By Heather Quilty, RVT
Do I have your attention?
The veterinary profession is hard, on all ends of the spectrum. The hours are long, demands and emotions are high and the salary and wages less than ideal. From kennel workers and vets who must give up their weekends and holidays to care for pets to office managers and RVTs who take on extra duties and hours to make sure the business is successful we are giving it our all.
Then the imposter syndrome/phenomenon rears its ugly head and we start wondering who we are to even be capable of doing the things we do. When will people find out we don’t have a clue? Despite the years of schooling, the successful board exams, the earned promotions and the hundreds/thousands of cases we’ve helped we are still convinced we don’t have it figured out. The RVT or Dr. across the room for sure knows way more than us (unless maybe they are thinking the same way?)
I think this combination of internal and external stressors are a big reason why so many people leave the profession. So, I have a plan and I want you to join me in the plan. Do you want in??
The next time you place a catheter in a 2 pound dehydrated Chihuahua (or whatever magical superpower you have) and someone says, “Holy cow, that was awesome!!!” I want you to respond with, “Thanks!!! I know!!”
And the next time you see one of your co-workers performing their super skills, tell them they're awesome and make sure they believe it.
Own your awesomeness and then share it. We have such a hard time accepting praise when we clearly deserve it. If we don't take the time to recognize the value in each other and ourselves, why do we expect everyone else to do it? I guarantee the more times your team members hear you lift each other up, the more they will want to join in.
In addition to owning the “awesome,” teach with it, too. If you are the go-to person for fractious cat restraint, or the RVT with the magic touch when it comes to blood smears, or if you have a way with those not so happy clients, share your skills. Teach your colleagues your special gifts and ask them to do the same.
I can honestly say I have been in awe, in one way or another, of every RVT I have ever worked with. We can learn so much from each other.
If you are new to the field, find a mentor. If you're a pro, take a new grad under your wing. I bet you'll both learn new things.
You can thank me later.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather has been an RVT for just shy of 18 years and has spent time in small animal practice, large animal/farm animal practice and teaching veterinary assisting at the college level. Currently, she is the practice manager of a growing small animal practice. In addition to her RVT designation, she has a B.Ed in Adult Learning/Post-Secondary Education from Memorial University. Heather is also very active within the RVT profession and has sat as vice-president, president and past-president of RVTTC. She is also the current vice-president of the EVTA. She lives and works in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, 2 children and 2 cats named Chicken and Fish.