December 5, 2008

Public Impressions

One of the reasons I had wanted to be involved with the training of vet nurses was that after I graduated I soon realised how important their role is in veterinary practice. I was lucky enough to be taught by two amazing women in Auckland, both of whom had extensive vet practice experience, one also into private human surgery. This was also true of my move to Whangarei, and later Queenstown,  where I felt privileged to work with people who had such skill and endless compassion for the clients and the animals. Many of them also helped me run our boarding cattery at home in Whangarei. One of them is due to pass through Christchurch this weekend, and after being friends for 25 years, I am so looking forward to seeing her.

When we interview for prospective students, we try to find out if they are "people people'. A love of animals is all very well, but dealing with the public, being part of a team, going the extra mile,  are skills that do not come easily to many applicants, but are invaluable later. We also look for realistic expectations and that, like it or not, cleaning and poos are an unavoidable occupational past time. Despite our interview process, one of our new students once commented to another staff member at a clinic, who was a recent vet nursing graduate herself, as she cleaned out a cage on her hands and knees...
" Are you the cleaning lady? I'm going to be a vet nurse you know, and we don't do cleaning...".
A year with us has knocked some sense into her head, but not many vet nurses, techs, or even good vets, will ever avoid this part of the job. It is not all cuddling animals, whatever people might think.

So it was with interest I read this post today here about how the public treat the vet nurses in this vet clinic. I like this blog... and she has captured how I feel about the way clinic staff get treated perfectly!

To quote a wee bit:
One thing that really steams me is clients that are two faced. You know the kind: rude and arrogant to the receptionists and technicians, simpering and sweet to the veterinarian. I unfortunately have been on the receiving end of the rude attitude way too many times during my stint as a technician, so hearing from my techs that the client was rude or mean or belittling to them makes it very difficult for me to go out of my way and be super nice when I get in the room with the clients.
And she is right!!!!

Thank you All but One Species :)


  1. I cringe when I hear people say how much they want to be a vet or tech because they just love animals so much - most of them just don't realize that it's as much of a people job as it is an animal job. I overheard one classmate of mine telling another classmate that she wanted to go to vet school after she finished tech school because she just didn't want to deal with the clients...

  2. It takes all sorts to make a world, my dear. And yes, there are those who think they are the cat's whiskers when they are in reality the dog's doo doo. Luckily the bad ones realise that they are unsuited and are weeded out. So many student nurse [in my time, the 50s] dropped out when they realized that it meant more than smoothing fevered brows.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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