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Pets and Vets need Techs

12 Oct

When I was a young girl I had the best dog. Daisy was a black lab who would meet me at the end of my street every day on my walk home from school. Some of my happiest memories include Daisy. Unfortunately, some of my saddest memories from childhood came when Daisy was stricken with cancer and our family had to put her down.

Over twenty years later, I still remember sitting in the veterinarian’s waiting room not really understanding what was going on. I remember my dad going back with the vet and my older brother and I sitting in the waiting room crying. That day, a veterinary technician sat with us until our dad came back. She explained what was going on and how much pain Daisy had been in because of the cancer.

At the time, like a lot of people, I had no idea what a veterinary technician was. I just knew that the nice lady at the vet’s office made a horrible day a little easier. I would bet that most people can tell you the name of at least one veterinarian whether they own pets or not. I’d also bet that they couldn’t tell you what a vet tech does, let alone the name of a veterinary technician.

Like medical, vision, dental and other health care providers, veterinary care requires a team to give pets the best medical care possible. Veterinary technicians are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians. They work closely with veterinarians, veterinary assistants, practice managers, patients and owners to provide the essential link with all involved in the care process.

This week the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Inc. (NAVTA) is celebrating the profession with National Veterinary Technician Week. This annual event recognizes veterinary technicians for their contributions in pet health care, as well as veterinarians, assistants, practice managers and others involved in this care. This year’s theme is “Pets and Vets need Techs.”

LMU is proud to be home to just one of three Veterinary Technician programs in the state of Tennessee. Founded in 1985, the program’s goal is to meet the increasing demand for veterinary technicians in the region. The program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. It also continues to grow, with a second Veterinary Technician program starting at LMU’s Kingsport Extended Learning site in Kingsport in January.

In addition to joining the nation to celebrate NAVTA’s National Veterinary Technician Week, LMU’s Veterinary Technician program is also sponsoring two high profile events in the coming weeks to raise awareness of the profession and LMU’s program.

The Fall Veterinary Technician Continuing Education Conference will be held on Friday, October 21, 2011, at the Schenck Center for Allied Health Sciences on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tenn. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the conference beginning at 9 a.m. Six Continuing Education (CE) credits will be available through this conference. Cost for attending the conference is $25, and lunch will be provided. Those wishing to attend the conference should RSVP to Amy Nelson at 423.869.6205 or amy.nelson@lmunet.edu.

The annual Veterinary Technology Dog Show will take place on Saturday, November 5, at Haymaker Farms in Harrogate, Tenn. Registration for entries into the dog show begins at 11:30 a.m., with the dog show to commence at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $5 for the first class and $2 for all subsequent classes. Classes include: costume class, saddest dog, happiest dog, junior handler, senior dog, obedience, senior handler, best puppy, best mixed breed, best hound, best herding, best toy breed, best terrier, best sporting, best non-sporting, best working and best trick. All dogs must be on a leash and puppies must be 12 weeks old or older. All dogs must be vaccinated. For more information, contact Director of Veterinary Technology Mary Hatfield at 423.869.6278.

NAVTA is a nonprofit organization that represents and promotes the veterinary technician profession. NAVTA provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members. Incorporated in 1981, NAVTA is the national organization devoted exclusively to developing and enhancing the profession of veterinary technology. Pets give us unconditional love and veterinary technicians give us peace of mind. For this reason, they should be celebrated during National Veterinary Technician Week. More information about NAVTA and this special week can be found at http://www.navta.net or by calling 888.99NAVTA.

We’re #2!

18 Aug

During the last test cycle (April to June 2011) for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board Certification (BOC) 92 universities had medical technology graduates take the exam. Guess where the LMU program was ranked among the 92? Well, if you read the headline you already know the answer to the question so it’s not much of a game. But nevertheless, the Lincoln Memorial University Medical Technology graduates tied for the second highest pass rate in terms of highest composite score. Yep WE’RE #2!! And that is not #2 in the region or #2 in Tennessee; that is #2 in all of the U.S. of A!

Even more impressive is the fact that the LMU Medical Technology Program has had a 100% pass rate on the ASCP BOC dating back to 2005. If you’re math-challenged, that is six straight years of perfect pass rates.

The Class of 2011 composite class average of 648 bested the national average of 408 by 140 points. A minimum of 400 points is needed to pass the exam. The highest score recorded by a member of the LMU Class of 2011 was 748, a new program record.

LMU Medical Technology Class of 2011 Front row (L-R): Selena Long, Shasta Stewart, Jessica Colont, Adam Price and Derek Richards. Back row (L-R): Dr. Mark Camblin, adjunct faculty member in the LMU Medical Technology Program, Kenny Nicley, Brittany Cox, Breanna Felton, Dr. Bill Engle, director of the LMU Medical Technology Program and Steve Edwards, clinical supervisor of the LMU Medical Technology program.

So sure, the Class of 2011 did really good on this test, but I’m sure some of you are wondering, what is medical technology? And what do you do with a medical technology degree? A medical technology degree will prepare you for a career as a clinical laboratory scientist performing and interpreting a wide variety of tests–from simple blood glucose checks to more complex analysis necessary for diagnosing and treating pathological states.  Still not sure what I’m talking about? Think of any medical drama on TV when an attending tells a resident to run another panel or asks for pathology results or looks at a patient’s chart for a nutrient level. In the real world, those findings come from a lab which is run by medical technology graduates.

 

LMU Medical Technology Graduate and third year osteopathic medical student Souleymane Diallo.

Not all med tech grads end up in the lab. The Medical Technology Program is one program within LMU’s Division of Health Sciences and is one of many health professions programs at LMU aimed at easing the looming medical crisis in Appalachia’s medically underserved region. The curriculum of a medical technology program prepares its graduates for the rigors of post graduate medical education including medical school or physician assistant programs. The program also serves as a feeder of sorts for the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine and the LMU-DCOM Physician Assistant program. Several LMU Med Tech graduates are currently pursuing advanced degrees in both programs. For example, Souleymane Diallo, a 2009 graduate, is currently a third-year osteopathic medical student at LMU-DCOM.  While at LMU-DCOM he has picked up back-to-back student of the year awards.

 

 I have already covered the outstanding job prospects for physician assistant graduates (https://abesquare.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/degree-job-there-is-no-sure-bet-but-this-one-is-close). Medical technology graduates can expect similar opportunities. Though the shortage of trained and qualified laboratory technologists and technicians can put patients’ lives at risk just like the shortages of primary care physicians and nurses, it has not gained as much attention. In the state of Tennessee, LMU is just one of only five accredited medical technology programs. LMU Program Director Bill Engle said that lab managers in the region rely on LMU graduates to staff their labs and that graduates have as many as six job offers before and immediately following graduation.

Did I mention that LMU has an excellent Medical Technology Program?