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A Technician’s Journey to Professional Wellness

Rachel Lees RVT, KPA CTP, VTS (Behavior)


What is Professional Wellness?  I considered this question as I began writing this blog post.  Therefore, I dissected and defined each of the words:

  • Professional:   Being engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.  

  • Wellness:  the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.  

The professional part was easy, we are Veterinary Technicians, and animal healthcare is the name of our game.  The wellness part is what was throwing me off. I began to ask myself, am I professionally well? I answered the question with a “yes” and then asked, “how did I get to this place?”  Therefore, I’m going to share my story with you:

Coming out of high school, I enrolled in our community colleges' Veterinary Technology Program.  I always loved animals and thought to myself this would be a great job choice for me. I struggled my first few semesters in the program as I was young and honestly didn't take things seriously.  I did NOT consider this a career initially, and I had no idea what this field entailed. I am not a quitter and continued to push myself to complete the program. As I finished and graduated in my second year, I grew to love the profession.  I obtained my first job as Rachel Lees, RVT and I felt that I could make a difference! In my clinic, I was the 1st utilized technician that they felt comfortable enough to intubate, administer anesthesia protocols, suture our surgical patients, etc.  It felt fantastic!

After I was working in my general practice for three years, looking back, I can say that lacked professional wellness.  I went into this mode of feeling like I was being forced to go to work. I lacked passion and honestly thought, “Wow! I guess this is it and this is all I have to look forward to in this industry.”  I felt that I had nowhere to develop from the place I was. Yes, I was working with amazing patients and clients every day, but I lost the passion that I had when I had first started in my position, and my job was becoming a chore.  

I worked for a practice which encouraged us to go to our local conference and take whatever tracks we would like (a practice that encouraged Professional Wellbeing)!  That year, I heard Dr. Megan Herron, DACVB speak about puppy socialization classes and working with animal behavior, and I felt a spark. I came back from that conference and felt passionate about my job again and felt like I could turn this into a career.  I actively pursued a goal in achieving my Veterinary Technician Specialty in Behavior, and this honestly changed my professional wellness for the better.

While working to achieve my VTS (Behavior), I met and interacted with many veterinary professionals who were like me.  They were serious about their careers, were utilized appropriately, and working to achieve a goal. Whether it was working towards their VTS (Dentistry) or pursuing their bachelor's degrees, it was inspiring and shifted my attitude completely!  I was positive and felt heartache for the technicians who gave up on the profession.

If you feel as I once did was eight years ago, I would encourage the same thing Rebecca Rose did in the previous post.  Download the AVMA's booklet of 100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing and look under the Occupational Wellbeing section.  Work through individual assessments and tips. Not every technician will find their passion in pursuing a specialty as I did, but I also feel that creating professional goals each year and working towards them is also beyond rewarding not only for yourself but for your practice.  Keep your attitude towards your profession positive and keep a forward-looking perspective. It was not an easy road getting to this place, but the feeling of joy and passion in the workplace is something I would never trade!

 

 

Professional Wellbeing-30 Years and Growing!

Rebecca Rose, CVT


It saddens me to see social media threads full of despair and even resentment towards a career I have personally found rewarding, intriguing and challenging. For me, the past 30 years in veterinary technology has been one opportunity after another. Sure, I have been known to see the cup half-full. I feel others may be missing an aspect of Professional Wellbeing in their career, something that is not built on luck, but rather pluck. The choice is yours.


What is Professional Wellbeing? Consider the temperature of your career. Is it lukewarm? Is it within the normal range? Or is your career on FIRE!? Growing and invigorating? Normal range may mean reaching its pinnacle within 5-7 years.


In all industries, a career is what you make it. It is up to you to take its pulse, determine how you will make it healthy and sustainable. Others have created sustainable, satisfying careers within veterinary hospitals and beyond. It is within your reach, too!


The majority of my career was designed while living in a small rural town on the Western Slope of Colorado (a town of 5,000 people). In a town three-hours away from a large city, in the middle of NOTHING I created SOMETHING. It was through exploring options in careers that grew my network and opened doors, even in the middle of the Rocky Mountains!


Identify your Professional Wellbeing, objectively, then set your sites on what it can be! Answer the following questions, truthfully, then start networking to make your career healthier and more satisfying.


  • How do I currently feel about my career in veterinary technology?

  • What is my career temperature; lukewarm, normal or on FIRE? Some other description?

  • Who, within my sphere of influence (or beyond) proves to be a model in Professional Wellbeing? Take that person out for lunch. Let the networking BEGIN!  

  • How can I create Professional Wellbeing in my life?

  • What do I need from my career (personally, professionally, financially)?

  • Be very clear in your needs!


In the AVMA’s booklet 100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing you will find the Occupational Wellbeing section. There you will find individual tips pointing you in the direction to gain personal satisfaction and enrichment. Your relationship with your career is crucial to your happiness and success. You spend 40 hours a week in veterinary technology, MAKE IT HEALTHY! Your attitude towards your job is yours alone, OWN IT!

 

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Disclaimer:

The website does not provide specific psychotherapy advice. The site is intended only for use by consumers in search of general information pertaining to wellbeing and related topics. Content is not intended to replace or serve as substitute for professional consultation or service. Observations and opinions on the website should not be misconstrued as specific advice.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.



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