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Veterinary Technician Shortage a Issue Of Turnover? SAY WHAT?!



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Earlier this week, the AVMA revealed a robust write-up about the veterinary technician shortage dealing with veterinary medicine (Url Under). For those who you should not know, veterinary technicians are in substantial need. That seems like good news for veterinary nurses, will not it? Well, part of the explanation this need exists might be that vet techs are leaving the industry. Let’s converse about that and what we can do to make veterinary medicine a much better put for them to be.

28 comments

  1. I am a CVT and quit my job at a clinic back in November to work at a lab. BEST decision I have ever made. Never going back to the crazy clinic life.

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  2. You are spot on. I was proud to be a RVT for five years, but due to most veterinarians not wanting to pay a RVT little more than a veterinary assistant that they trained  I went into veterinary management. The salary was a lot higher and still allowed me to work in the field and frankly be under less stress. After sixteen years working in veterinary medicine I decided to become a dog groomer and have had my own business since 2001. What I really think is terrible is how the public do not know that a lot of veterinary hospitals allow non registered techs to administer medications and do procedures to their beloved pets. I know of several cases of animals becoming sick or even dying due to mistakes by non qualified staff. Veterinary medicine is the only medical field that gets away with having health care done by assistants that have not completed training other than hands on experience. Dental techs, massage therapists and nurses all have to have degrees. I have been waiting for someone to spill the beans in a book or television program like 20/20 or 60 minutes. This all is partly the AVMA's fault too, because they allow it. No non RVMT should be allowed to monitor a patient under anesthesia when the doctor is not even in the room and it happens, a lot of times when the vet is allowing a dental prophylaxis to be done meanwhile they are going in and out of exam rooms seeing patients. The public has no idea what really goes on. Most RVMT do not feel appreciated for their knowledge and time spent in school. The pay should be a lot higher for the responsibility they take on.

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  3. Because the pay is crap

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  4. The first thing the Veteranarian industry needs to do is provide Mal-Practice and ethics system. Animals can't talk and Vet's guess a lot. Then the Vet's are charging prices nearing human medical expenses. The best place for your animal to get sick is at a Vet's office. There are evolving bacteria and viruses that are not properly sanitized in these buildings and most Vets don't have to continue testing to stay updated. The AVMA is a scam in a half. They do nothing for the Industry.

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  5. Vet techs can't pass drug tests

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  6. I'm a licensed RVT and the pay should be higher – we all know that. EVERYONE'S pay should be higher in this shithole capitalist country. You people comparing yourselves to RNs and saying that you deserve the same pay as them are fucking delusional and ignorant. And I say this as someone who was also an EMT and worked in human medicine. Yes, we are 'vet nurses' and do a lot of work that parallels an RN's but it is NOT the same as having human lives in your hands. Part of the reason this field pays so shit is because the majority of the people who are drawn to it are out of touch weird people with unrealistic ideas who think this way. That's why there is no standardization in the field, no unionization, no organizing to protest wages.

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  7. Veterinarians fucking SUCK. They are arrogant control freaks who think they are god's gift to humanity and that a DVM also means they have an MBA or equivalent experience. They won't allow hospital administrators with business acumen and degrees actually manage their businesses because they think they know everything better than anyone. They are the WORST business owners I can think of, the WORST people managers, and don't give a damn about their employees. They have no qualms about flaunting their lifestyles (and they are always living well beyond their means, thinking they deserve the same prestige and income as human MDs) in front of their poverty level veterinary technicians who are trying to decide whether to repair their car's engine, buy groceries, or pay their electric bills. They are crooked, greedy, uneducated, largely conservative, judgmental, uncultured, unaware nerds with zero people skills (and I don't mean putting on their bullshit acts in front of clients). They expect this undying, selfless commitment of people's entire LIVES to their business with ZERO benefits and shit pay in return. It's actually comical if it wasn't so infuriating and disgusting. That's the best word I can think – disgusting people. Inconsiderate as hell. I can't say enough about how much I can't stand them as a group. Like with any group of people it's not all – although a veterinarian (as a person) that I can stomach for more than 5 minutes is rare – but 99% of owners I feel this way about.

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  8. It's absolutely not the work, I was planning to become a vet tech but seeing the low pay for all of the hard labor, I'll just go for a DVM

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  9. I'm currently going to school to be a vet tech and my potential graduation date is Fall 2018. I feel that the salary is the main issue. I mean, an RN is making an average of at least $30 (from what I'm seeing) while I'm about to go into a field that I see is going to be more complicated than an RN and is paid way less. I honestly, don't find that fair at all. We are facing a dilemma where we are saving lives, yet we barely will able to afford a place of our own, but this also depends on the individual's life setting. I'm not to educated about whether pet insurance is a thing or if it's worth having. In my own opinion, animals are people too, so we shouldn't worry too much about the price being raised a little. You hit all of the aspects right on the head.

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  10. Oh..what a shock…. let's pay LVT's less than a McDonlad's employees expect them to work long long hours, and have to do hard labor and everything else. So you can not move out of your parents house or afford to have a child…. so yeah you leave to find a job that will allow you to have your own place AND eat. Tech's are abused, over worked, under paid, under appreciated, and by the time you're burnt out….you can't wait to leave the field.

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  11. Ive been a tech for 4 years, i didn't go to school for it but im stuck in the middle of it, our dr yells at us, throws instruments and goes on a rage fit day to day, and im ready to get out, what happens when you feel stuck to help animals but cant bare to continue? we work threw our lunches and late into the night at least two days a week, i want somebody to convince me other wise but i just don't think i can continue.

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  12. I wonder how much he pays his techs lol

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  13. Have to agree with Allie. I know many practices have limited profit, and people forget that a more efficient team saves money. Adequately rewarding employees makes happy, efficient team members. Decent salaries, paid vacations, health plans, employee discounts, flexible schedules, professional development – including paid attendance at meetings and training programs, and time off for classes. Without the basics, any other perk is meaningless.

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  14. If I wanted to open a animal hospital, what experiences should the techs and the doctors have?

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  15. Pay techs more, make hours more reasonable, realize people have other things in their lives that are important too, dont overload your staff with tasks, or veterinary medicine will suffer the fate of human medicine. Which means doctors will either close up or have to do it all themselves, nurses and support staff are done.

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  16. Assistants have a faster turnover closer to 2-3 years in small animal clinics I have found. When the environment isn't favorable, and fellow employees are quicker to critique/judge rather than assist it makes it hard to want to stay for an extended period of time. I was at my clinic for two years as an assistant during high school, and I assisted in training at least 3 new employees during my time there just to watch them walk out the door sometimes only a few months after.

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  17. It's the pay, not the job. I love being a vet tech but the downfall is I make as much as a McDonald's employee and I have three degrees. We can only do the dirty work for so long anyway, it takes a toll on you.

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  18. I really love animals and have heavily considered becoming a vet tech, but I am very turned off by the burnout rate. 🙁

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  19. Wow, very interesting to hear. I am a student considering going into a Vet Tech program. I absolutely love animals and health care enviornments, but I wish working conditions and wages were held to a higher standard in this career. Being unable to move up the ladder is also a setback. I sure hope some positive changes can be made. I still have my options open but this proffession is really where my passion lies. Just the sheer awareness of the issues you mentioned is a positive step. Going onward, I've noticed change doesn't typically occur in business settings until the numbers are low enough to catch the attention of those in charge.

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  20. How do we increase pay without overall increasing the cost of veterinary medicine? How do we give technicians opportunities for growth within a practice? Most practices already have established managers. I've asked myself these questions for 13 years.

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  21. your spot on! I recently graduated from a 2 yr vet tech program,, and my sister is an rna… I still dnt understand y the medical fields (for both humans and animals) dnt grasp the concept of: the happier and more healthy ure docs and nurses are…. the more better off your patients will b.
    note: I'm trying to consider and figure in the wages and hrs, and how adding x employees would hurt a private practice or docs catching up on student loans etc. but,,,
    y both vets and vet staff can't hav stable 4 10 hr shift…. that 3rd day off I guarantee will help with burnout… ure staff including vet needs their lunch break, it's not that we r being babies,,, it's simple logic, our bodies and minds need to b recharged so as to better treat our clients and patients! it's not rocket science, I completely agree the turn over rate I have seen already in clinics r crazy.

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  22. I believe the low pay has a lot to do with why so many techs decide to leave practice. Personally, I work at a university in the ICU and in order to make $18 I have to work weekend overnights. That's 13 hr shifts three days a week. Often, I don't get lunch and occasionally I have to stay over. There's two techs on my shift currently dealing with anywhere up to 25 patients at a time. Just this past weekend, I was left alone with 15 patients. This is a recipe for disaster. It makes the techs feel overwhelmed and in that situation (with critical patients) that is too much to handle with just one person. I have only been at this practice for 1 1/2 years and I'm close to being burnt out. It is definitely easy to think about how you can make better or equal money doing something that is much less stressful and potentially harmful to yourself. Something different has to be done in our line of work to take care of our staff.

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  23. Is the like a job not for men ?

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  24. Is it possible to add another position in vet medicine? maybe a position that is sort of in the middle between vet, vet tech, and vet assistants? Or maybe we could start making bigger animal hospitals? The only thing that I can see is business needs to boom and i see in recent years that veterinary business is gradually becoming more popular, but i also think that people need to be aware of pet insurance as well. and i fee like not a lot of people care for it. a lot of people think that "oh it's just an animal it doesnt need to go to the vet unless it really has to." i think that sucks. i think if we want more business and if we want people to care for their animals, we need to get people to realize that they can put their animals on insurance or something like that. pets are luxuries, so i guess it's just really hard to get people to spend money to keep their animals well and healthy. i think that's just realistically how it is.

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  25. I knew going in the average lifespan of an RVT was 5 years… and i lasted a whopping 1 and a half years in the workforce. Pretty early on I was so dissatisfied with the income – which didn't match the workload or compare to other professions….not even close. And as you said, no career advancement. No substantial future or growth. It's all nice and well to help animals, but ya gotta help yourself first. What good is it if im miserable, living under poverty line and can't pay my bills? I made the switch to human nursing and the prospects are much brighter there, when i get out of school I'll make far more than i ever would as a tech, even if I was a tech for 20+ years. And this is just income/compensation alone, there are other issues like you said.

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  26. You've nailed so many aspects of this problem Dr Roark – I'm in the UK and the issues with vet nurse retention are as prevalent here, and I'd say, founded by the same issues. Your point about wellness is absolutely spot on too – practices MUST know how to promote this, know how to look after staff, and know how to deal with problems when things go wrong – it's a responsibility that really should be observed – but currently, in most cases, isn't.

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  27. I would love to post this on my website- we are veterinary management consultants and Veterinary Relief professionals agency
    The Life Work Balance Consulting.
    Are you ok if I post this,it is awesome info

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  28. could also be that you're way too picky in hiring too. I mean I finished my schooling a year ago, and I'm still looking for a job because of a lack of experience. how do you expect a new grad to get experience if you don't give her a chance?

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