Veterinary Career Success in 2024; Advancing pet euthanasia skills

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 “Euthanasia is considered one of the most common procedures in veterinary medicine,” states Dr. Kathy Cooney, founder of the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA).

You may be surprised to learn that euthanasia falls within the top 5 services a veterinary professional delivers in their practice. Oddly enough, formally trained veterinary professionals receive little education in the service, let alone in making it a gentle, compassionate experience for the patient and client. (1)

Does this compel you to advance your career and knowledge in the art of euthanasia? Perhaps you know of a colleague who will benefit from more education and advanced training? You are encouraged to share this blog with your team because it is time for elevated euthanasia experiences to be on everyone’s radar! 

Setting Career Goals in 2024

As you set your sites on the year ahead, remember to include your career goals:

  1. Discuss your ideas with your supervisor and get support
  2. Fill out a Veterinary Professional Career Road Map to track your path 
  3. Attend continuing education aligned with your goal
  4. Celebrate your achievements (too often this part of goal setting is forgotten!)
  5. Share your new knowledge and skills with your team, to elevate the patient and client experience

Advanced Skills in Pet Euthanasia

As you read the introduction about euthanasia being a top service delivered by veterinary professionals, how did that make you feel? Have you considered best practices and how the service can be enhanced to better support the pet, client, and the veterinary team? 

A goal in career advancement should be Specific (title in your SMART Goal within the Career Road Map) to Elevating Best Practices in Pet Euthanasia encompassing:

  • A comfortable, safe setting for pet patient and client
  • The time for a peaceful euthanasia 
  • Grief support for the client and family during a time of loss
  • A conversation about aftercare and payment before the appointment
  • The pet and family remaining together the entire time of the euthanasia appointment
  • Pre-sedation and/or level of anesthesia
  • Considerations in memorialization

Continuing Education Goal Example

As an example, let’s consider Teresa, a seasoned RVT whose 2024 goal is to become the veterinary clinic’s end-of-life champion (another Specific title for the Career Road Map). She is passionate about helping pets through their final life transition and assisting the family through their grief.

Teresa discusses her career goals with her manager, and together they form a continuing educational plan and determine the support she will receive from the clinic. Her manager agrees to give Teresa time off for advanced training. Financially, she has a CE allowance and a professional merit allowance totaling $500. 

She finds the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA) website and feels the organization’s mission meets her needs. Teresa has enough CE allowance to pay for CAETA’s online courses.

The 10-hour CAETA Peaceful Euthanasia Master Program covers topics in:

  • Client communication during euthanasia
  • Physiology and pharmacology of euthanasia drugs
  • Case studies
  • Euthanasia technique training
  • Aftercare considerations

Finally, she has negotiated with her manager a wage increase once she completes the CAETA certification course and will be using the CAETA Peaceful Euthanasia Training Manual for procedures. Bonus! Teresa is on her way to fulfilling her goal, offering a gentler experience to the clinic’s clients, improving patient care, and elevating the team. She’s got a great plan!

Benefits of Advanced Euthanasia Training 

Here are possible benefits a veterinary professional may define when filling out the Career Road Map. 

  • Benefit to the pet – receiving a pain-free, gentle euthanasia experience
  • Benefit to the pet owner – receiving compassionate care during end-of-life conversations and the ability to be with the pet during the service with grief support before, during, and after the pet passes
  • Benefit to the veterinary practice – knowing the end-of-life service supports the veterinary team in gracefully performing all aspects of care for the pet and client, pain-free, gentle, continuing to build upon the human-animal bond and relationship, and retaining valuable team members
  • Benefit to the veterinary professional once achieved – supporting career advancement, growing skills in best practices with compassion, non-judgement, and techniques, decreasing burnout and compassion fatigue, receiving tools in self-regulating and coping by delivering pet euthanasia with clients present, and certification as a professional in peaceful euthanasia.

Celebrate Accomplishment

Remember, part of setting a goal is to celebrate your success in elevating the euthanasia experience at your practice. You could highlight the team member who achieved the goal on your website, throw an ice cream social with the team, or hang a completion certificate on the wall in a prominent location in your clinic.

As a gift to you for advancing your career, receive a discount coupon for $30.00 when you register to take CAETA’s Peaceful Euthanasia online program.  

Readers who experience pushback in establishing a gentler euthanasia experience within your practice, you are not alone. You may find a few ideas and support in Evangelizing New Euthanasia Protocols to Coworkers. 

We wish you continued success in your veterinary career. Please reach out to us at  [email protected] if you need additional information. We are always happy to answer your questions!

References

  1. Cooney, Kathleen, George E Dickinson, and Heath Hoffmann. “Euthanasia Education in Veterinary Schools in the United States.” Journal of veterinary medical education 48.6 (2021): 706–709. Web.

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Rebecca Rose, RVT

Rebecca Rose, RVT, is a credentialed leader in the veterinary community with experience managing clinics, collaborating with industry partners, authoring articles and books, and facilitating engaging team workshops. The former NAVTA president's enthusiasm for professional development in veterinary medicine is contagious. She encourages and supports veterinary teams in reaching their highest potential to maintain a healthy, sustainable life and career.