Victoria Olson is a Registered Veterinary Technician with XPrep Learning Solutions where she works as both a Program Coordinator for VetTechPrep and as Customer Support for all XPrep products. Vicki graduated from Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology and spent many years working in Specialty hospitals. She went on to complete a degree in marketing prior to joining the XPrep family in 2014.
Describe your career path… the route you took from Graduation to what you are doing today
VO: When I graduated from Bel-Rea, I thought I wanted to continue with my schooling at Purdue University (applied and was accepted) and obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Technology, but the timing was not right. I found myself wondering “what now”. I found myself working in a veterinary hospital in Phoenix, AZ, and after a year I found myself back in Colorado. I worked for a small specialty clinic, which is where I found my passion for surgery.
A few months into being there a job posted at a large, very progressive specialty clinic in the surgery department. Believing I had no chance of getting the position (I was not an experienced surgery technician), I applied anyway. A few days later they called me back, setup an interview and I was hired as a Primary Surgery Technician for one of their surgeons!
I scrubbed into all of his surgeries, assisted in all of his appointments. I was his right hand. I learned so much in the six years I worked there. I then moved home to California and began working in another specialty clinic in the surgery department. However, this time, the surgery department had different needs. I was running anesthesia, which I wasn’t comfortable with and which scared the heck out of me! But with a patient team, I was able to learn the ins and outs of anesthesia.
Six years after that I decided to forego by position as a surgery tech, and jump into the business aspect of the field. I received my Bachelors in Marketing along the way, and was giving a great opportunity to join the team of VetPrep and VetTechPrep!
What does your job entail?
VO: For the past 2.5 years I have been part of the amazing team at VetPrep/VetTechPrep. I reach out to schools and support technicians who are preparing to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
What are the best things about being a Vet Tech?
VO: In surgery, we were able to fix the broken (most of the time). We saw people at their worst and best times, stressed over their animals and then relieved that their treasured family members were going to be okay. Gratitude and trust from clients are the best things. And most importantly, the patient not able to walk in who returns running in 8-weeks later like nothing happened, is pretty great too.
What are some challenges you have faced as a Vet Tech?
VO: People’s perceptions of everything that we do as technicians is challenging. We work hard- everyone does- the doctors, client care staff, and techs. We spend very long hours preparing for the day, participating during the day and closing down the day. Love your team, they have your back!
Looking back, what do you know now that you wish you would have known as a Vet Tech Student?
VO: I wish I would have spent more time listening, and asking questions. We work in a very progressive field, always keep your ears open, absorb as much as you can- always!
What is your most memorable patient or moment in veterinary medicine?
VO: I have SO many! I will say my most memorable moment has to do with encouragement and belief I found in myself and my surgeon found in me. I had spent a lot of time scrubbing in to surgeries, but not running the anesthesia. But all that changed when I moved back to California from Colorado; I was learning and running anesthesia cases.
We had a patient, a husky with a lung bulla and I was her anesthesia technician running the case, she was my first thoracotomy. With the guidance, patience, help and encouragement from my surgeon the case went very smoothly and the dog recovered well. I was SO proud of myself and relived when the patient recovered.
What are some of your hobbies outside of veterinary medicine?
VO: Hiking, skiing, working out
Do you have a dream species that you would like to work with?
VO: The zoo! I have had the opportunity of spending time "behind the scenes" at a zoo hospital. The amount of care and compassion people have for exotic animals is something that is truly a sight to see. These are wild animals that the staff are healing, and all the amazing medicine practiced is pretty cool.
They are a testament to what team work is all about, they have to be careful with the animals they are caring for and the medications they are using. They are so medically advanced working with the species they are trying to bring out of extinction...it's awesome science!
Getting into the zoo is hard...and it often requires another degree. It would be sooooooooooo cool though!
Any other words of advice about your career choice?
VO: Listen to your peers, don’t be afraid to ask questions and say “I don’t know” or “I’m not comfortable”. We are trusted with the lives of clients’ precious family members. Sometimes all a person has is their pet, and they are willing to spend their last dollar saving its life.
Anything else you’d like to share?
VO: Be the best veterinary technician you can be! You will work VERY hard, you will laugh, you will cry, you will have great days, and very bad days- you will learn so much more, if you ask questions. Trust your team and be a good team member! Believe in YOURSELF!
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