October 09, 2019 Other Topics

Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week: AMC’s Veterinary Technician Internship Program

A veterinarian and a veterinary technician administer a radiation treatment to a bunny

Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week: AMC’s Veterinary Technician Internship Program

Next week, October 13-19, 2019, is Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week. This annual celebration honors the efforts of the veterinarian’s right hand, the veterinary technician, sometime called a veterinary nurse. These professionals keep veterinary practices running and play a vital role in all aspects of animal health. The Animal Medical Center has about 90 licensed veterinary technicians on staff, with a wide range of skills, experience and responsibilities. In 2018, I highlighted two individual AMC technicians with different roles. This year, I am going to highlight AMC’s veterinary technician internship (VTI) program, which prepares newly graduated technicians for a career as best-in-class veterinary technicians.

AMC’s Veterinary Technician Internship

For many of the past 40 years, AMC has maintained a clinical training program for veterinary technicians.  This mentored program trains graduates of AVMA-accredited veterinary technology programs in optimal patient care and other skills that expand their veterinary knowledge. These technicians gain extensive experience from other veterinary professionals, many of whom are board certified, in one of the busiest and best recognized veterinary hospitals in the world. The most recent class of veterinary technician interns began their rotations this past summer.

Classroom Training

After a 2-week orientation, the internship begins in earnest. The classroom training in the VTI program is more practical than lecture-based. There are laboratory sessions where the VTIs practice skills on models as preparation for a “real” patient. They also practice using monitoring equipment in a controlled environment rather than in AMC’s high stakes ICU. Lectures on various technical skills continue throughout the year to compliment the mentored clinical experiences. These lectures are given by AMC’s board certified veterinarians, veterinary technician clinical educators and veterinary technician clinical skills specialists.

Practical Training

VTIs spend their year at AMC honing their skills in multiple areas of the hospital under the guidance of a licensed veterinary technician. They split their time between medical and surgical nursing rotations. Medical rotations include AMC’s emergency room and special care unit, while surgical nursing rotations include time in the operating room, recovery room and surgical instrument preparation. VTIs also have elective rotations of their choosing.

Career Pathway for VTI Graduates

The AMC VTI program graduates have a wide range of career pathways open to them. AMC’s veterinary technician clinical educators and veterinary technician clinical skills specialists are former VTIs. Many VTIs go on to become board certified technicians in one of four recognized specialties: Anesthesia/Analgesia, Dentistry, Emergency Critical Care and Internal Medicine, which has six subspecialties. There are also 12 provisionally recognized specialties for veterinary technicians.

To hear about one AMC patient’s experience with AMC’s nursing staff, read about Black Jack the cat.

For a unique perspective on the veterinary technician mindset, read: “You know you are a vet tech when…….”