You’d be hard pressed to find someone whose heart doesn’t warm at the sight of a puppy. Or find someone who doesn’t giggle when watching a silly cat video online. Although many people, particularly pet owners, find animals enjoyable, only certain people are cut out to succeed as a veterinary assistant.
Deciding to become a vet assistant takes a special kind of person. While loving animals is definitely a prerequisite, it’s far from being the only qualifying characteristic that determines whether or not working with four-legged, furry friends is for you. In fact, there are several other personality traits that you should consider. Ask yourself – are you...?
Creative. Unless you are working with Mr. Ed, helping to heal animals requires some degree of creativity. Pets don’t have the capacity to communicate with words and they aren’t necessarily inclined to behave in the way you wish they would. As a veterinary assistant, you will need to think outside the box in order to determine how to best treat these particular patients.
Patient. For many of the same reasons you’ll need to be a creative thinker, you’ll also have to have the patience needed to work with these animals. Getting them to hold still, take medicine, and, in some cases, not pee on the exam table, all require a certain degree of patience.
Empathetic/Sympathetic. Working as a vet assistant, you’re on the front lines of the healthcare field, albeit not in the healthcare of humans. Being sympathetic and empathetic towards the pain, discomfort or problems the pet may be having is key to caring for them.
Meticulous. Attention to detail is crucial to ensuring the thoroughness of your care for animals. Whether performing laboratory tests, monitoring patients after surgery, sterilizing instruments or administering medication, your keen eye for detail helps to ensure you are preforming these tasks up to par.
Communicative. As a veterinary assistant, your primary attention is on animals, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be interacting with their human counterparts as well. You need to be able to speak to a variety of people and articulate your thoughts clearly. You will also need to answer their questions, relay information regarding the health of their pet, and listen well.
Having these characteristics is important, but above all you need to be driven to succeed. In order to complete your courses, become a vet assistant and improve your future, you need to be proactive and eager to make a fresh start to the rest of your life. And if the satisfaction of a diploma and great job prospects isn’t enough motivation, think of the dog kisses and cat nuzzles you’ll get when they say “thank you.”
A career in this field may require you to meet certain licensing, training, and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. You should check with your state, local government and/or licensing board to find out which requirements may be applicable in your state. Click here for contact information on state licensing/regulatory boards and certain professional licensing information.