National Veterinary Technician Week 2019: How to Honor Your Veterinary Technicians

With National Veterinary Technician Week fast approaching — from October 13 to 19 — practices are looking for ways to honor these valuable team members. Veterinary technicians often leave the field within five to seven years because of feeling undervalued and underutilized. Your vet techs worked hard to achieve their credentials, education, and skills, and should be recognized for their accomplishments.

To make this National Veterinary Technician Week one to remember, and to help bolster sagging morale, ban burnout, and compensate for compassion fatigue, follow these tips to show your appreciation.

Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas

Even when your practice is watching every penny, you can still recognize your team. Show appreciation for your vet techs with these budget-friendly options:

  • Self-care kits with a face mask, candles, bubble bath, and chocolates
  • Adult coloring books
  • Starbucks delivery one morning
  • A breakfast or lunch buffet in the practice — to keep costs down, consider a potluck event
  • Goodie bags provided by sales professionals
  • Personalized work tools, such as bandage scissors, pens, or stethoscope charms
  • A payment credit on each vet tech's account
  • Daily games, such as veterinary bingo (like this one by DVM360), create your own breed, or a case trivia quiz — don't forget small prizes
  • Social media posts highlighting your vet techs

If extra funds are unavailable, a sincere, handwritten letter of appreciation will go a long way to show how much you care. Personalize each letter by highlighting the vet tech's skills, how they've improved, and how they contribute to the practice.

When There's a Little More to Go Around

While your practice may not be able to go all out to spoil your deserving staff, pampering gift certificates are a great option. Consider treating your veterinary technicians to things they normally wouldn't spring for themselves, like car detailing or wellness care at a local spa.

Other treats might include:

  • In-office chair massages
  • Personal electronic writing tablets for notes
  • Vouchers for paid time off
  • A food truck delivery of tacos, sandwiches, ice cream, or other goodies
  • A team-bonding event, such as a wine and canvas event, bowling, horseback riding, or another activity the entire team agrees upon
  • Continuing education, whether a specialty conference or online course — Fear Free and Low Stress Handling are great options

You can customize these examples to fit your own practice and vet tech team. Choosing an item or activity the entire group will enjoy will be more effective at honoring your vet techs than a pricey but thoughtless gift.

Year-Round Appreciation

The three main factors for showing your appreciation year-round are recognition, empowerment, and support. Too few veterinary technicians are recognized by team members or clients for the important work they do, so show them you care with the following:

  • Use their title properly and lawfully. Acknowledge the education and skills they've gained by only granting that title to credentialed veterinary technicians.
  • Encourage your vet techs to perform tech-only duties (after checking your state's legalities). Your vet techs want to take full advantage of their skill sets, and empowering your team to use them frees up your veterinarians to perform veterinarian-only tasks, which creates a more efficient and profitable practice.

While each team member is important, honor only your vet techs during National Veterinary Technician Week — not the kennel attendants, client care representatives, or veterinarians. This helps to truly recognize the value your vet techs provide.

There's no need to wait for a special week, though. Empower and support them year-round, and you'll be blessed with a truly dedicated, hard-working team. Regularly acknowledging your team's value will keep them happy and satisfied.

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Sarah Rumple
Owner, Chief Creative Officer of Rumpus Writing and Editing

Sarah Rumple is an award-winning veterinary writer and editor. Since 2011, her work has focused on pet health/behavior and veterinary practice management topics. Her clients include individual veterinary practice owners, national corporations, nonprofit associations, media companies, consultants, and others. Learn more at sarahrumple.com.

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