about it below!