Assessing Essential Skills of Veterinary Technology Students, Second Edition
Edited by: Laurie J. Buell, MS, LVT; Robin E. Sturtz, DVM, MA

VSPN Review by Nanette Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT Star
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Dr. Sturtz asked if I would review this text and I heartily agreed. In the world of education of future veterinary technicians, instructors are often left scratching their heads when finding ways to best make sure the essential technician skills put forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) should be covered, taught, and tested. In their efforts, the editors have compiled skill lists following the essential skills required of a graduating veterinary technician into a handy spiral bound text. Laurie Buell, MS, LVT and coeditor Dr. Sturtz are both educators of veterinary technician students, and along with two other veterinary technician educators and a general practice veterinarian they incorporated a broader definition of the skills into this handy check off list.

The text is divided into nine sections closely mimicking the seven domains identified by the CVTEA to be those skills required by a graduating veterinary technician student from either a 2- or 4- year veterinary technician program. The sections are: Veterinary Management; Pharmacology; Medical Nursing; Anesthesia; Surgical Nursing and Assisting; Clinical Laboratory Procedures; Radiography; Laboratory Rabbits, Rats and Mice: Care and Procedures; and Avian and Exotic Animal Nursing. Each section is further divided into skill sets such as anesthetic monitoring or patient evaluation, preparation, and positioning. Within the subsections, the essential skills, knowledge, and decision-making capabilities to be accomplished throughout a student's school years are each followed by the standard criteria that instructors and veterinary mentors will use to evaluate the student. Directions for use of the manual are included to clearly outline the duties of the student and the evaluators. Space for the associated course and evaluators initials as well as space for notes along the right hand column is conveniently available.

The favorite parts of this text for me as an educator both on-site and online are the subtle ways the authors included step-by-step criteria. This not only aids in finding the criteria to evaluate, but subtly teaches the student to learn to set patterns in how s/he performs daily tasks so things aren't forgotten. Some of the more general tasks have examples included to initiate use as well as remind the student. Other tasks and criteria conveniently leave out specifics, implying those will be specifically identified in the associated course. I delight in the fact that a student's command of veterinary terminology is required for this text- again, another subtle way to teach as well as lead. Veterinarians reviewing this text will pleasingly see specific instructions where "at the veterinarian's direction or discretion" is included, carefully teaching again the 'endpoint' of a veterinary technician's duties to understand but not diagnose, prognose, prescribe, or perform surgery. There is some duplication between the sections; however, I see these duplications as a good reminder to the students that behaviors are to be consistent between each situation, as well as teaching the student how to be professional both in appearance and in communication with a veterinarian, co-worker, or client. From start to finish this text backs up each section with a wide variety of excellent references, indicating the extent of the authors to substantiate the information within. These references are ones the student can refer back to as s/he enters and continues in the career.

The very few downfalls for this text are in its design for New York veterinary technician students. Educators in other states/provinces would need to edit those portions specific to their state/provincial veterinary practice act and situations specifically concerning rabies, management, and technician duties and supervision. Additionally, the lack of diagnostic imaging other than radiology is apparent; however, at this time the CVTEA does not include imaging such as ultrasound, endoscopy, or other such modalities in its essential skills list. Unfortunately, I personally find that a minimal knowledge of some of these is essential knowledge needed by a graduating veterinary technician.

I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this text since I had attempted to design something usable, small, and durable for the students at my previous teaching institution to satisfactorily track and acquire their "see one, do one, teach one" requirements for the essential skills. This text is a labor of love by these educators and could be relatively easily incorporated into any program with the small editing caveats above to specify state/province requirements. For veterinarians in practice it's an excellent way to remind staff and supervisor of what knowledge a veterinary technician is required to know: those things that separate veterinary assistants from credentialed veterinary technicians.

Linus Publications, Inc.: Deer Park, NY (2008)

138 pgs, soft cover, spiral bound

ISBN: 1-60797-003-1.

Table of Contents
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Alternative Medicine
Animal Welfare
Client Education
Cytology / Hematology / Histology
Emergency Med
Food Animals/Livestock
Handling & Restraint
Human-Animal Bond
Imaging & Radiology
Infectious Diseases
Internal Medicine
Laboratory Medicine
Practice Management
Rabbits, Rodents & Ferrets
Shelter Medicine
Veterinary Education
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* Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XIV
* Rev. Q&A Tech. 3rd Ed. (VSPN Review)
* Textbook Of Veterinary Physiological Chemistry: 2nd ed
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* Workbook McCurnin 7th Ed. (VSPN Review)
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Anatomy & Physiology of Domestic Animals, 2nd ed (VSPN)
Animal Biology and Care, 3rd Ed (VSPN)
You are hereAssessing Skills 2nd Ed. (VSPN Review)
Atlas of Normal Radiographic Anatomy & Anatomic Variants in the Dog and Cat
Atlas of Transboundary Animal Diseases (VSPN)
Brucellosis: Recent Developments towards “One Health” (VSPN)
Career Choices for Veterinary Technicians, Opportunities for Animal Lovers (VSPN)
Case Studies in Veterinary Technology (VSPN)
Cattle Medicine
Clin. Anat. Lab. Tech. (VSPN Review)
COMPAS Material Safety Data Systems
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Contracts, Benefits and Practice Management for the Veterinary Profession, 8th Ed (VSPN)
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Critical Care Management for Laboratory Mice and Rats(VSPN)
CVPM Preparation Workbook
Dellmann's Histology 6th Ed.
Differential Diagnosis in Small Animal Medicine, 2nd ed (VSPN)
Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians & Animal Scientists, 5th Ed (VSPN)
Electrocardiography for the Small Animal Practitioner (VSPN Review)
Equine Internal Medicine, 3rd Ed
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Fluid, Electrolyte, And Acid-Base Disorders In Small Animal Practice 4th Edition
Fundamentals of Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians, 2nd Edition
Good Governance and Financing of Efficient Veterinary Services (VSPN)
Good Grief – Finding Peace After Pet Loss (VSPN)
How We Do Things Here: Developing and Teaching Office-Wide Protocols (VSPN)
Human – Animal Medicine (VSPN)
Large Animal Clinical Procedures for Veterinary Technicians, 2nd Ed
Large Animal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (VSPN)
Legal Consents for Veterinary Practices, 4th (VSPN)
McCurnin Tech. 7th Ed.
Medical Math 2nd Ed.
Medical Math 2nd Ed. (VSPN Review)
Medical Terminology: programmed system approach 10th ed.
Mosby Tech. 3rd Ed. (VSPN Review)
Mosby’s Veterinary PDQ, 2nd Edition (VSPN)
Pain Management for the Small Animal Practitioner, 2nd Ed (VSPN)
Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook, 7th Ed (VSPN Review)
Pocket Guide to APA Style, 4th Ed
Pocket Handbook Of Small Animal Medicine (VSPN)
Research Writer – Curiosity, Discovery and Dialogue
Review Q&A for Vet Techs, 4th Ed. (VSPN Review)
Saunders Anatomy (VSPN Review)
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, 4th Ed.
Self-Assessment Color Review: Small Anim Cardiopulmonary Medi (VSPN)
Self-Assessment Color Review: Small Animal Ophthalmology
Sheep Medicine 2nd ed (VSPN)
Sloane’s Medical Word Book, 5th Ed
Small Animal Bandaging, Casting and Splinting Techniques
Small Animal Pediatrics: First 12 Mos. (VSPN Review)
Small Animal Radiographic Techniques and Positioning (VSPN)
Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook, 3rd Ed
Statistics at the Bench
The Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing, 2nd Ed
The Goat Handbook
The Little Book of CT in Veterinary Medicine: A PRACTICAL Guide to CT Technique for Technicians and Veterinarians
The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, Home Ed
The Pocket Wadsworth Handbook, 5th ED (VSPN)
The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook 5th Ed
UFAW Handbook Care and Management of Lab and Research Animals, 8th Ed. (VSPN Review)
Unlocking Medical Terminology (VSPN Review)
Veterinary Assisting Fundamentals (VSPN Review)
Veterinary Medical Terminology Guide and Workbook (VSPN)
Veterinary Medicine: It’s More Than You Think (VSPN)
Veterinary Microbiology and Microbial Disease, 2nd Ed.
Veterinary Technology Essentials: Instructors Resource Guide and Student Activities (VSPN)
What’s Next? A Guide to Veterinary Ultrasound of the Eye, Neck, and Shoulder
What’s That? A Beginner’s Guide to Veterinary Abdominal Ultrasound (VSPN)
When Helping Hurts: Compassion Fatigue in the Veterinary Profession (VSPN)
Writing the Research Paper – A Handbook, 8th Ed
* Clinical Tech. 5th Ed.
* Clinical Tech. 6th Ed. (VSPN Review)
* Medical Math.
* SA Surg. Nursing (VSPN Review)
* Saunders Terminology (VSPN Review)
* Vet. Anat. Workbook (VSPN Review)
*Tasks Vet. Asst. 2nd Ed.
*Tasks Vet. Asst. 2nd Ed. (VSPN Review)
*Veterinary Med. Team
Wildlife-Zoo Animals

Date Published: December 1, 2009

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