As a veterinary technician, I am arguably the busiest person in the hospital at any given time. Most of you probably just think that I am a glorified puppy holder or designated poop scooper, but my skill set is much more specified than that. I am proficient in technical aspects of medicine and patient care and my veterinary education are well versed. The comfort and wellbeing of my patients is my number one priority, so I make sure everyone is monitored closely. To give you a better understanding of what I do, let me take you through a day in the life of a vet tech.
I arrive at the hospital bright and early because I know my overnight patients are eagerly awaiting me. After each patient is examined and situated in a clean cage, I write down all my notes for the doctors to review when they arrive. When I finish, I move on to opening procedures; starting up the lab, checking oxygen levels, turning on radiology equipment, etc. While I’m doing all of this, my surgery and dental cleaning patients are starting to arrive, and as they do, I look over each chart and prepare them for preanesthetic exams. I look for pertinent medical history or any recent notes about their procedure for the day. Once my coworkers arrive, I will start my preanesthetic exams. As I go, I’ll start pulling blood and running the samples in the machines. I begin calculating appropriate anesthesia protocols for each patient. Once I’m finished, I’ll run it by the overseeing doctor and if everything checks out, I’ll prep each patient for general anesthesia, giving the first doses of the medications. Next, I’ll move on to preparing the surgery suite for the upcoming procedures. I’ll start with my dental cleanings so that the doctors can see early appointments. During a dental cleaning I’ll do a thorough exam of the patients’ oral cavity, take x-rays of all the teeth in the mouth to better assess the integrity of the structures underneath the gums. Occasionally, some teeth do need to be extracted and if so, I’ll page my doctor to surgery for extractions. All the while, did I mention I’ve been monitoring anesthesia and taking vitals? Oh yeah, I do that too.
During a dental cleaning I’ll do a thorough exam of the patients’ oral cavity, take x-rays of all the teeth in the mouth to better assess the integrity of the structures underneath the gums. Occasionally, some teeth do need to be extracted and if so, I’ll page my doctor to surgery for extractions. All the while, did I mention I’ve been monitoring anesthesia and taking vitals? Oh yeah, I do that too.
After my patient is recovered from anesthesia and awake, I make notes, clean up and move on to the next cleaning. In between procedures, I will also check on any hospitalized or recovering patients. After all my dentals are done, I’ll start surgeries with my doctors. During surgery, I’ll closely monitor anesthesia and assess patient vitals, assist the doctor and even scrub in occasionally. After all, surgeries are finished up I will make sure owners are called and bills are made.
In the afternoon, I help with patients in rooms. From radiographs to laboratory procedures and administrating vaccinations/medications, inputting records into the computer and so much in between. I do it all! When all appointments are finished, I start with the end of the day cleaning. During this time, I will also be discharging patients. Before I leave, I’ll make sure all overnight patients are taken care of and everything is in order.
A veterinary technician is a lot more than meets the eye! We are an essential part of any hospital. From running surgeries to maintaining patient care, to even running my own technician appointments, I am involved in every aspect of the hospital. Working in veterinary medicine has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life and I hope to continue enjoying all the wonderful animals that come along with it!
Every day that I wake up and put my scrubs on, is going to be a good day. I have the opportunity to push myself to learn something new and challenge my mind too. But the true drive that pushes me to wake up and come to work every day are the animals. We can’t save them all, but the ones we can nurse back to health make it worth it. The appreciation that you see on the eyes of the owners and the love that the pets show makes everything worth it. We all take the job home with us when we clock out. We can’t sleep as we keep thinking about the animals that we all consider family.
This job can be very rewarding one minute and then knock you back the next, but I would not trade one minute of what I have learned over the last 16 years. The personal pets I have had to say goodbye to and then ones that I have watched grow up from puppies have become a second family to me. This career path has proven very rewarding for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.