Technicians Focus on Hurricane Relief Efforts, Talk with Students During National Veterinary Technic

Veterinary technicians across the country celebrated National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW) Oct. 9-15, 2005, with a variety of activities. The focus of this year’s national appreciation week, due to the timing, was on hurricane relief as well as demonstrations to students, said professionals.

When talking with prospective students at Bel-Rea Institute for Veterinary Technology, Denise Mikita, CVT, emphasized career options such as jobs with government agencies and pharmaceutical companies as alternatives to small and large animal practice. In the future, the Colorado Veterinary Technician’s Association, for which Mikita is administrator, hopes to focus on public outreach as well as student education. Citing low numbers of technicians graduating from colleges, Mikita urges practice managers to utilize technicians to their highest potential, which challenges them and provides higher compensation. “It’s not that we don’t have enough technicians,” Mikita said, “They’re just not staying in the field. They can’t afford to stay in the field.” Allowing technicians to run puppy socialization classes or nutrition seminars or asking them to take charge of client follow-up calls are two ways that technicians can take a more active role in the practice, she said.

Initial NAVTA reports indicate that, “the main focus [of the week] this year was on relief efforts,” said Pat Navarre, RVT, executive director for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), which has initiated the weeklong promotion for the last 15 years. The goal, technicians said, is to educate the public about the services and value that veterinary technicians bring to private practices, colleges, labs, companies, and ultimately to pets. NAVTA created a DVD titled “The World of the Veterinary Technician” and continues to promote the Good News for Pets website that contains news about the profession for journalists. Next year the NVTW will be held Oct. 15-21, 2006, and efforts may center on pet-related disaster legislation, Navarre said. The association has not decided which legislation to support, but Navarre said that technicians who volunteered at shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi were distressed by the number of owners who were forced to leave pets behind during Hurricane Katrina, and would like to support an alternative. “We’d like to take the information from the hurricane relief efforts and mold different objectives for 2006,” Navarre said. “The week may center around legislation and how technicians are part of the dynamic hurricane team.”