National Veterinary Technician week this year is October 17th-23rd. As you know, a practice would not run without its CVT’s and having these educated and licensed personnel on your team is vital to the success of the practice. The AVMA found that a well-leveraged CVT earns the practice upward of $90,000 a year. Proper utilization of their skills and knowledge is not only beneficial to your patients and your clients but is also important for your DVMs as this frees up their time to do well, doctor things. While doctors are practice medicine, CVTs can be doing the tasks that they were educated and trained to do.
So the big question to ask in your practice is, “Are you using your CVTs to their highest potential?” What sort of tasks could you delegate to them to take things off your plate? A great way to make your CVT’s feel they are an important member of the practice is to get them involved. Set up a meeting to discuss these questions.
- Are there things that you would be interested in taking over for the practice? Such as; inventory, a training program for new hires, could they be the go-to person in the practice for drug reps, setting up a monthly lunch and learn on a new product, diet or drug.
- Do you feel that there are certain tasks that you could be doing that the doctors currently do?
- Do you feel that your skills and knowledge are being used to their fullest?
Make sure to give your techs these questions a week ahead of time so they have time to prepare answers. Asking them on the spot will likely not yield good feedback as they will not have time to gather their thoughts.
Have an open mind, don’t react to what they say even if you disagree, this will only deter them from being honest in the future and make their thoughts feel invalid. If it’s something that you don’t think the practice can accommodate, tell them you need to think about it and sit down to figure out why it won’t work. Is it something you’re not willing to give up yourself but can’t think of why? Are you worried that they don’t have the training to do what they thought would be a good idea?
There are ways to make your CVT’s feel valued in the practice year-round and also likely free up time for yourself and your doctors.
What does your practice have planned for your techs for October? In past years, the practice has likely bought them lunch, provided snacks throughout the week, or given them a goodie bag. While these deeds don’t go unnoticed, there are even more special ways to say thank you.
Here are some ideas on how to shower your techs with appreciation on vet tech week.
- If your a general practice, close the hospital a few hours early on a weekday and make sure everyone leaves on time, or close that Saturday and give them the full weekend off. Make sure to tell your clients that you are doing this specifically for vet tech week to show your appreciation for your staff.
- Host a technician event at a local brewery and provide a few drinks on the clinic and a voucher for a meal at one of the food trucks on site.
- Give them an extra day of vacation/PTO
- Have a masseuse come to the clinic and do 10-minute chair massages for the techs
- Host a wellness event with one of the wellness coaches that work with the CACVT
- Post on your social media sites about tech week, chances are your clients would love to know this and thank your CVT’s for all they do too
If you’re utilizing your CVTs to their highest potential, they’re likely making your hospital that nearly 100k a year. The fact that veterinary professionals are underpaid is not exactly new news. The average CVT has to work at least 2 jobs to make ends meet. How many of your staff are currently working another gig outside of your practice?
An even better way to show your technician’s support would be to give them a raise. The average salary for techs in Colorado is currently $17/hour. Are your techs being paid the average or are they underpaid? A raise shows your staff that you appreciate all the hard work they do, increases your chance that your staff won’t leave your practice for a higher salary and demonstrates the value you see in being credentialed. With the revenue that they bring in, it only seems fair that they are compensated for their work.
Looking for more resources?
Check out NAVTA’s website for a free NAVTA Media Kit.
Article from the AVMA on CVT contributions made to the practice revenue.
Leslie is an account manager with VSS and a Certified Veterinary Technician. Originally from Wisconsin, she moved to Colorado with her husband to enjoy all things outdoors. When not at work, she enjoys backpacking with her dog Malcom, downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and – like any Wisconsin native – beer. Professionally she has an interest in small animal nutrition, anesthesia and title protection for CVTs.