As I began to sit down today to plan my NAVTA Presidency, I thought about what our membership needed and wanted. In that same thought, I questioned myself on what I could do to make that happen. Over my previous years on the Board of Directors, one phrase has continued to hit home with me. A repeated concern of the membership is that NAVTA is not listening to them. They do not feel heard or represented by our association. I know that every new Board member has lofty plans to change the Association for the better, could I really do that? Am I the best person for that?
While only time will tell, I am going to give it my best shot. My motto for my presidency is going to be “I hear you.” That has never been more true as I live this life with each and every one of you every day. Working at a 24/7 hospital has me on the floor, on average, six days a week, usually totaling more than 60 hours a week. That busy-ness allows me to experience everything that you are experiencing. That includes fatigue, unhappy clients and all of the other stressors that come with our jobs. It also includes all of the great things that come with being a Credentialed Veterinary Technician. The joy of seeing a patient recovery from surgery. The love exchanged with a cat that only responds to you. The appreciation shown by a client because you saved their beloved pet.
I am there with you and I bring those experiences to my Presidency. That’s why NAVTA’s focus over the two years of my Presidency will be on the things that matter most for Veterinary Technicians.
I would also add to that list a few things that are important to NAVTA’s continued success, like membership growth, valuable new programs and better communication with members. We will have to work with our stakeholders – AVMA, VHMA, AAHA and others – to educate them on the value of Veterinary Technicians and get them to understand the economic impact a well-trained, well-utilized Veterinary Technician can have on their practices. We have to show them the money they could make, so that there is a connection between the work we do and bottom lines. We also have to arm you with tools you can use in your conversations. We also know we have to continue to help the states in their legislative and regulatory work toward getting title protection and a standardized scope of practice…or at least as “standard” as we can get across all states.
We know we need to do more to get you to help take care of yourselves. We have to get better at teaching – and giving permission for Veterinary Technicians to take care of themselves. Our 2022 demographic survey showed that nearly one-third of all respondents know someone in the veterinary community who died by suicide, myself including. This topic really resonates with me personally. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed, and NAVTA will be working on it. This is a major opportunity for practices to make a big impact on their employees by implementing some simple, but effective communication and counseling services. There are many employee assistance programs out there that can be implemented in a matter of days, and for a relatively low cost. We will be working with our colleagues at the hospital manager’s association and AAHA to get these things in place. If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please reach out for help. You have friends at NAVTA who can help. Or, you can simply dial 988 from your cell phone and get connected with professionals at the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
We have a goal of increasing members by 850 members for this year. We know this is a lofty goal but it does not seem unreasonable. The new Infection Prevention Leader program that NAVTA and Virox have collaborated on will help to dive deep into infection prevention at veterinary hospitals and clinics. As this program is launched in mid-February, there will be more details to come!
It will be a focus of mine to increase the communication between the NAVTA Board and you, the NAVTA members. There is so much NAVTA is doing, so many good things, but unless we tell you about it, you are in the dark. That can lead to incorrect conclusions, assumptions, and the feeling that we are trying to hide things. That couldn’t be further than the truth.
We know we have to get better at communicating with you. The Board discussed this earlier last month and we are coming up with a plan that will ensure you have access to information and feel like you know what is going on.
I am looking forward to this new term with you. Remember, I hear you and am here for you. If you have comments or concerns please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org