Conversation with CACVT: diving into veterinary technology

Welcome to our blog! Here, we will provide insight on industry challenges and successes, interview veterinary technicians across Colorado, provide examples for upward mobility in the field, and open the discussion to you! 

Interview with CACVT Board Member, Miranda Schroeder, Conducted by Leslie Niedermyer


Mountain Star Veterinary Specialists: a disruptive veterinary hospital that everyone should know about 


How can we be outstanding healers and funeral directors? Interview with Rebecca Rose, RVT

When pursuing a career in veterinary technology, many might not consider how stepping into the shoes of a funeral director is part of their future job description. Whether we want to or not, veterinary professionals have to be a caring, helpful resource for grieving clients and geriatric patients. This can be difficult because end-of-life and hospice care is not usually a topic that is educated on in veterinary medicine. This lack of education just doesn’t accommodate for the 48% of patients in veterinary hospitals who are in the geriatric stage! We need to be doing better not only for our clients and their animals, but for ourselves while navigating these difficult conversations! 

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Rose, RVT, and Veterinary Outreach Specialist at Lap of Love, to discuss end-of-life and hospice care and the importance of education on this topic in veterinary medicine. Although this is a heavy and sometimes uncomfortable part of our jobs, there are many accessible resources to sharpen your end-of-life skills, protect your mental health, and become comfortable talking about death. In addition, there is a community with open arms for those who feel passionate about end-of-life care

So what can you do to further your professional development? Talk to your practice manager! Let them know you are interested in developing your skills and the value you can bring to your practice. Access any of the resources listed below, and work on practicing end-of-life communication skills by yourself or with a friend. Rebecca recommended a helpful exercise of asking yourself difficult questions about your feelings toward grief (and other’s grief) and writing them down. Being honest and letting your thoughts flow is a great exercise to prepare for any end-of-life communication

Here is a list of educational resources provided by Rebecca Rose:

Protecting your mental health 

When servicing end-of-life care, or losing a patient that you might have formed a strong bond with, it can be very hard on our mental health. This is no secret. Because of this frequent threat to our mental health, it is important to protect yourself and know your limits. 

Find your own practices and traditions for processing grief. I recently made a dog collage with my friend when experiencing the loss of my family’s furry friend. When I asked Rebecca what her go-to self-care is for grieving, Rebecca emphasized “allowing it to happen”. It is important to let your emotions flow, and to try not to be ashamed of whatever that looks like. 

Take time when you need time, and make sure to talk to coworkers, friends, or loved ones. It can be difficult to know when to step away, but boundary setting can be the make or break in protecting your mental health in your career. And you can always find solace in those around you: they might be experiencing the same feelings! 

DEI in end-of-life care 

In every sector of veterinary medicine, it is important to think about and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion principles. Sharing the experience of a loved one’s death is very vulnerable. As described by Rebecca, it is most important to provide care without judgement. We can’t let our own biases, experiences, or ideas interfere with our ability to provide a peaceful conclusion to a patient’s life. 

We all have our unique opinions on how the end of our pet’s lives should go. Transitioning our strong values into a way to support other’s traditions and celebrations of life can make all the difference in a client’s experience with the passing of their animal. Especially when providing in-home euthanasia, our job is to be there and be supportive. There is no place for judgement when sharing the heartbreaking experience of losing a loved one. 

How to support your veterinary technician’s professional development as a practice manager 

Do you manage a practice? Listen up! As someone who has a business where almost half of your patients are geriatric, it is important to invest in the professional development of your veterinary professionals to provide the best end-of-life care possible. 

If your veterinary professionals express interest in end-of-life/hospice care: pay them to further their professional development! Rebecca suggested setting aside about 25% of paid work hours for your employee’s education in this specialty and connecting them to helpful resources. The education is already out there, and having trained end-of-life practitioners will add a priceless benefit to your practice. Plus, you will positively impact the lives of not only adult pet owners, but many children who have to experience the loss of their pet!




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