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Career change is one of the most popular topics in the Pre-Vet & Career forum. Have you made a successful career change, or considering making one? Stop in and see what people are talking about.
BNJOYFUL asks: "I am in desperate need of advice! I currently work as an RN but am thinking of changing careers and becoming a vet tech. Has anyone done anything similar? I am wondering if a nursing background will make it easier to obtain a job within the veterinary medical field...?"

Comments

January 29, 2007 at 4:15 pm
(1) Cindy Ferdelman says:

I am also a RN interested in being a vet tech. I have the same questions as you. there is not a vet tech school in dayton Ohio so I am not sure what I am going to do.

October 31, 2007 at 5:01 pm
(2) Brittany says:

I am a RN student right now. My primary major is Nursing and I am thinking of making my secondary Vetarinary Technician as well! All I know is that if you switch from RN to Vet Tech your pay will go down because Vet Techs aren’t as in demand as RNs. Sucks but I animals are so much happier to be around :)

November 1, 2007 at 1:34 pm
(3) Jennifer says:

I am currently enrolled to be a nurse, so that I can become a vet nurse.What would be the down side to being a nurse first.

December 2, 2007 at 11:52 pm
(4) Sue says:

I am also an experienced RN looking to switch to animal nursing. I understand the pay is much different. Looking for info. from anyone who has done this RN to Vet Tech.

June 30, 2008 at 1:07 am
(5) Kelly says:

Salary of a vet tech depends on your location. I live in the sf bay area, avg is 14 to 16 an hour from what i understand and RNs start around 34 an hour or so.

August 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm
(6) Pam says:

I have been a registered nurse in Texas since 1993. I asked my vet, whom I’ve used for 30 years, if a vet would hire me to become a RVT, while I was studying the program. He related that b/c I had a BS in nursing, certainly I would be in high demand for other vets. Currently, I work as a nurse/paralegal and make considerably less than if I worked clinically. Here in Texas, RVT pay is approx. 25K/year. However, I have no bills now and I believe that the job would be so much more rewarding than “pushing papers”.

October 14, 2008 at 10:12 pm
(7) Kat says:

oh wow! I saw this post and couldnt help but respond! I have a degree in veterinary technology, and a lisence in the state of California (RVT). I worked in a wonderful veterinary hospital for a few years and am now taking some more classes to get into a diploma program for registered nursing. (I now live in Virginia) HERE’S WHY: vet tech’s are extremely underpaid. I thought that I could deal with the the terrible income because I love animals so much, but after a while, you just start to get burned out from the aweful grunt work thats involved. Wrestling a 120 lb. rottweiler on the floor for 20 minutes while he’s trying to bite you and squirting his anal glands on you all for a $10 nail trim? oh yea…fun fun. daily fun. Lifting a sedated great dane (dead weight) onto an x-ray table 10 times in the same day to do a barium series. Keep lots of advil on hand for the back aches. I cant tell you the amount of times (and scars for that matter) that you have to wrestle a fractious cat or a vicious dog, and when they are in that state they do attack as well as urinate and defecate on you, anal gland secretions go everywhere, you have to restrain and hold on no matter what. How bout all the constant barking? Are you ready for 8 hours of constant barking? They dont stop when you tell them to, and you just cant sedate them cuz you want to. Hello headache. And you are not just a “nurse” to animals. You are the dentist, the surgical tech, the x-ray tech, the x-ray developer, you clean and pack all the surgical packs once surgery is done, you are the hospital cleaner (yup, laundry too in most hospitals) you have to clean the cages in recovery; that means any time an animal vomits or poops or urinates or leaves the hospital, you have to get a spray bottle and paper towels and clean the cage. If an animal makes a mess on the floor in treatment, there isnt an orderly you can call…nope, thats all you baby! grab the mop! depending on the hospital, you are the pharmacist too, you have to fill prescriptions. You are the anesthetist as well, responsible for knocking down the surgeries and monitoring them throughout their procedure. You are also the lab tech, doing fecals and running urine analysis, also blood counts. Now dont get me wrong, I loved working with the animals, thats the reason why I persued a career as a vet tech, and I loved the medicinal part of my job, but the rediculous amount of grunt work is what killed it for me and what ultimatly made me decide to look into being an RN. When I spent the majority of my day rolling around on the ground restraining dogs with no manners, cleaning cages, lifting from the floor and heaving anesthitized animals from treatment into surgery and then back into treatment and then into recovery; I was exhausted, my back and knees were killing me, and I stunk like any number of animal excrements that had gotten on me that day. Now ask yourself: are you willing to do this gloriousness of a job for $12 an hour? yea, me neither.

Please Please Please…..If you are really serious about leaving your job as an RN and becoming a vet tech, spend some time volunteering at your own vet hospital. They wont turn down free help, especially if you tell them you are interested in persuing a career as a vet tech. They’ll probably tell you that you’re crazy, but dont just spend one afternoon, spend a good amount of time seeing what the job is really like. Almost all vet tech’s will tell you though that the burn out rate is almost 100%.

I Hope that this was helpful, and I didnt squash anyone’s dreams. I wish that someone had told me to spend some time in a vet hospital before I went to school.

And if you feel like you need to give back to pets, or you want to help them or make a difference in their lives somehow, volunteer at your local shelter walking dogs, thats what I do!!!
Thanks Everyone!

*Dont Breed or Buy While Shelter Pets Die!!*

October 17, 2008 at 11:33 pm
(8) Nurse says:

Wow Kat, thanks! I’m a new RN, currently making 25/h because jobs are kind of hard to come by in my area for new RNs so I’m working in a crappy nursing home… I was seriously thinking about switching careers to be a vet tech. I LOVE animals, way more than people, and I thought vet techs were just like nurses but for animals. I had no idea vet techs had to do all the dirty/unskilled labor. I did not know that the pay was THAT low. I expected to take a pay cut but I was thinking it would be more like 33% (that is, if a nurse makes 30 bucks an hour starting a vet tech should make 20).

Thanks for saving me from a big mistake… I’ll stay a nurse!

December 11, 2008 at 3:33 pm
(9) Meg says:

I’m currently an RN student and also taking online vet tech courses. I can totally understand what Kat says about the job description at vet clinics that don’t utilize vet assistants, but instead have vet techs do everything. But, I live near a very large vet hospital where there are cleaners & other staff that do the ‘grunt work’, allowing vet techs to do more medical work – what they are trained for.

January 16, 2009 at 11:57 am
(10) Xo says:

I stumbled upon this line of comments when I googled “RN wants to change career” I have been an RN for 8 yrs now and when I read that vet techs are under pay (which I do not deny)… how about the nurses? I read that the nurses start $30/hr? wow! with all my experience and working in one of the best hospitals in the South I bearly make $21/hr! This job is mentally and physically draining as the one described by Kat as a vet tech. I am ready for a career change, I do not know what, but I am ready! :D

January 30, 2009 at 5:19 am
(11) Rob says:

I am currently a Vet. Tech.(ICU Nurse) in a busy practice, and have been in the field for 10 years. Now I am also a junior in college for my B.S.N. because many of the same reasons Kat had mentioned.
To anyone interested in working as a Vet. Tech. Please do not quit your day job, try doing both, or per-diem work. Do what is best for yourself because being a vet tech can be rewarding, but at your own expense.
If money is not the issue then go for it. Animal care is in great need of improvement, and the skills of a R.N. can be of great help.

January 31, 2009 at 7:54 pm
(12) Burnt out nurse says:

I have enjoyed reading all the comments on becoming a vet tech. I have been sooooo seriously looking for a career change. I have been a nurse for 24yrs. I enjoy the patients mostly, but I have always wanted to be in the veterinarian field ever since I can remember. I thought that I would continue to work part-time in my nursing position, and then work part-time as a vet tech. Does a vet tech get paid more or less than a vet assistant? I LOVE animals and have always had some sort of pet in my life. I just want to make the right career choice. After reading Kat’s comments it makes me wonder if maybe I should stay where I am. I am still struggling. I live in Virginia and the south does not pay nurses as well as some other areas. I look forward to anyone’s response to this. Thanks!!

January 31, 2009 at 7:54 pm
(13) Burnt out nurse says:

I have enjoyed reading all the comments on becoming a vet tech. I have been sooooo seriously looking for a career change. I have been a nurse for 24yrs. I enjoy the patients mostly, but I have always wanted to be in the veterinarian field ever since I can remember. I thought that I would continue to work part-time in my nursing position, and then work part-time as a vet tech. Does a vet tech get paid more or less than a vet assistant? I LOVE animals and have always had some sort of pet in my life. I just want to make the right career choice. After reading Kat’s comments it makes me wonder if maybe I should stay where I am. I am still struggling. I live in Virginia and the south does not pay nurses as well as some other areas. I look forward to anyone’s response to this. Thanks!!

February 2, 2009 at 11:41 pm
(14) snow says:

I thought I was a minority! I went to school to be an RN, worked for a short time. Then went back to become a vet tech (I have always loved animals). Well I almost finished until a family matter arose and I had to withdraw. I have to stay the vet tech course(2 yr)was shockingly hard and quite challenging. Even after going through nursing! The other post was right about you are not just a nurse(and I actually found it was very little care giving)you are also an x ray technician, a dental hygenist, a surgical nurse.. The amount of things you are expected to know is crazy. The testing in school was vigorous to say the least! There are also duties that are expected to be done around the facility whilst your in school, so its also like having a full time job on top of it!
I could go on.. For the amount of pay that is given, the demands put on vet techs seems very unreasonable..

February 2, 2009 at 11:41 pm
(15) snow says:

I thought I was a minority! I went to school to be an RN, worked for a short time. Then went back to become a vet tech (I have always loved animals). Well I almost finished until a family matter arose and I had to withdraw. I have to stay the vet tech course(2 yr)was shockingly hard and quite challenging. Even after going through nursing! The other post was right about you are not just a nurse(and I actually found it was very little care giving)you are also an x ray technician, a dental hygenist, a surgical nurse.. The amount of things you are expected to know is crazy. The testing in school was vigorous to say the least! There are also duties that are expected to be done around the facility whilst your in school, so its also like having a full time job on top of it!
I could go on.. For the amount of pay that is given, the demands put on vet techs seems very unreasonable..

February 27, 2009 at 11:29 pm
(16) O.R. RN says:

I have been an O.R. Rn for 9 years and a nurse for 12. I read the title and was curious. I read XO’s (?) post and thought…and its different HOW being a nurse vs a vet tech? (no disrespect intended at all!!) Ok we don’t have to express anal glands…lol…The pay may be more but maybe google RN Burnout too.There are so many nurses that are complaining of the same physical issues you are having. It is a tough job be it animals or humans.

My daughter works for Banfield as a PetNurse, and they have the assistants or CSE’s that do that “grunt” part of the work. She has been at this for 2 years, works with other PetNurses that have been at it for 10 years or longer, and while they have had a bumpy road getting appropriately trained staff and compliant doctors on board, they have a nice mix now, and their practice is doing great. She does have days where she is exhausted, but is not even remotely interested in Human Nursing.

I DO agree they are paid faaaarrrrrr less than they deserve to be paid for the amount of knowledge they have and over the many complex systems of all the animal kingdom, and the skills that you possess.

I would love to see the VT/VN’s stay in it, and become involved with your professional organizations, and start lobbying for better pay. (No it won’t happen overnight, but it won’;t happen at all, if no one speaks up!) Someone has to do that, somewhere to get changes started. I do know the power of a voice in your professional organizations.

Kudos to you all that have done this for as long as you have for the little that you get. I am sorry. I wish i could do more for you myself.

But….you will find that there are just as many issues in nursing as there are in the Vet tech world, and the “more pay” conversation runs around in our heads too…the grass may be greener for a while, and maybe that is what you need. If that works, come join the nurses! It will be a loss for the animal world I am sure.

Pay is a tough thing to look at in these economic times. I wish all of you good luck in wherever your journey may lead.

July 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm
(17) Med Off Mgt Student choosin bet RN or VT says:

I completelty agree with O.R. RN. People shouldn’t have to choose between two careers due to the pay. If a RN = a RVT then they should recieve equal amount of payment for the work that they studied for and for what they work for. I am pretty sure that becoming a RVT school is not cheaper than becoming a RN

September 13, 2009 at 7:18 am
(18) Charisse says:

Hey Kat,
Guess what? RN’s pretty much do the same thing, yes for more money, but with ungrateful drug seeking trolls called humans! Some are appreciative but most are regular jerks. So the perks are much different if the jobs earns you a joyful lick in the face instead of constant complaining and daily workloads that are not even imaginable. Love the animals!

October 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm
(19) A vet with an opinion says:

Stated above: “If a RN = a RVT then they should receive equal amount of payment for the work that they studied for and for what they work for. I am pretty sure that becoming a RVT school is not cheaper than becoming a RN.”

Indeed. As a veterinarian, I make about 1/3 the salary an average MD would make. My 8 years of college was the same, if not more intensive, than medical school.

The problem lies in what people are willing to pay for their pet’s medical care. An ovariohysterectomy (spay) at my practice will cost you about $150-$200 where a woman’s hysterectomy will cost you $10,000. It’s the same surgery. Pay is significantly lower because the perceived value of an animal/animal medicine is often lower than the human counterparts. If you can’t charge what you are truly worth, you will never compete with salaries seen in human fields. Veterinary medicine is not a career you choose for the income.

December 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm
(20) Julie says:

I too am so very tired of nursing. People are so ungrateful and it is too stressful a job. I am now running a Wildlife rehab with raccoons who have better dispostions than the people who have made them orphans and without homes that I wish I could just make a small living from it than being forsed to survive a job I truely hate doing dealing with people. So unfortunatly I have to deal with people so my critters can have a great life and that is what I live for my animals are more important than the ungrates of the world.

March 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm
(21) Amanda says:

I have wanted to be a vet tech for 4 years now… Finally got accepted into the program in MN… There is a job shadowing requirement before you are truly accepted that I went to fulfill… I job shadowed for two days and realized that vet techs really don’t seem to do anything. I’m not trying to offend, and maybe it was the hospitals that I shadowed at, but all I ever saw a vet tech do was prep for surgery, watch during surgery, and oh, I did see one do a tooth extraction. I think from my shadowing experience, I learned alot. If I wanted this for a career or not… It really isn’t what I thought it would be. I thought, yes it was very naive, that the animals would all be in good moods and be happy to see me, and just KNOW that I’m an animal lover… But no, they are all scared. Scared to be in an unfamiliar place without their mommy or daddy, they could give a crap less if you are there or not. Which I understand. I understand that completely.
I decided to go into a RN program instead. People could give a crap less if you are there or not as well, but they at least have some understanding of what is going on, and its so much easier to explain a procedure to a human than an animal. What I have decided to do, is pursue the RN degree and then help animals in my spare time. I wanted vet tech because I thought I would get a lot of one on one time with the animals, you know, like be a true nurse, but now I know that’s not the case. It’s prep, do the surgery, get ready for the next one. I don’t know, this probably doesn’t really help anyone. But I did also consider once I have acquired my RN and been working awhile, to go to school for vet tech as well, and just kinda do it like a twice a week thing…

May 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm
(22) Linda says:

Hi everyone this may surprise you as it did me but I must say after 30 years of er nursing and supervision I find that a vet tech/rn is much better. Yes the pay is less better get use to that. But he clean up is the same, fecal material smells the same and urine is urine and vomit too! As far as bites and animals that growl etc have you ever tried to control a meth freak? I know it’s hard but keeping someone on a stretch with leather restrainths so they can be treated as they spit on you or vomit even urinate is no better and believe me worse then a dog. I have had to have been tested for HIV several times due to trauma surgeons not taking the proper care to safeguard their staff as well as the patients. I have been treated for menningits twice because a crack head mother threw her baby at me because it wasn’t breathing and my instincts kicked in too fast and I started cpr instead of first bringing in the child to the er treatment room. I have already done cpr on dogs and I can tell you it’s the same as on a human. Sometimes I wish we could give a injection to a dying person screaming in pain from cancer. I must tell you one more thing. Ten years into my nursing career and two days before I was due to get married I had a severe trauma come into our er. Somehow before we could sedate him for his open fractures and go to tube him he twisted like the exodus and latched onto my flesh on my rear through the bar on the stretcher. I had such a bite that my rear was swollen beyond belief. No to be outdone, I couldn’t even wear stockings nor hardly sit and had to stay close by because I needed IV antibiotics for almost two weeks. I must say a dog at least can have a muzzle!!!!

August 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm
(23) burned out 31 says:

I have to say that I am inclined to agree with OR RN. Having been a RN for over 31 years with varied experience within the field, I fail to see much difference between the fields, with the exception of the pay. And at this point in my career and life, I have finally given myself permission to pursue a career with the animals I so dearly love that give more unconditional love than some humans that I have cared for that can at least verbalize what hurts. Feces, anal glands? Try C-diff, hem + stools, vomiting blood, all with an explosive force behind them. No warning, it just happens. Not to mention that it frequently does go all over, including nurses. Not to forget those patients that actually throw their feces AT you! Don’t get me wrong, we need RN’s in a big way; and those of you just starting out, please don’t do it just for the money. You have to really love the field, and all that goes with it to stay in it. And if that is the case, go for it. But we “burned out” nurses have our issues with back and neck injuries, vericose veins, not taking a bathroom break for 8-10 hours, and patients that are never happy.
I did love nursing, and still do, but after 31 years, it may be time to hang up my nursing shoes. (which I used to change before going home)

October 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm
(24) Dave says:

It is interesting to hear about how many RN’s consider becoming a vet tech. I currently work as a police officer and after almost 14 years of dealing with the good, bad and ugly …I am looking into relocating from Pennsylvania to the state of Tennessee.

I have always dreamed of working with animals and doing something in that field. I’d be giving up almost $28 bucks an hour to work in a field where I will never see that kind of money again. I think its all about what makes you happy. Every job has its ups and downs and life is short. So far I’m looking into San Juan College as they seem to provide a decent distance learning program.

January 7, 2011 at 7:55 am
(25) Sue says:

I have been a respiratory technician for 15 years and RN for almost 10…but I want a career change, thus I am not doing it for the money. I love animals and I dont mind the constant barking, the cleaning up after they dirty and all for cents on the dollar. I want to do the the carrer change mainly because i have been paid 40 an hour was happy but gave it up for another position paying less and I am static about it. I dont mind the salary cut as ling as I am doing what i really want to do….if i get tired I can always go back to any of my previous careers…it is all about choices and consequences.

January 16, 2011 at 12:30 am
(26) Summer says:

I started looking into going back to school and was looking at both angles of becoming a nurse or vet tech. After reading all the posts on here, I think I decided on nursing. Vet tech takes longer and MUCH more studying and the costs is MUCH more than nursing. In nursing you have quite a few choices where you can work. As a vet tech, you don’t have as many. I was shocked at the amount of money a vet tech makes and after the costs of school, at my age I doubt I’d ever see the payback lol. Anyways, thanks for all the posts as was very enlightening.

March 30, 2011 at 7:18 am
(27) Dale says:

I have been an RVT for almost 10 years, and I can tell you all it is a good job, but as far as I am concerned, we are terribly overworked and terribly underpaid. On a daily basis, I take blood, run the bloods in the lab, take X-rays, anesthesia, and surgery dental cleanings and client consultations for things like weight loss, behaviour etc. The last place I worked we did 12 hour shifts and no breaks, while the physical demands create a burnout that is terribly hard to overcome. Then after all that the client abuse from vet costs( which pale in comparison to human medicine) I can barely support myself and pay bills. Of the 30 people I graduated the vet tech program, only five of us are still techs, everyone else flipped to other things like nursing. And they think it s a breeze and they make twice as much money. There’s a reason why the average vet tech career is less than 10 years. I love animals and I do love what I do, and I could never be an RN cause I hate people, but working 6 days a week to live paycheck to paycheck sucks

December 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm
(28) Shar says:

I was a veterinary technician for 6 years, learned EVERYTHING on the job and was damn good. You name it, I did it…Apart from actually performing a surgery, I would suture after dental extractions, induce animals for surgery, catheter placement..etc. I decided to go into nursing because the pay was terrible as a Vet Tech for all the work you had to do. I love medicine and figured I could always become an APRN if nursing didn’t suite me. Im almost done with nursing school and must say, nursing is much more intense and there is soooo much more to know on a different level than in veterinary medicine. There just isn’t the technology like there is in human medicine and honestly the cases are much more difficult to diagnose and treat in human medicine. I love animals, but after working with them day in and day out, they tend to drive you nuts! (not to say that people dont drive you nuts either!) The techs did more than the Vets and got paid so much less. Like another poster said, you really dont have the care in veterinary medicine anymore, it’s more like a machine…get them in and get them out as fast as you can, to make the most money possible. Like in nursing, you really dont have the patient care either, most of your time is spent documenting and running around. There is good and bad in both professions but i’ll stick with nursing, if you have enough money saved to support yourself, i’d say think about becoming a vet tech but if not, stick with nursing! Or find a completely different career all together that doesnt involve killing your back, knees, cleaning up bodily fluids, sweating, smelling..etc. Its all SO GLAMOROUS :)

May 17, 2012 at 10:07 am
(29) lindsay says:

I am a veterinary thehnician. We dont get paid nearly what nurses make due to the fact that there is no insurance to make sure DVM’ s get paid by clients there fore to keep revenue up we get paid less. We ARE in demand almost every clinic I have worked in is under staffed. If you can handle the stress and amount of death us see being an ER Vet Tech they do get paid more. Thats all I worked before going in to Zoo medicine and taking a HUGE pay cut. We do it because we love it not because of the pay. I cant say theres ever a day that I don’t want to go to work, and I have met very few Ve Techs that are unhappy when it comes to there career. Being a nurse isnt necessarilly going to help you get a job as a VT. From what friends who changed from vet tech careers to nursing say is that the hardest change is blood draww and IV cathter placement are very different. On top of all the regular nursing stuff you will learn to be an anesthesiologist, surgical nurse, triage nurse, radiologist, maybe some ultrasonography depending on you school. Those of us that got our degree and passesd our National (VTNE)& in most states state boards are the only ones in our field that can truly call our selves Technicians/technologists. If go to an AVMA accrediated program and you pass depending the state then you either become “cretified”,”registered”, or “licensed”. All meaning the same thing. Anyone who is has not tested and passed is “technically” a veterinary assistant (someone who assists the vet tech.)

November 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm
(30) now what says:

All understood, vet techs get paid less. RN’s & LVN’s do the same but get paid more. Now of course depending on the nurse’s heart & type of nurse activity varies, but for those floor nurses you also clean up BM, only difference is patients are human & talk & at times talk rude, curse, throw poop at you , bite, strike with arms & legs & scream all day & through all this you must still be patient & calm towards the patient & their families. I am also thinking of changing career to a vet nurse thinking that there might be more gratitude at a vets office/hospital..I’ve gotten burned seeing how humans/patients take life for granted,, most don’t have private insurance so they have government insurance & yet they choose to continue non compliance & when hospitalized want to be treated like queens/kings & treat nurses like trash & no one stands up for the nurses…now I’m unsure of what to do with my career & i love animals.

January 24, 2013 at 12:52 am
(31) RNtoLVT says:

I made the switch from RN to LVT. I work full time as an LVT in an emergency medical center, and per diem as an RN, to keep my skills up. I think that LVTs are crazy to leave vet med and go into nursing. Are you kidding? When you’re an RN, you’re a nurse, a receptionist, a janitor, a paper pusher and you do this all under the scrutiny of your fellow nurses. I worked in a large shelter before coming here, and I can tell you that LVTs (at least in my area) are BY and LARGE MUCH nicer than your average RN. At least when you need help, someone will help you. Try getting help in a crazy intensive care unit or ER. You complain about 120 pound dogs…but good luck pushing a bed with 500 pounds of intubated dead weight on it. Being an RN is really glorified, and people just see dollar signs. Get ready for abuse from patients, families, your manager, your co-workers and arrogant MDs. And complaining about the smells? People don’t smell much better, and it’s a lot better cleaning up dog poop than a adult diaper. I really, really enjoy the NURSING aspect of being an RN, but today there is so much stress on charting and QA, that patient care takes a back seat. I do more “patient care” as an LVT. There’s a huge amount of burn out in human nursing as well, and a huge amount of RNs who have damaged spines from the hard work. I hope that you enjoy your career change – but don’t say that we didn’t tell you so.

May 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm
(32) peggy says:

Wow! I am glad to have come across this website and thankful I’m not alone in considering a career change. I wholeheartedly agree with the comment just before mine here. I’ve worked as an RN for nearly 18 years now, from acute care to outpatient clinics. When I graduated from nursing school, I had high hopes and equally high standards when it came to patient care, but then entered the unfortunate reality of : Documentation, regulation, QA, politics, and yes some toxic coworkers / managers. I think a lot of those same “toxic” coworkers / managers probably (hopefully) weren’t born that way, but today’s hospitals and clinics seem more focused on the bottom line, and are so afraid of getting sued I often found myself in a position of practicing “defensive” nursing…. I finally quit my last nursing job, with a clinic I’d been part of for over 11 years, because I got sick of the nurse manager asking what I could do to cut down the time I spend with patients “chatting” and if I hear the word “how can we increase the flow” one more time I will scream!! I started volunteering at the local humane society part time, and now I’m in between jobs, I am putting in more hours at the shelter. But I can see how there can be burn out tendencies there too. I’d say I agree maybe best to find a per diem nursing job to keep up with house payments, but give the majority of my time to caring for animals. And I have to agree, the people that I work with at the humane society are always there for each other, at least it seems! And they certainly don’t do it for the money. For those of you considering “human” nursing as career, please do NOT do it for the money!! Thanks for letting me post this long comment here! Good luck to all of you!

May 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm
(33) Lisa says:

I got my Bachelors Degree in Animal Health Science and yes the job is very demanding on my body , but I could never imagine working with humans no matter how much I got paid. Yes, it’s true you are you are not going to get rich with this profession, but your not going to be poor either. I rather go to work and actually enjoy what I am doing and get less pay then be miserable at a job and be stuck there because I make a lot of money .You spend more time at work then anywhere else. I love my job and my cute adorable patients. it is very fulfilling. ;-)

August 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm
(34) Carol says:

You all have had the effect of making me miss nursing (humans) for the first time since I retired at age 67 5 months ago. When I was a nurses’ aide and a new RN, things were different from what they are today. We did a lot of “grunt work”. We had enormous case loads. But we didn’t have to document what didn’t happen and we didn’t have to censor every word that came out of our mouths. I think the reason I finally retired was that I became afraid to do and say what I knew would be in the patient’s best interest if the patient or a hospital administrator might find it “offensive”. I, too, thought about taking care of animals as a “retirement” job. I apologize for not recognizing how hard you work and how hard you studied to get where you are. At 67 I’m not going to start a new career, so I may volunteer at a shelter. Maybe even a human shelter. From what I can see, getting paid well actually ruins a job. It invites people into the profession who have no right to be there because they don’t love it. It invites close scrutiny by superiors and eventually by government types. My work can bear the scrutiny, but my relationships with my patients suffer. Sometimes you just have to say, “600 pounds is too much for anyone to weigh. You have to lose weight” or “of course you can’t get a job while you’re on heroin”. When the truth hurts them, they hurt you, quick as any pit bull ever did. God bless you all for what you do, and don’t let them get to you as they have to nurses.

September 19, 2013 at 10:56 pm
(35) hope overmeyer says:

My two cents:

I have worked in the field of Veterinary Medicine for 30 + years. In between I have gained a license as a RN. In Ohio the difference between the two is this: An RN is responsible for his/her own actions whereas a RVT is covered for their actions under the supervising Veterinarian. An RVT has to acquire 12 hrs of CE q, 24 mths vs. an RN 24hrs. As for the RVT not having to assume responsibility for their actions, the profession is not accepted by most persons and considered a joke.

October 1, 2013 at 8:02 pm
(36) Penny D says:

I’m so glad that I came across this discussion. I’ve been an RN for many years but I love animals & hope to have my own rescue or senior sanctuary in about 5 years. I have a much more realistic view of what being a vet tech means after reading the posts. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts on changing from RN to vet tech.

March 29, 2014 at 9:23 am
(37) Jessica says:

Brittany, actually, it’s not the demand, but the insurance companies that control the pay. We cvts don’t make as much as our human counterparts bc human medicine is controlled by the insurance industry

April 3, 2014 at 5:26 pm
(38) sandy says:

Well…I dunno… Kat’s job description as a vet tech pretty much describes most of my career as an RN working in the ER. I thought I had heard several years ago that they had a “Registered animal nurse” that’s what they need. I would love so much more to work with animals than people!

April 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm
(39) Kathleen Boyd Kroh says:

I am an RN with 31yrs experience….My dream is to become a VET but I’m 51yrs old…..already can draw blood and tube feed….my cat had feline leukemia……would really like to persue this opportunity!!!!! What do I need to do?????

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