Oh absolutely! I completely agree. I wouldn’t suggest any tech just up and walk into their first practice and say “No, no you’re wrong.” or “I won’t do that.” but if you’ve been a tech for a while and you’re working with a vet who respects their techs and appreciates them -and you’ve been working there long enough that you’ve earned your place- then there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to speak up if you think you have something that would better benefit the patient. Thank you for your input! I wish you weren’t on anon; I like finding other students/techs!
Second year students in my vet tech program were required to attend a veterinary medical association meeting today for which vet techs, veterinarians, and students throughout the state come to listen to different lectures on different topics. This year was the first year vet techs had their own lecture. Our lecturers were two vet tech specialists, one who had rather strong opinions about certain things, one of these things being our suggestions when it comes to patient welfare. As an example, she was lecturing on felines in practice and how particular, special, and difficult they are to diagnose, treat etc. During this lecture, she brought up several past instances where she had either flat-out denied a doctor’s request for something (ex: doctor requested radiographs for a cat who they already knew had an accumulation of fluid in its chest cavity; the tech said ‘no, we should do a thoracocentesis instead’ this cat will die on the table.’) or where she suggested another diagnostic tool or form of treatment that she saw more fit. In my mind, these ideas all make sense. Why run an unnecessary test if it’s going to stress an animal out only to tell you what you already know? Why NOT try something that is tried and true over something that is ‘ehhhh-okay, I guess’?
During our lunch break, some of my classmates brought up her lecture. They felt she was very opinionated; some thought OVER-opinionated. They all seemed to agree that a vet tech should never question a doctor or suggest something other than “what the doctor ordered.” I ask, why not?
We are educated. We have gone to school just like they did. Don’t we deserve to have our voices heard? Our ideas at LEAST considered? I’m not saying I’m going to graduate school and start making suggestions or denying doctors right off the bat. I know that I’m not there yet. I’m still learning. I don’t always know what’s best.
But what I DO know is that I don’t always agree with what some doctors decide to do for a patient. Even with what little I have learned in the past year and a half, I have already had that uncomfortable experience; caring for a patient the way a doctor wanted me to, but not in the way that that patient should have been.
I absolutely feel that techs’ opinions should be HEARD. Why should we have to stand in the shadows? What good is that? We are trained and educated for these very reasons. And doctors should be open to our thought processes. The doctor may own the clinic or the hospital, and the final decision may very well be up to them, but our voices should be heard. If I find myself in a situation where I know there must be a better way, I won’t be afraid to speak up to my doctor, or head tech for that matter.
I see the fear in my friends’ eyes at even the thought. This fear should not exist in a veterinary setting; just confidence, respect, and open communication.