Inside AAHA: October 2021

New AAHA president Adam Hechko, DVM, discusses the value of technicians to the practice, and urges us all to thank out techs and assistants for the jobs they do every day. Dear AAHA answers the question of online CE for assistants, and AAHA gives a shout-out for National Veterinary Technician Week.

View from the Board

Technicians: Crucial at Every Step

Veterinary technicians are a crucial part of every patient care team. As pandemic fatigue continues, veterinary teams are stressed with feelings of being overworked and overwhelmed. But let’s not forget how amazing our industry is! Throughout the pandemic, veterinarians and their teams were considered essential. The jobs we did each day during the darkest days of the pandemic helped numerous families find comfort and peace in the fact that, though everything else might be going wrong, their furry loved ones were well taken care of.

As we continue to adjust to the rapid changes to protocols and workflows in veterinary medicine, we are also dealing with decreases in productivity. This can be from burnout, lack of in-person connection with loved ones, or simply the emotional challenges both personally and professionally we have all faced over the past year. Now is the time to step back and acknowledge all we’ve done while evaluating how to keep improving and embracing that some of the changes exacerbated by the pandemic may be here to stay.

While we appreciate the hard work and contributions all team members make in the care of our patients, the value technicians have in our practices can sometimes be overlooked. Technicians are critical to providing care for patients as veterinarians diagnose, prognose, and prescribe medications. Without technicians, we simply wouldn’t be able to help as many patients throughout the day.

Technicians also have some of the highest attrition rates of all healthcare professions—including registered nurses. Encouraging technicians to fully utilize their skills and knowledge to their fullest capacity in daily practice can improve productivity, retention, and engagement. Many clients expect more advanced diagnostics and therapy to care for their pets, and veterinary technicians are instrumental in delivering these services with the highest quality of care for our patients.

Providing opportunities for the personal and professional growth of team members in areas such as communication, leadership, specialization, wellbeing, and emotional intelligence offers pathways for technicians to grow, find greater job satisfaction, and elevate the level of care that is provided to every pet and family that enter our hospitals.

The next time you are at work, ask yourself: “Have I asked my technicians how they are today or thanked them for their work?” We hope this issue of Trends offers some ideas for how to support your technicians with opportunities to utilize their skills and fulfill their reasons for joining veterinary medicine.

Adam Hechko
Adam Hechko, DVM, is AAHA’s president 2021–2022. A proud graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and an avid Buckeye fan, Hechko earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 2006 following the completion of his undergraduate degree from the University of Findlay in 2002. Since 2006, Hechko has served as owner and medical director for North Royalton Animal Hospital, a four-doctor small animal practice that includes a pet resort, daycare, and grooming in North Royalton, Ohio. 


Dear AAHA,

We have an amazing assistant in our practice who wants to become a technician. We want to support her, but she’s also a crucial part of our team and we can’t imagine getting by day-to-day without her. Any suggestions for CE she could take online?

—Supporting new techs in Louisiana

Dear Supporting,

It is so wonderful that you have a team member who wants
to become a technician. The Distance Education Veterinary
Technology Program (DEVTP) is an online veterinary technology
associate degree program developed by AAHA in partnership
with Dallas College where assistants can use hands-on
experience at your practice while studying to become techs. The
program is self-paced with opportunities to “fast-track” labs for
large-animal and lab-animal rotations, so she won’t have to be
away from your practice for too long. And once she graduates
from DEVTP, she is qualified to take the VTNE. Get more details
about costs and schedules at

—AAHA’s Member Experience Team

Have a question you’d like AAHA to answer? Email us at [email protected].


Thank You, Veterinary Technicians!

InsideAAHA1.jpgOctober 17–23, 2021, is National Veterinary Technician Week! Looking for a way to say thank you on your social media? We have downloadable frames ready to use at

At AAHA, we recognize that great veterinary practices run on the fuel of efficient support teams. This month, we extend an extra special thank you to technicians at AAHA-accredited hospitals and beyond.

AAHA Meetings and Events

AAHA is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and we will continue to follow recommended public health guidelines leading up to all scheduled AAHA events.


Beyond Medicine Workshop

October 30



Beyond Medicine Workshop

November 13

Register for a learning program and learn more about AAHA’s upcoming events.


Photo credits: spukkato/iStock via Getty Images



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