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Tech Week Q & A: Life as a Drake Technician

Tech Week Q & A: Life as a Drake Technician

October 13-19 is National Veterinary Technician Week!

At The Drake Center, veterinary technicians are vital to the everyday function of the practice and play critical roles in promoting pet health in our community.

According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA), National Veterinary Technician Week was developed to honor “the annual commitment every veterinary technician gives to the profession of veterinary technology, veterinary assisting and veterinary medicine.”

To celebrate, we’ve asked our team to share a little bit about their lives in veterinary technology.

What made you want to pursue veterinary technology?

  • Loree: When I was in high school, I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. I got a job at a veterinary hospital to get experience with animals and ended up falling in love with medicine.

  • Angel: My love for animals! They are my life.

  • Andrew: I care deeply for the health and well being of animals and love that I can be a part of helping them maintain both.

  • Kim: I had an interest in nursing and was drawn toward helping animals.

  • Danielle: I’ve always had a passion for animals and their care. This just seemed like a perfect fit for me.

How did you become a technician?

  • Peggy: I attended the University of Minnesota, Waseca for a two-year associate degree in animal health technology. Because it is also a veterinary school, I gained plenty of hands-on experience rotating through the facility.

  • Angel: Initially I wanted to be a vet, but when I started working in the field, I realized I really wanted to be a nurse. I love the hands-on care.

  • Andrew: I am currently enrolled in the Penn Foster veterinary technology program, but most of my knowledge has come from hands-on experience at The Drake Center.

  • Mike: I worked as the manager of a pet resort at an animal hospital for five years. Then, when I applied for a front desk position at VetSmart (now Banfield), I was informed that a technician position had just opened. They said, “Do you want to be a tech?” and I said, “Yes!”

  • Melissa: I started my training on the job at Banfield Animal Hospital and continued learning in my 11 years at The Drake Center. I’ve gained lots of experience through continuing education classes and picking the veterinarians’ brains.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

  • Loree: My days vary, depending on whether I am on the exam room or surgery team. If I’m on the surgery team, my day consists of performing dental procedures, monitoring anesthesia and taking care of our patients post-operatively. Surgery days are quite demanding. Exam room days can be a lot of fun because of the variety of tasks I perform—client education, X-rays, blood work, cytologies and more. Sometimes we have very sick patients that are hospitalized on IV fluids and need constant monitoring. Those are always my favorite to take care of.

  • Andrew: One of the things I enjoy the most about my job is that there truly is no typical day. Every day is different, so I never get bored.

  • Melissa: It varies! I do everything from client education, patient history, lab work, X-rays and sample collections to emergencies, wound care, surgical assisting and anesthetic monitoring. And of course, lots of dog and cat lovin’!

  • Kim: Most days, I am on the surgery team. That includes getting patients ready for surgery, monitoring anesthesia, recovering patients after surgery, preparing charts and getting medications—and of course, the patients—ready to go home.

What is your favorite part of the job?

  • Vivian: The best thing about working in a veterinary hospital is seeing animal that was sick get better and especially go home to his or her family.

  • Loree: I love being able to play a role in helping sick and injured pets feel better.

  • Angel: My favorite part of the job is seeing families with their pets.

  • Melissa: My favorite part of the job is improving a pet’s bond with his or her owner and making a positive difference in their lives. I also love helping the sick, injured and behavior-challenged.

  • Danielle: My favorite part is probably when a new kitten comes in for the first time. I love kittens!

Who is your favorite patient and why?

  • Peggy: The one at the moment! There are so many. Some are from years back that I still remember, some are young puppies and kittens and some are cranky old seniors (I have a soft spot for them). Some I helped survive and thrive, some look like my own pets—now and from my past.

  • Mike: There is no way I could pick a favorite patient! I have been with The Drake Center for 15 years and have seen dogs I remember as eight-week-old puppies come in for their senior exams. It is such a blessing to be in a position to care for all these pets. I have so many favorite patients, along with favorite clients. After a day at work, I come home to my own babies who are excited to see me. They always seem to say, “Who you been with today, Daddy?”

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?

  • Mike: We have a strong team here at The Drake Center and I would do anything to help my coworkers. That said, on April Fools’ Day a number of years ago, it was raining hard and the hospital was very busy. I came through the treatment doors and was met by Dr. Boehme and Kim, who told me that a boarding cat had escaped and gotten outside. I panicked and immediately ran outside in the pouring rain, where I saw a tiger striped cat (I thought) stuck in a tree near the parking lot. I called her, “Tiger, Tiger, it’s okay! Come here, kitty!” I climbed up the muddy slope and finally realized that it was a stuffed animal that a coworker had placed in the tree. As I turned around, I saw 12 coworkers and doctors bent over laughing as I was totally soaked through and through.

  • Peggy: When I first started in this career, I was asked to get a “vicious” animal out of an upper cage. It was under a towel with just the rear showing. Armed with gloves and a towel and standing on a step stool, I was ready. It turns out that it was just some fur from a very matted dog that was shaved before I arrived at work! (Why I didn’t notice the lack of hissing, I can’t explain.) Needless to say, I have pulled the same prank on newer employees. They are part of the family when they are blessed with that task. Only now it is a “mean guinea pig”—they are smaller and silent for the most part.

  • Loree: This is from “Anonymous.” Once there was a dog that didn’t want to go into his cage, so I was helping him with a little push and one of my fingers kind of went in his rear. I sure didn’t think it was funny (nor did the dog), but my coworkers thought it was hilarious.

  • Danielle: I brought a puppy up front to his owner after giving his vaccines and as I was talking to his mom, I felt my pants starting to come down! He was pulling the string on my scrub pants like a tug-of-war toy!

  • Vivian: So far, the funniest thing was tracking poop all around the hospital and having the doctor ask everyone, “Who has poop on their shoe?” I said it wasn’t me until I looked down and my pants were covered in poop and so was my shoe.

What do you want people to know about your job?

  • Vivian: It’s a very rewarding profession. It makes me feel good inside to know I am helping animals and their owners. Sometimes the job is challenging. At a veterinary hospital, there are often difficult decisions to be made. But even in those instances, it’s gratifying to know that the pet’s comfort is the first priority.

  • Peggy: It is very satisfying. You get to know quite a bit about veterinary medicine and it is an ongoing education. There is such an opportunity to see and experience many different things and to keep learning. You are limited only by yourself.

  • Mike: I want my clients to know that I want the very best treatment for their family members. I love this facility, I love my job and I am blessed that I can work at a hospital that is fun, professional and a true service to our patients and clients.

  • Melissa: I would like people to know how much education and skill is behind a good technician’s care. Also, how much I love my patients!

  • Kim: Our one job entails many different jobs. We are laboratory techs, X-ray techs, dental hygienists, anesthetists and critical care nurses.

  • Danielle: We really, truly do care about and love your babies (even the ones that don’t always love us)!

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