"We can't find any Veterinary Technicians!" "There's a shortage of Veterinary Technicians!" "We can't afford Veterinary Technicians!" INCORRECT PEOPLE!
We're here but you can't hire us and/or retain us if you can't respect us, trust us, and pay us. The latter being a whole other conversation, of course. In order to employ and preserve Veterinary Technicians, you must involve them and design an environment where their medical perspective is recognized. We want to feel valued as the veterinary professionals we were trained to be!
In a vast majority of high volume, highly functioning ED/Specialty practices we are taught to be very observant in every minute detail and nuance of our patients. We must be assertive in reporting our findings to the COD (Clinician On Duty), for our patients' life literally depends upon it! As a team, we discuss the findings and create a treatment plan accordingly... together! It's called collaborative medicine!
There are few and far between Primary Care practices who depend upon their Veterinary Technicians for much more than "just do as I say." This type of mentality holds your practice and our profession back! Some practices will even go so far as to inflict disciplinary action because a Vet Tech "overstepped their bounds." Well Techs I am here to tell you, unless you diagnosed, prognosed, performed surgery, or wrote a prescription, you have NOT overstepped your bounds. It's called critical thinking and doing your job to the fullest extent!
So let's just start with the basics! Here are some easy ways to maximally utilize Veterinary Technicians while DVMs are doing DVM things:
client education: lab work (early detection & senior), nutrition, oral health, preventatives, supplements, vaccines (core & lifestyle), new pets (house training, litter box training, desensitization techniques, etc.)
obtaining all biological samples needed (yes, including cystocentesis people!)
administering vaccines & other medications as directed by the COD
monitoring & treating ill patients as directed by the COD
drug and fluid calculations
Technician appointments: prescribed medication administration, vaccine boosters, surgery rechecks, bandage changes, fluid administration, lab work, etc.
* And I don't mean Tech appointments for pedicures and anal glands (just because the client wants it done). It is a drain of our time and a waste of your resources. We can be more useful doing other things. IT'S A WASTE OF REVENUE! This is what groomers and in-home pet care service providers are for.
Meanwhile, DVMs are performing DVM things:
physical exam & discuss findings
follow-up on any potential questions from Vet Tech discussion
drop offs/work ins
review images & lab results
catch up on medical records
While one would think the aforementioned would be common sense and the norm but, in actuality, it is not in a lot of facilities. DVMs are performing Technician duties and micromanaging the team. This slows down productivity/work flow and most definitely brings down morale!
Trust in your Veterinary Technicians to do their jobs!
One last thing before I climb down off my soap box... and I am going to say this real loud for those in the back!
"CLIENTS DO NOT COME FIRST, EMPLOYEES COME FIRST. IF YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES, THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF THE CLIENTS."
Sir Richard Branson
"IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO HIRE SMART PEOPLE AND TELL THEM WHAT TO DO; WE HIRE SMART PEOPLE SO THEY CAN TELL US WHAT TO DO."