“Everybody starts somewhere.” We’ve all heard it, but how often does it actually sink in? It seems the longer you’re in a career, the the easier it is to forget how it is to be a newbie. Many people view it as a negative to have a new grad in their practice. Personally, I think new grads are grossly underrated.
Getting into the veterinary field as a technician isn't an easy feat. Between the competitive entry into the program, challenging courses, and practical exams, the schooling alone is demanding. Despite this fact, thousands of brave souls enter into this career because of one thing: a genuine passion for animals.
The sad part about this? The majority of these people do not stay in the field past the seven-year mark. In the end, that passion for animals and time, money, and effort spent on earning the diploma are not enough. Here are some reasons we believe contribute to technicians leaving the veterinary world behind.
When people picture life in a vet clinic, we all know what comes to mind. Happy puppies bouncing around in one pristine exam room while playful kittens chase a toy on a string in another. And some (very rare, very precious) days, this is true. But guys, the truth is, veterinary medicine is HARD.
Question for you: do you get a regular lunch break every day? Did you just actually LOL? It’s more common than not to hear our veterinary colleagues say they do not get a chance to take a break for lunch (or even to use the bathroom) on a daily basis.
The reactions I commonly experienced when I told someone that I worked veterinary overnight shifts ranged from horror to pity. Most people can't fathom sleeping during the day, and being awake at night. The thing is, the saying that you really don't know what it's like until you experience it, rings very true in this case.
Here are some of the top ways that I was able to stay sane, focused, and make it to sunrise!
A high school student recently told me that she was thinking about becoming a vet tech and she asked me what I thought of the choice. I found myself surprisingly tongue tied and I didn't know why. Part of me wanted to say "That's fantastic, welcome to the club!". The other part of me wanted to talk her out of it.
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love it for so many reasons, most of which are intangible. After almost a decade in vet med, I often look back wistfully at my early days in this career and think about what I would tell that new tech fresh out of school. It hasn't been an easy road. We all know the path this career takes is an emotional, under-paid, and often challenging one. Knowing what I know about the industry now, what would I say to someone wanting to be a vet tech?
Technology: some people welcome it with open arms, and some fear the change that comes along with it. In veterinary medicine, technology has certainly made its mark on our daily lives, both in positive and negative ways. How is technology helping (and hurting) vet med?
Throughout my time in vet med, I've heard countless fellow technicians (and admittedly, the voice inside my own head) say that they don't know if this career is for them anymore. Most of us do the same things every day in practice. It's easy to get bored if you don't have the opportunity to test yourself or learn new skills.
Whether it's the desire to experience another avenue of veterinary medicine or go back to school and strive towards another career altogether, the thought of abandoning post has crossed many minds. And yet, most people continue on at their practices, caught in a vortex of wondering what else is out there and a looming sense of guilt for even allowing this option to be a consideration.