National Veterinary Technician Week with Penn Foster

Veterinarians are as important as doctors, and likewise Veterinarian Technicians are as important as nurses.  Both go hand in hand and need each other’s assistance.  This is what has brought me on this educational journey for a field I love. I am delighted to still continue my studies with Penn Foster College Veterinary Technician Program. I’m excited to share that there is an entire week out of the year dedicated to Veterinary Technicians that falls on the third week of October called National Veterinary Technician week (NVTW). Owing to the fact that it was NVTW on October 12, 2014 through October 18, 2014, there were social events and fundraisers to raise awareness and advocate the role that Veterinary Technicians play in the Veterinary field.    

NVTW was founded on June 1933 by the Executive Board of National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). NAVTA is an organization that represents and promotes veterinary technology by providing guidance, aid, and education for its members. NAVTA also works alongside other organizations to support the humane treatment and care for animals. The veterinarian community has been celebrating NVTW for 81 years with the help of many animal hospitals, organizations, students, etc.

This year’s theme for NVTW was “What Does a Vet Tech Do? Fortunately, Penn Foster’s Veterinary Technician Program decided to participate and promote NVTW. In 2013, Dr. Jim Hurrell (Director of the Veterinary Program), Amanda Teter (Assistant Director of Veterinary Program), and Diane Placidi (Administrative Assistant to the Clinical Program) all engaged in NVTW.  They organized a Vaccine Clinic in which Veterinary Technicians provided vaccinations for the pets of about 30-40 Penn Foster Employees. Last year was a success as Dr. Jim Hurrell stated, “If you love animals, you’re a good person and you’re a giver. The faculty felt good for helping the community. Clients were happy that it was inexpensive, and the local community shelters got money since we donated the profits.” At the end of the day everyone was content and satisfied with NVTW.

Take a look at this video link that shows a brief overview of Penn Foster’s success at last year’s Vaccine Clinic.

This year there was a different approach for NVTW as the Penn Foster faculties were focused on motivating individuals to start and/or continue a career path as a Veterinary Technician.  Instructors Certified Veterinary Technicians (CVT) Lauren Levish, CVT Rachel, and CVT and Program Director Dr. Jim Hurrell hosted an Open House in which they were live on the Penn Foster Student Community (Webpage where students can connect with other students or instructors for guidance) to provide feedback and answer questions. The Open House was perfect for current students and for those who are considering becoming Veterinary Technicians.

Penn Foster also promoted a live Webinar (seminar conducted over the internet). The topic of the webinar is “What Can a Vet Tech REALLY Do?” The webinar was conducted on October 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. EDT and consisted of nine successful Veterinary Technicians discussing 3 topics:

  • Their current positions
  • How they go there (The steps taken)
  • Feedback for success

The nine accomplished Veterinary Technicians are educators and board members of veterinary associations.

All nine members were amazing in sharing their journey and giving feedback to the public. Over all it was a beautiful experience to listen and learn from these nine individuals who dedicate their lives to helping animals. I wouldn’t even have known about the webinar without the help of the Penn Foster Veterinary Technician Program. As a Penn Foster Veterinary Technician student it was extremely moving and inspirational. After the webinar, all I wanted to do was bury my head in all the knowledge I can and continue my studies. One thing that all nine panelists had in common was the fact that they all recommended to continue an education and to gain experience through volunteering. Experience and knowledge are crucial for success as Lori Renda, Veterinary Technician Program Director stated in the webinar, “there is growth in the area and one has to look up opportunities.” Below are some pictures from the webinar showing the journeys from two of the panelists.

NVTW was adopted by Penn Foster and brought excitement upon students and staff. Some students helped spread awareness of NVTW by showing off their talent. Ariel Naves, a Veterinary Technician student showed off her editing skills and posted pictures on the Penn Foster Community. Ariel received extremely positive admiration from other students, which comes to show that the Penn Foster team is actually a family.

Below are two of Ariel’s graphic art pictures.

Just as students are thrilled for NVTW, the staff who help NVTW come to be are just as excited. Dr. Jim Hurrel, Veterinary Program Director of Penn Foster wrote a post on the Penn Foster Student Community and partcipated on an interview to give us insight on the joy he receives from simply being a Veterinarian, Veterinarian Program Director, and instructor. Dr. Jim Hurrell is perceived as a humble soul with three things in his mind: help people, help animals, and help people help animals. Fortunately Dr. Jim Hurrell was kindly enough to award us with his time so we may learn a little more about his experience and views.

Q1: The theme for this year’s National Veterinary Technician Week is, “What does a Vet Tech Do?” What is your view on what a Veterinary Technician does?

A1: “Veterinary Technicinas are very amazing people, but the passion for animals are the common key. Veterinary Technicians are the right hand person for their Veterinarian. The help a Veternarian is provided by a Veterinary Technician betters the quality service to animals and people when the Veterinarian utilizes the Veterinary Technician efficiently.”

Q2: How did you decide you were going to become a Veterinary Technician?

A2: “I’m actually a Veterinarian. I always had interest in Biology since it is my favorite subject. I used to dorm in Michican State University and wanted to be some kind of doctor, but the the love of animals and the love of Biology was amazing to me. I graduated with a degree in Biology but wanted to do more so I went to Vet School.”

Q3: What hardships did you face that were difficult to overcome in your journey of becoming a Veterinarian?

A3: “Not to many hardships because there was passion. However, I did live an hour away from Veterinary School but I shared gas mileage with a friend. That wasn’t a big problem for me because I love learning. I still love learning today. I think I’ll love learning until the day I die.”

Q4: What do you recommend for current students and/or graduates to do in order to advance in the Veterinary field?

A4: “Volunteer in a Vet practice or humane society to see if you want to really work with animals. Get experience. Volunteer if you never worked in a Veterinary. Call up your local Veterinarian and ask to talk to the Veterinary Technician. You have to get your foot in the door. Stay humble and hungry in job shadowing; that’s how I started…I have taught over 30 years and some students never worked for a Veterinarian, they just had to get their foot in the door, even if it’s just cleaning kennels like how I started. A student of mine volunteered for seven to eight months and they hired her. Work at whatever level is offered to you; eventually they will see your effort and good attitude and you’ll move forward in your career.”

Q5: What inspired you to join the Penn Foster team and become the Veterinary Program Director?

A5: “I graduated from Vet School and I owned a cat and dog practice, but I wanted to teach at a college level. I love people and I love seeing students chase their career dream and see them get better. I got married while working in New Orleands and I wanted to move to Texas. I applied to Penn Foster and I loved their leadership, student hospitality, service, and encouragement. I love how Penn Foster had shoulders above any other programs I worked for. I got the job with Penn Foster and I was able to move to Texas but I still fly once a month to Pennsylvania to visit the team I love at Penn Foster.”

Q6: How does it feel to be the main person to whom current students and/or graduated students seek to receive advice, guidance, and answers from?

A6: “The most important part of my job and faculty is to mentor students. Penn Foster is an online school so we have a lot of independent learners. I have a personal relationships with many students. Being a mentor means giving wisdom. There are also full-time and part-time faculty members who are around to answer questions for students.”

Q7: What advice do you give to individuals who want to join the Veterinary Technician Program with Penn Foster but not yet have?

Q7: “I never try to be pushy. The most important key is, “what is the dream?” I really try to mentor rather than sell them to the program. Some students don’t believe in themselves; they love animals but lack confidence. The solution to that is to work with people, be a team leader, and build confidence. Some students want to be a Veterinarian, but if that’s the case then they should go take Pre-Vet courses or go to Vet School. But if they want to be a Veterinary Technician, Penn Foster is the school to choose. Out of 221 fully accredited schools, eight are really outlined and Penn Foster is one. It is the least expensive program in the country and textbooks are included. Other programs cost $20,000 or more and students graduate with debt. With less than $7,000 you can get a quality education with Penn Foster and graduate debt free; you pay as you go. Penn Foster is great for busy people. You go to school for four semesters then you graduate. Penn Foster is a modular program, you start the program and can finish in 6 years or you can finish in 15 months. The completion speed all depends on the student’s situation. We welcome all people, since we know busy people get things done. “

Q8: What makes all your hard work and dedication worthwhile?

A8: “I just love seeing students reach their potential. People would ask, “When will you retire?” I think Penn Foster will use my recording six months after I’m dead, so I guess I’ll retire six months after I’m dead (laughing). My mom once said, “Jim one day you’re going to be a teacher.” One finds their purpose in life when joy is brought to the table. I feel joy by just seeing students grow. My passion is watching the growth of students not only as Veterinary Technicians but also as individuals. Amanda is a Vet Tech student, surprising she started as a shy student but now she is featured as student of the week. I have two kids and it might be a little weird to say, but I see all students as my sons and daughters. I love to watch them grow as individuals when they set boundaries, achieve goals, and overcome challenges. My hope and wish is that every student who starts the program will finish it. I love what I do and I love working for Penn Foster alongside national leaders in the Veterinary Technician field.”

Q9: What do you think makes National Veterinary Technician Week successful?

A9: “NVTW is successful because of the students who developed leadership skills to help animals and animal clients to develop a better life for their animals. Students meet with other people’s needs instead of theirs. The purpose of life is giving.”

Q10: What do you recommend for a successful National Veterinary Technician Week for next year?

A10: “PLAN AHEAD. We will have a webinar with students on a panel all over the country telling their stories. We want to encourage students to do something for their community. Penn Foster Veterinary Technician students are all over the country that will need to step up to leadership and participate in events to make it a memorable NVTW.”

Below is a section of Dr. Jim Hurrell’s post from his blog. Dr. Jim Hurrell posts every Monday and calls it Monday Motivation. This Post was meant to show appreciation to NVTW and is titled “Heart of a Veterinary Technician.”

Dr. Jim Hurrell has an out of the ordinary perspective on situations. All of his advice is based on virtues. It’s pleasant to know that a guy like Dr. Jim Hurrell is the Director of the Veterinary Program at Penn Foster. It surely makes being a student of Penn Foster more delightful. I’m proud to be a Veterinary Technician student, and now knowing that there is a week out of the year dedicated to Veterinary Technicians makes the journey even more rewarding. The beautiful part about NVTW is that although the week is dedicated to acknowledging Veterinary Technicians, the Vet Techs are actually the ones who instead of relaxing that week, work twice as hard to raise awareness and help more animals.


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