OK have to put in my two cents on this one, as I am still a licensed vet tech (have been for 12 years) and am 2 semesters away from my BSN. The techs posting those messages have absolutely NO IDEA what human nurses do on a daily basis. They complained that they have to do it all, i.e. radiology, OR tech, phlebotomy, etc etc. That is because, generally speaking, vet med is way lower tech than human med is. They can do more things because each tasks is much less involved. Example - the techs said they functioned as "anesthesiologist", among other things. This is true to a point, as the tech will start the IV, take the pre-op vitals/bloodwork,EKG/, etc. administer the induction (ketamine/valium, propofol, whatever), insert endotrach tube, hook up to anesthesia machine, hook up to monitoring equipment (may vary from just pulse ox to BP/EKG/ end-tidal CO2, depending on quality of hospital) prep and scrub for surgery, position and tie-down, open packs, perhaps scrub in and assist with procedure, monitor anesthesia and adjust level of inhalant prn, recover animal, extubate, monitor for post-op complications.
Now, that seems like a lot, but like I mentioned, things are much less complicated. Take intubation for example. It is much easier to intubate a dog or a cat than it is a person. You don't even need a laryngoscope, once they are induced and relaxed you just open the mouth, pull the tongue, visualize the epiglottis, pull that down with the end of the tube, you can (usually) easily see the cords, and slip the tube in. Cats may require some lidocaine for laryngospam, but that about sums it up. Much easier than in people. Yes, they monitor anesthesia to a point, but the DVM is right there in the OR, and has the say on the level of anesthesia. If the doc wants it turned up or down they say so, the tech just does it. The tech may notice the animal is too deep while the doc is busy doing the surgery and make minor adjustments, but again, the doc is right there and has the final say on everything, so it's not like the tech is really an "anesthesiologist", as they love to say...
I can say this b/c I have much experience in the field, and have worked my a** off in busy emergency clinics with "ICU" settings as well as regular day practices. Having a critical care veterinary patient is NOWHERE NEAR as involved as a human one, and if you put the best vet tech ever into a busy human ICU their head would spin. I am not trying to brag here, but I am excellent at what I do in vet med, and I am constantly educating myself about new and different protocols and therapies. Just the number of drips alone on some human ICU patients is enough to keep me busy for an hour, trying to sort everything out. To be sure, my vet experience has helped tremendously in nursing school
, most of the meds we use are the same with a few exceptions. However, there are waaaay more meds that are used in human medicine that aren't used with animals, and there are many more side effects that one has to watch for in people. Another good example of things a human nurse is educated in is the whole psychosocial aspect of patient care, one that is never dealt with in vet med, as you can see from the content of the postings on the tech message board. I am also tired of hearing about how "much more" a tech has to know because they deal with different species. So what, you learn what you need to know for the test in school, then you basically forget everything you don't use on a routine basis anyway, just like a nurse, just like an MD or DVM, etc. Yes, you know where to draw blood on different species, different methods of restraint, where to give injections, etc. It's not brain surgery by any means, so what if you know not to give a turtle abx in the hind leg d/t the renal portal system. I know that too, doesn't make me a genius or allow me to degrade the human nursing profession.There are TONS of things a human RN knows about caring for people that vet techs don't have the slightest idea of. As for the title of "nurse", who cares if they want to be called "vet nurse" or something like that. No big deal to me, I honestly would hope people (general public) would realize that they are working in an animal clinic and are therefore not human nurses. Then again, that is probably giving too much credit to the public =). And, as far as them saying that human nurses are "the worst clients / worst pet owners", I can vouch for that being prevelant throughout vet medicine. Not that it is true, but that most vets and tech I have worked with have rolled their eyes when the receptionist tells them that "heads up, Mrs. so and so in room one is an RN."
Vet techs work very hard for no recognition and pitiful pay, often with little or non-existant benefits. These are the reasons why I left the field. There is no way you can survive on a tech's salary and have a decent house and car, I'm not talking about anything fancy either. Sorry this got so long, but techs really get on my nerves when they say they know so much more and do so much more, when they actually have no clue what human nursing involves on a daily basis. I think there is always a level of intimidation in a vet hosp as well when a human healthcare provider is the pet owner, especially M.D.'s - I've seen it many times.