Nowadays, most people that frequent veterinary hospitals know what a "Vet Tech", "AHT", "RVT", or Veterinary Nurse is. We've done a pretty good job on letting you know how these people fit into our veterinary family, and why you want to make sure that your veterinary facility has licensed vet techs on hand.
What we haven't done a good job on is letting you know about another important member of the team: VOA or Veterinary Office Assistant. Other titles that you may come across include VAA (Veterinary Administrative Assistant) or VTA (Veterinary Technician Assistant), or VOAC (Veterinary Office and Animal Care), depending on where the individual took their schooling.
So who are these people? And why literally, we cannot get enough of them. As in we cannot hire enough of them.
Typically, VOA's are women. They work in many different parts of the hospital. Often a VOA is your first line of contact with the hospital. They answer the phone, reply to emails, and greet you as your enter our reception area.
VOA's assist our veterinarians during exams, acting as stenographers, animal handlers, make up pharmaceuticals to go home for pets, and provide support for clients that may not understand all of the instructions and information that veterinarians share with them about their pet's health.
VOA's clean up poop. They set up the surgical suite and after surgery, they clean (so, so many fluids).
And they take "poop". They literally are stopping point number ONE for clients who feel the need to vent at ANY aspect of their veterinary care. Complain about a price? Usually people will aggressively share that with a VOA. Don't like that their pet is sick and not getting better? The VOA hears it first and loudest. The debit machine is slow? Don't worry, your VOA is dying a little on the inside while they are waiting for your transaction to complete. They do not have their foot on the internet break pedal, slowing things down, so that you get to spend more time with us :) . Also, if you are brusque with your VOA, and then sweet as pie to the other members of the staff, please know that we DO talk to each other and share that information. Not that any of you, gentle readers, would dream of doing that.
So on this, Veterinary Technician's Week 2019, I want to celebrate VOA's. Because as much as techs do so many great things, and we would never be without them, we need to cheer on the VOA who is supporting them and the rest of the hospital, with the blood and the poop.
VOA's - we love you because you care so much, you work so hard and support the rest of the team so very well.
Thanks for being there! Thanks for putting up with the rest of your veterinary team when we might get a bit "shirty" with you, and forget to use our best manners when you ask us questions, or come to us for decisions about "what to tell the client now".
Thanks for staying so positive, doing all of those other jobs that are so important for a smoothly running hospital. Thanks for loving that puppy and that geriatric cat. Thanks for knowing that the size and the cost of an animals doesn't determine its worth, or how much it is loved.
Thanks for putting up with the veterinarians, the technicians, the work placement students, the loud noises, the stressed, the sad, the happy - all the people, pets and events that just keep coming at you.
Sincerely, you rock, and I don't think that we say it often enough!