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Personal/Professional Development

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Stepping Forward

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

The veterinary nursing profession is full of strong-willed, loving, smart individuals. Even when it might be hard to keep going in this profession, perseverance persists.

NAVTA Corner
Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Making Strides Toward Optimal Utilization

Ed Carlson CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ed is the director of technician learning and development for Ethos Veterinary Health and VetBloom. He is also the 2020 president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association and the treasurer of the New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association. Ed has served on multiple NAVTA committees and is the 2020 NAVTA president-elect. He obtained his VTS (Nutrition) in 2014 and lectures frequently at local, regional, and national veterinary conferences on a variety of nutrition topics. Ed was also the recipient of the NAVTA 2019 Technician of the Year award.

There are many ways to promote proper veterinary nurse/technician utilization, and it starts with bravery, pride, and education.

Fall 2021, Featured, Personal/Professional Development

The Euthanasia Experience

Valarie Adams CVT

Valarie Adams is a CVT with over 40 years working in veterinary medicine. Graduating from the Medical Institute of Minnesota in 1973 puts her in the “aged but still useful” class. Throughout her career in veterinary medicine she has worked with large and small animal, emergency and critical care, and delivering in-home veterinary hospice and palliative care. Valarie has lectured on end-of-life topics nationally as well as written and co-written for textbooks on pet hospice and facilitated pet loss support groups. She fills her soul with her horses, as well as volunteering on a Native American reservation and gathering with free-spirited, wise women. You can also find Valarie at confidesinanimals.com.

Euthanasia is not just a medical event, it is a complex procedure. Emotions are high all around and communication and empathy are your biggest allies.

Fall 2021, Featured, Personal/Professional Development

Veterinary Nursing as a Military Spouse

Caitlin Murphy RVTg, BAS

Caitlin is a military spouse of 6 years to an active duty Marine and currently stationed with her husband in Okinawa, Japan. She graduated with her AAS degree in veterinary technology in 2018 and has recently graduated with her BAS in veterinary nursing. She now serves as a member of the Red Cross in the prefecture of Okinawa where she provides veterinary aid during natural disasters, such as seasonal typhoons. Caitlin is also pursuing a master’s degree in veterinary medical sciences online at the University of Florida.

Military spouses who work as veterinary nurses face many obstacles in advancing their careers, but they can succeed due to their unique qualifications and several resources designed to help them along their journey.

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Fostering: An Open Home and an Open Heart

Robyn Townsend CVT

Robyn began her career as a kennel assistant at a local veterinary hospital in 1992.She became a certified veterinary technician in 2004. Her career has led her from working in a general practice to managing an ER/ICU in a large specialty hospital. She is currently managing a general practice in Everett, Massachusetts. She currently lives with her 3 dogs, Emme, Merry, and foster failure Bindi; 2 cats, Finn and Griffin; and lovebird, Luigi. Robyn continues to foster whatever animals come her way. Her latest foster was a house sparrow named Lucky.

Fostering is the next best thing to adopting, and it is often an essential step in getting a pet into their forever home.

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

By Appointment Only

Nicola Lakeman PGDip, RVN, CertVNECC, CertSAN, VTS (Nutrition)

Nicola works as the Head Medical Nurse at Plymouth Veterinary Group. She has written for many veterinary publications and textbooks and is the editor of Aspinall’s Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing. Nicola has won the British Veterinary Nursing Association/Blue Cross award for animal welfare, the Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) Veterinary Nurse of the Year award, and the SQP Nutritional Advisor of the Year award. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in advanced veterinary nursing with Glasgow University. 

There are many benefits to these clinics but increasing the welfare and quality of life for these patients must be the most important. Don’t underestimate the worth of the RVN, increasing opportunities for veterinary nurses to gain experience and increase confidence and comfort in seeing clients will help practices run more smoothly and veterinary nurses to feel more empowered.

NAVTA Corner
Summer 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Areas of Needed Focus in Veterinary Medicine

Erin A. Spencer MEd, CVT, VTS (ECC)

Erin has a degree in veterinary technology (2001) and a master’s degree in education (2015). She earned her veterinary technician specialty in emergency and critical care in 2011. In 2009, Erin began volunteering with the Rural Area Veterinary Services program; in 2012, she accepted a full-time role. Erin spends 4 weeks each summer participating in field clinics on Native reservations in western states. Currently an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Veterinary Technology program, Erin is past president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association and the current president of National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

Coming to terms with your implicit bias and privilege is difficult. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important in creating a more inclusive workplace and profession. The veterinary profession is recognizing this effort and making strides to address DEI.

Summer 2021, Personal/Professional Development

The Future of Veterinary Nursing

Sarah Rumple Rumpus Writing and Editing, Denver, Colo.

Sarah Rumple is an award-winning writer and editor who has been covering veterinary topics since 2011 after earning a degree in communication from the University of Colorado. She owns Rumpus Writing and Editing, a Denver-based copywriting agency, and believes that if you don’t ask for what you want, you’ll never get it.

Telehealth will be a major part of veterinary medicine moving forward, and many of these capabilities are a part of the everyday routine for many veterinary nurses already.

Summer 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Nutrition Coach Certification: Helping Pets Live Long, Vibrant Lives

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Nutrition is becoming increasingly important to both veterinary professionals and owners. Becoming certified and establishing yourself as the point of contact to clients will ensure optimal results.

Summer 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Working With Service Dogs

Amie Chapman RVT

Amie began working in the field in 1998 as a veterinary assistant. She completed the Veterinary Technician Program at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, and became an RVT in 2010. She has been at the same emergency clinic for the past 22 years and is currently the lead technician. She has been involved in service dog puppy raising since 2002 and has had a hand in raising over 20 puppies. When she isn’t working at the clinic or for her nonprofit, Growing Up Guide Pup, she is spending time with her husband Matthew and her current dog-in-training named Pixie. Other critters in the family include retired service dog Penny, career-changed guide dog Ricki, rescue dog Ozzy, and kitty cat Autumn.

Taking into consideration the many nuances of service dog ownership could ensure better veterinary care to these working animals and less stress on the owners.

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