What a Vet Wants from their Vet Tech

  • Amanda Jondle
  • |

Every veterinarian knows the value of an exceptional veterinary technician. Hard work and a good education will get you the initials behind your name, but there are both personal and professional qualities that make a vet tech an important asset to the practice. Not only does a veterinarian want a technician that can throw a catheter in a half pound kitten and safely restrain that fractious dog for vaccines, they want (and need) someone who can be both a leader and a follower, someone with initiative, drive, and a willingness to learn, grow, challenge, be challenged, and of course have a passion for helping animals. In no particular order, here are just a few of the top skills and qualities veterinarians want from their veterinary technicians.

Vet Tech

Technical Skills

The job is more than technical skills, but as a vet tech, you wouldn’t have a job without these crucial skills. Some of these important skills include taking vitals, drawing blood, taking radiographs, running lab work, placing IV (or other types) of catheters, assisting in surgery, giving medications, restraining patients, and many more. Once you have mastered the basics, don’t be afraid to take the initiative to keep learning new skills that can benefit your vet and patients.

Communication

You might think being a veterinary technician means you only work with animals. Well, think again! As a vet tech, you play a key role in communicating with pet owners as well as other support staff, veterinarians, management, distributors, and others. Another important part of the job is gleaning history and information about a patient from the pet owner and relaying that information to the veterinarian in an efficient and concise manner. That being said, you do actually need to be able to communicate with animals too. Having knowledge about animal behavior is crucial to a safe and successful day on the job. Recognizing a patient’s body language can clue you in on how they are feeling and help you predict their next move.

Stays calm under pressure

Veterinarians appreciate having a vet tech who can stay calm under pressure. It won’t help anyone if you appear nervous, anxious, or overreact about an emergent case or difficult scenario. Animals can sense when you are upset or stressed so being agitated and anxious won’t help your patients either. In fact, by staying cool, calm, and collected, your energy can help the vet focus on the patient and can calm the patient – everyone wins!

Team player

Whether you are in a leadership position in your practice or a new graduate, operating as a team player is a key quality that veterinarians look for in their techs. At the center of every veterinary team are the veterinary technicians. Vet techs should work closely with the veterinarians, vet assistants, practice secretaries, and other staff to help ensure the days goes accordingly. When there is an emergency, everything goes smoothly when each team member knows what they should be doing and where they should be going in order to get the job done. A team communicates with each other, supports each other through tough times, laughs together, and works hard to reach the overall goals of the practice to make the clients and patients happy.

Positive attitude

Nobody likes to work with a Debbie Downer. Plain and simple, if you have a bad attitude, it creates a negative and stressful environment for the whole team, clients, and patients. If you have a pleasant attitude and maybe even the occasional sense of humor, your coworkers will enjoy being around you and everyone is in a better mood. This profession is hard and stressful enough without having to deal with personal drama or negative vibes. Make your work place a happy and fun environment, while still being professional of course.

Attentiveness and anticipation

Ask any vet, an exceptional technician is one who anticipates what the doctor needs before they even know they need it. This comes with time working, not only in the profession, but with your doctors and coworkers. Know how the schedules and routines flow and anticipate any hiccups to help you improve efficiency and productivity. Problem-solve ahead of time. Anticipate what might go wrong with a procedure and know how to correct it if it happens so you are prepared and ready. Pay attention to how your veterinarian functions, their preferences, and quirks. Be that reliable “go-to” technician that everyone wants to work with!  

Willingness to learn

Veterinary medicine is an ever-changing and progressing profession. To be a successful vet tech, be willing and eager to learn. Complacency won’t get you anywhere. Learn about the profession, new and old techniques and procedures, know what medications are in your practice, how they work, and what they treat. Read journals and magazines. Be present in conversations with your vets. Ask questions and remember the answers. It can help to keep a pocket notebook and write down the important things you need to know and new things to remember. Be open to growth as well as criticism and learn from not only your mistakes but also your successes.

Detail-oriented

Paying attention to detail is crucial as a vet tech. You will get a lot of information thrown at you all day long. Remember the important facts and details. You will be partly responsible for maintaining accurate medical records so missing details can have serious consequences. Remembering details about clients and patients can really impress them and convey that you care enough to remember something that might just be a trivial point. Keeping good detailed records and notes will help your doctor know that what you do is important to you and you value the job you have been given.

Compassionate

As a vet tech, you will need to be able to relate to the clients and care for their pets, understanding that to most pet owners, a pet is seen as an important and loved family member. Sometimes they will need comforting or encouraging and as a vet tech, you will need to be there for them. Empathize with what they are feeling and going through. Communicate with ease and compassion and they will love you for it. Demonstrating this compassion, care, and comfort to your patients is just as important. Don’t forget to be compassionate and empathetic to your doctors and coworkers too. Everyone has a tough day now and again and support from a team member is crucial.

Strong work ethic

It always seems like everyone is saying how hard it is to find good help these days. It’s true, good help is hard to come by. A veterinarian wants their technician to be trustworthy, patient, resilient, and hardworking amongst many other sought-after qualities. They need to be able to trust their team to do what they say they will. Veterinary medicine is not easy. There is a lot of hard work involved. Cleaning up messes, taking care of patients, and long hours with busy days. It takes a strong and resilient person. If you can have these qualities, you will be worth your weight in gold to a veterinarian.  

Amanda Jondle

Meet The Author

Dr. Amanda Jondle is licensed veterinarian who focuses on small animal medicine and surgery. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has a special Interest in integrative medicine, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. Besides caring for the animals on her farm, Dr. Jondle enjoys writing for her blog, Vetmewsings.com.

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