Winning through Passion

November 5, 2018

A story everyone can embrace

Here’s how the winner of the Luann Lee Scholarship answered,

“How would you encourage an experienced veterinary technician to continue to find passion in their career after many years in the field?”

My name is Allison Beard and I am from Hamilton, MT. I am currently a senior at NDSU majoring in Veterinary Technology. Every since a young age I have had a deep love and passion for animals, especially cattle. In the future I hope to be working as a calf and heifer specialist and educating others on what exactly Veterinary Technology entails. No matter where I end up in the future, I know that there will be lots of animals and many great stories to share!
Allison Beard

The Winning Essay

When I was a little girl, my great grandfather used to tell me the story of how he acquired our family ranch. I would sit cross legged on the floor and stare up at him with wonder in my eyes and desire burning in my heart because I wanted nothing more than to feel the passion and love that he did, not only for the land, but for agriculture itself.

He used to tell me “Alli, look out the window, what do you see?” Back then all I saw was pasture, fence posts, and horses. But now, it is so much more than that. When I look out our big dining room window, I see hard work, dedication, and love. Most importantly, I see a dream; a dream that my great grandfather breathed into existence and pursued with zeal and courage.

By this point you are probably wondering what in the world this short story has to do with the question that was asked but hear me out. According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s Compensation and Benefits book, the average mean turnover rate in the veterinary technician field is twenty-two percent, with some practices reporting numbers as high as thirty-three to fifty percent. Even more startling is the fact that just under half (45%) of veterinary technicians have left the veterinary profession entirely according to the 2016 NAVTA survey.

While low pay, lack of a cohesive team, compassion fatigue, and burnout are all reported issues within the profession, one can help but wonder, where are these peoples’ passion? Now in no way am I saying that veterinary technicians lack passion, far from it, but what I am saying is that maybe they have lost touch with their wonder and passion.

After all, no one becomes a veterinary technician because they want to cuddle puppies and kittens all day. Although there may come a brief moment in their day where they get the joy of doing that, most people chase this career field because they want to help, they want to make a difference. They want to go home at the end of the night, look themselves in the mirror, and confidently know that they were the game changer in a life or death situation.

So why is it that this is often not the case? Why is it that so many veterinary technicians are going home feeling overworked and underpaid?

Passion. That is the answer.

When my great grandfather used to tell me that story as a small child, I swore I could feel his passion radiating out of his body and washing over me. But why? Simple. He had vision, he remembered why he started and where he wanted to go.

I think as an experienced veterinary technician it is so easy to give into the pressure of blaming yourself. Blaming yourself for losing a patient. Blaming yourself for the disconnect among coworkers. Blaming yourself for making a simple mistake while preforming a task that you have done a thousand times.

Here is the thing though, we are all going to make mistakes, have bad days, or cry in our vehicle the whole way home; we are humans, and we will fail. However, as an experienced veterinary technician you are already beating the odds, you have made it this far. You have reminded yourself that for all those bad days comes hundreds of glorious moments. You have reminded yourself that you will not be able to save every patient, but you will fight like crazy to try your best. You have reminded yourself of why you started, what your mission was. You have reminded yourself that with all-consuming passion in your heart and air in your lungs that you were made for this job, you were born to make a difference, no matter how big or small.

So to answer your question, my response is easy, do not let anyone rob you of your passion. Search for it in the mundane tasks, remembering that you serve a purpose greater than yourself. When you feel like quitting or question why you even started, think of why you have pushed on this far and remember, somewhere out there, there are a thousand people looking to you with that same burning passion in their hearts thinking “because of them, I know I can make it, because of them I will push on.”

Allison Beard