Technicians are key to winning on preventive care

“Between the idea and the reality … falls the shadow,” wrote the American poet TS Eliot in the roaring 1920s. He could have been summing up a recent report by Partners for Healthy Pets, “Reversing the Decline in Veterinary Care Utilization: Progress Made, Challenges Remain.” The report was released at the AVMA conference yesterday.

Look out, Shadow. Julie Legred, CVT, has her eye on you.

Legred, executive director of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and NAVC senior manager of veterinary technician programs, says that technicians are a practice’s best ambassadors for preventive care.

With compassion, communication skills, time in the exam room – and, most important, a green light from the practice owner – technicians are in a perfect position to create a win-win-win for practices, pet owners, and pets.

NEWStat asked Legred to share her views on the strong role technicians can play in building a viable future for companion animal medicine.

Where do you see opportunities for technicians to make a difference in preventive care?

With the support of practice owners, technicians can be the vocal champions of leading practice efforts around preventive care. 

Clients often ask us our opinions and we can reinforce the practice’s philosophy and message regarding the value and benefit of preventive care that should come from everyone in the practice from the front desk staff to the veterinarians. 

And, of course, we can fill a primary role of patient care and client education when pet owners are at the practice.

What would you say to veterinarians, practice owners, and practice managers about technicians' role in preventive care?

Please take advantage of our passion, skills, commitment to our patients and our commitment to helping our practices be more successful. Technicians may be the most underutilized resource a practice has to offer!

Veterinary technicians are continually looking to have an impact on the lives of the animals we see every day. We’re also striving to improve ourselves professionally and for the good of our hospitals and teams.

We are passionate when it comes to our clients. We can take the time needed to spend with them, answer their questions and ensure they understand why we are asking them to do some of the things we recommend  like preventive care.

We work to build strong relationships with clients to increase their level of trust in the practices where we work.  

If you empower the veterinary technician and the rest of the team in the patients’ health care, to strengthen the veterinarian’s message and emphasize the benefits of preventive care, everyone wins.

Veterinary colleges have ramped up focus on preventive care. How might veterinary technician degree programs do the same?

Technicians learn a great deal about preventive care in current curriculum. We do feel there should be some training on how to talk about preventive care with clients so we are prepared to do so in the real world.

Knowing we will be utilized and leveraged for preventive care will get students excited about discussing preventive care in the future.

We step up to the plate in times of need and can make a huge difference in the lives of pets and people by being key players in the Partners for Healthy Pets push to help pet owners understand that annual checkups are as essential as food and love!