Today our clinic had a very special visitor. We had a job shadow come and learn a bit about becoming a veterinary technician. A freshman in high school, I won’t lie I wasn’t expecting much out of her. I expected her to quietly follow us around and meekly ask any questions she felt would help her pass whatever school assignment she was working on. But this young girl was exactly what I would want in a future coworker or employee!
She asked questions. Really good questions. “How do you collect urine on a patient?” “What skills do you need to be a successful vet tech?” “Was your first euthanasia the hardest?” This young woman was assertive and looking for knowledge. Not just to pass a class, but to truly get a feel for what it is like to be a veterinary technician. I couldn’t help but be reminded of when I was in high school and had starry eyes about becoming a vet tech.
I watched on in pride of seeing this future vet tech own it, ask questions and not be afraid to strike up a conversation with any of the staff from receptionist, to tech to doctor. I, myself, was a meek and mild teenager, so I knew this young lady’s perseverance and drive would get her far in life. And then I heard someone ask her the question that breaks many a vet tech’s heart. “Well, have you considered becoming a veterinarian?” This question brought me back to every student counselor meeting I had in high school. To every person who asked this exact same question as I radiated in excitement from telling them about my chosen profession.
Frequently, my friends don’t understand why I chose this profession. Heck, most of them have no idea what the profession means. My parents stated regularly “You’re so smart. Why don’t you become a veterinarian?” at holiday dinners. Hell, I have even had doctors tell me that. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the intended flattery.
But for so many of us techs, this is our dream. This profession is in our blood. We are techs and we have no desire to become vets. Not that there’s a single thing wrong with any position in the clinic. Just that being a vet tech is what we live, we breathe and it’s what gets us up in the morning. I am sure that many vets feel the same way about their title. It would be just as awkward to ask a future veterinarian why didn’t they just become a human doctor.
As my heart sunk realizing, that this was a question that this young girl would hear frequently as she blazed her own trail, I waited for her response. “Yes, I have and I would really prefer to work closely with the animals and nurse them to get well.” I was dumbfounded. Here was this high school freshman who knew exactly what she wanted to do and why she wanted to do it. She was not ashamed. She didn’t want to do anything else in her life and she had no problem telling a veterinarian as such. She had no apologies for her choice and wanted to put in the time, energy and research to solidify this choice.
In her I saw my tribe and I was proud. I was proud of every young student who knew what they wanted to do in life. I was proud of those who I knew would soon be working alongside me, with their heads held high because being a vet tech was their calling. And above all, I was proud of this girl. She spoke what I, and many other technicians, have wanted to say. That she will be a vet tech and she will be proud of her choice.
Given I have always been a woman of few words, I didn’t say a word while overhearing this conversation. But for young Jayden and those young and upcoming students who feel this profession is your destiny, don’t give up. Be proud. Don’t second guess yourself and your choices. We can’t wait to have you on our team. Thank you for reminding me of the pride I have in my choices by showing me the pride in yours.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jade is a licensed technician of 9 years who lives in Port Orchard, Washington. She enjoys emergency and critical cases, dentistry and creating a bond with her clients and team. During her off time she is busy keeping up with her two crazy Basenjis!