What Qualities Make a Good Vet Tech?

Published on November 3, 2020 by arothstein

Vet tech providing service for a client and their pet

Are you interested in becoming a vet tech? Working on obtaining the qualities that will make you successful? You can build your set of qualities while completing a two-year associate’s program in veterinary technology. A competent vet tech has the necessary education and credentials to succeed, but a really good vet tech possesses unique qualities.

Qualities of a Good Vet Tech

There are many qualities that make a vet tech successful. With this set of qualities, learned during a vet tech program and on the job as a vet tech, you can become a success in the industry.

Quality #1: Courtesy

Courtesy means exemplary social behavior when dealing with others. A vet tech should always show respect for the people they interact with, even if the other person does not.

For example, you may be explaining to an owner why their dog should be fed prescription food. The owner may not think that the change is necessary. You can describe that the change is required, why it is required and offer to have the veterinarian explain, if necessary. Your assistance and passion will prove as an invaluable resource, both to your employer and client.

Quality #2: Dependability

Everyone on the staff at a veterinary hospital has tasks that they’re expected to handle each day. It’s vital for everyone on the team to follow through with their duties.

Imagine, you have an early morning, non-emergency appointment. The vet has you scheduled to assist in surgery. You plan ahead and either change their appointment or have a co-worker cover for you in surgery. By doing this, you prove your dependability and your ability to prioritize. The veterinarian can trust that you know what is important and that they can depend on you.

Quality #3: Discretion

One of the qualities a vet tech must have is discretion. Your responsibility is to respect a client’s privacy and be diplomatic when dealing with difficult situations. When a veterinarian directs you to provide a client with information about medications or homecare, that information is to be kept confidential. For example, a vet tech should never discuss the financial arrangements a client has to cover their pet’s treatment cost.

Quality #4: Ethical

Every veterinary practice has standards that they expect their employees to uphold. For example, a vet tech may not dispense medication to a client without a direct order from the veterinarian. Clients expect specific criteria to be met in their pet’s treatment.

Imagine, a client is anxious about giving their cat an oral medication at home. The veterinarian directs you to teach the owner how to administer the first dose of the medicine before taking their pet home. It is your ethical duty to the pet to properly educate the owner on how to administer the medicine.

Quality #5: Friendly

A vet tech with a naturally friendly attitude is pleasant to work with. Pets who don’t feel well are more at ease with a person who’s treating them while speaking softly in a gentle manner. The owner is more likely to discuss concerns about their pets with a friendly and easy-to-talk-to vet tech.

Imagine, a pet owner brings in their dog who is suffering from a digestive upset. The owner is very stressed and says the dog vomited a couple of times. You should look directly at the owner and listen while asking questions, this will put the owner at ease. At the same time, you can do a necessary evaluation. You can provide a detailed description by asking the client questions, making it easier to pinpoint the problem.

Quality #6: Integrity

Integrity on the job means that veterinarians, other vet techs, office staff, and pet owners can trust you to make and act on the right decisions. When you say you’ll do something, always follow through with positive actions.

Quality #7: Patience

When a pet parent brings their dog, cat, or other pet in for a wellness exam, it’s usually stress-free. However, when a pet is sick or injured, the pet doesn’t understand why they’re being poked or prodded. Situations in which a pet doesn’t feel well are stressful for the owner too. You must always be patient when caring for a sick or injured animal.

For example, a young cat has an upper respiratory infection. The cat is only used to the owner, is scared and meowing loudly. You can very gently take the cat from the owner, speak to it in a soft, soothing voice. Although the cat needs to be examined, you can take the few extra moments to relax the cat before taking it into the vet for an examination.

Quality #8: Productivity

On a typical day, you may have to evaluate several pets during wellness exams, assist with surgery, cover at the front desk for a co-worker, and call clients to remind them of upcoming appointments. Being organized and planning for unexpected events can increase productivity and make the day go smoothly.

One way you can stay on schedule and be productive is to keep your schedule in a weekly organizer. At a glance, you know what’s on the agenda for each day and how much time must be devoted to each task.

Quality #9: Punctuality

A vet tech is part of a team and performs fundamental duties similar to a nurse in a medical practice. The vet tech may insert IV lines, prepare pets for surgery, or do the initial assessment. When there’s an emergency with a pet, the vet tech is the person who performs first aid to stabilize the animal. The veterinarians depend on their team to be punctual and do their job on time.

Know how much time you must allow to get to work on time each day. If there’s construction or you know the weather is going to be stormy, plan on getting up earlier, so you aren’t rushing when you’re on the road. If something unexpected happens on the way to work, let the office know you’re running late so they can plan accordingly.

Quality #10: Resiliency

Being resilient means, you are quick to recover from stressful situations and can therefore remain calm and focused under pressure. Some days for a vet tech are emotional and stressful, but it helps to always concentrate on the needs of the patients you’re caring for. You must find ways to cope with stressful situations and ways to relax and recharge.

When you care for animals, there will be days that are difficult. Take time for yourself when you’re not working. Go on long walks, workout at a fitness center, or take a yoga class. Try not to take your work home with you. There’s only so much you can do in a day. When you leave work, take time for leisure activities so that you feel refreshed and ready to work another day.

Quality #11: Respectful

Respect is an essential attribute, especially in a healthcare setting. A vet tech interacts with veterinarians, co-workers, and pet owners every day. Being respectful means listening intently, following instructions, and positively asking questions.

Consider a situation in which a co-worker is handling a dog in a way that you think isn’t appropriate. The other veterinary technician may not know that they aren’t following the vet’s instructions or that this dog gets easily stressed. Rather than going over your co-worker’s head, you can politely ask them why they’re handling the dog that way, then offer to help to calm the animal.

Quality #12: Responsible

Vet techs must be responsible because the duties they perform are so important. Duties can be vastly different depending on the environment in which they work and their experience. A vet tech who works in a small animal practice mainly works with dogs, cats, and other small animals. However, a vet tech specializing and working in a zoo has extensive training in caring for exotic animals. Another example is a vet tech trained to work with large animals on farms or ranches.

You’ve passed the VTNE and are considering a specialty field of veterinary technology. Specialty vet techs have different criteria and education requirements from veterinary technicians planning to work in small animal practice. It’s up to you to do the appropriate type of fieldwork and earn the correct credentials to specialize. Make sure you’re ready to take on the additional responsibility.

Quality #13: Self-Awareness

Self-awareness always means you’re mindful of your behavior and attitude towards others. Vet techs must realize what a critical member of the team they are and how they can benefit both the practice and the animals they treat.

Everyone has bad days. It’s hard to relate to a co-worker when they’re being difficult. Keep in mind you’re in a professional work setting and behave accordingly. If you are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, you can be a friend to a co-worker who may just need someone to talk to.

Quality #14: Sincerity

Veterinarians, co-workers, and pet parents all appreciate vet techs who are open and sincere with others. Pet owners feel comfortable discussing their dog or cat’s needs with a vet tech that’s forthright and open with them. A no-nonsense vet tech can discuss a pet’s needs, whether it’s nutritional, medical, or behavior-related, in an honest manner that the owner appreciates.

Most people are perceptive enough to know when someone isn’t sincere. Pet owners will know when you’re interested in the welfare of their pet. Be an excellent communicator and look directly at a person when they speak. Let them know you’re interested in their pet and really want to help.

Quality #15: Skillfulness

One of the essential qualities of a successful vet tech is the ability to communicate effectively, especially with pet owners. You must actively listen and follow through quickly on directions from the veterinarian. Animals can always sense when humans feel stress. Therefore, you must be skillful enough to remain calm and keep the animal from getting anxious.

Imagine, an owner brings in their cat that’s been attacked by a dog. The owner is distraught, and the cat is scared but not seriously injured. You should calmly take the cat in their crate and explain to the owner that you will do an evaluation and first aid, if necessary. The owner is reassured, and the cat won’t pick up on the owner’s stress if you have the skills to calmly take it away and care for it.

Quality #16: Trustworthiness

Being trustworthy means that people can always depend on you. Some people have good intentions but don’t follow through. One of the qualities veterinarians look for in vet techs is consistency. Vet techs should listen carefully to directions and follow through with them immediately.

Quality #17: Unselfishness

There’s no room in a veterinary practice for a vet tech that’s selfish. The qualities of a professional that people admire are altruism and generosity. When an appointment with a client takes longer than expected, the pet is the priority. Lunches and breaks are something that can be worked around. The pets in your care should come first.

Do you have a passion for animals? Do you have the qualities to make you a good vet tech? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

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