Just one thing: Leveraging the full veterinary technician skill set

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Just one thing: Practical tips for veterinary practices

Empowering veterinary technicians to use their full skill set is critical both to running efficient practices and to recruiting and retaining these important team members. In order to do that, we need a keen understanding of the breadth and depth of their education. 

Fortunately, there’s an easily accessible resource we can lean on to aid that understanding.

It takes less than 15 minutes

The AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities® Essential and Recommended Skills List details the skills, tasks, and decision-making abilities that an accredited education prepares veterinary technicians to carry out. The list includes more than 200 tasks that veterinary technician students must be able to complete in order to graduate from accredited educational programs. 

That makes it a practical tool for practice leaders to use when onboarding veterinary technicians and undertaking role and task reviews.

To make sure your practice is fully leveraging the abilities of veterinary technicians, start by investing up to 15 minutes in reading through the complete skills list. It includes detailed competencies in all of these areas:

  • Office and hospital procedures, client relations, and communication
  • Pharmacy and pharmacology
  • Nursing
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgical nursing
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Imaging
  • Laboratory animal procedures
  • Avian, exotic, and small mammal procedures

Armed with the details in the list, you can move on to taking proactive steps to overcome barriers to fully empowering veterinary technicians in your practice. Here are some possible next steps:

  • Assess and identify. Consider the tasks currently assigned to veterinary technicians in the practice. Are they fully leveraging their skills, knowledge, and abilities, or are there ways in which their expertise could be better utilized? Identify possible areas for improvement.
  • Communicate expectations. Dedicate time to talk with your whole team about the opportunities you’ve identified, your expectations for task delegation, and team communication. Emphasize the importance of open communication and collaboration in creating an environment where all team members feel valued and supported.
  • Promote continuing education. Explore opportunities for your practice’s veterinary technicians to expand and hone their skills and knowledge. Investing in their professional development enhances their ability to contribute and also demonstrates your commitment to support their growth and advancement.

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