How do you feel? Nervous? Ready? Unprepared? Excited?
Have no fear, those feelings are normal. This is exactly what students in the veterinary technology program experienced when they volunteered to prepare feral cats for spays and neuters during a Saturday spayathon at Madison College. Their work resulted in more than 70 feral cats being spayed and neutered, which helps control the feline population.
With having the invaluable experience behind them, I sat down with our veterinary technology students to have them share their experiences. When asked if they would do it again, the class gave a resounding, “Yes!”
What also developed were several tips that future students enrolled in vet tech school can use to have a successful volunteer learning experience. Here is what our students had to share.
- Take initiative to connect with a certified veterinary technician right away: Connect with someone who has volunteered before to get your questions answered. If you can connect sooner than later, this will allow you to learn more about the process and get a clearer picture on what to expect.
- Speak up: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. As Elizabeth Hartung, student in the veterinary technology program explained, “I felt like some people were scared to ask questions, but I was very vocal. I told everyone, ‘I’m new; I don’t know what to do, so show me.’”
- It’s ok to observe first then dive in: “They will walk you through the process; they’re not going to force you to do anything you’re not prepared to do. Other volunteers are patient and are willing to help you by showing exactly what to do,” said Christina Schoppe, veterinary technology degree student.
- Don’t forget your essential tools: Bring a stethoscope, a black pen and a watch as these are needed in order to check the cat’s temperature, pulse and respiration. You will be taking vitals on a lot of cats.
- Pack lightly: “If you don’t have to, don’t bring too much of your personal stuff because there isn’t a lot of room to store it.” shared Andrew Lockman, student in the veterinary technology program. Food is provided so there is no need to bring a meal.
- Embrace the unknown: “Students should expect to be outside their comfort zone, perhaps anxious, but ask questions. We are there to learn not to already know everything.” added Andrew Lockman.
Are you up to the challenge of becoming a veterinary technician and helping give animals the care they need to have a healthy life? Then check out our associate in applied science degree for veterinary technology training at Globe University-Madison West.