This month I am very happy to feature Rexann Morrison, a large animal (equine) vet tech. Thank you Rexann for sharing your story with us!
Rexann did on the job training first as an assistant with Dr. Janet Arlitt in Georgetown,TX beginning when she was 19. Then she loved it so much, she found an amazing program at Murray State College in Tishomingo,OK and enrolled and moved to OK to go to school very soon after. She has been a veterinary assistant since 1997 and a Licensed Veterinary Technician since 2006.
VTP: How has your experience as a vet tech evolved into what it is today?
RM: I have always been an equine veterinary technician. I have been employed with several equine practitioners in Texas and Oklahoma but the most predominant ones would be Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford,TX (first job out of college and first position as a Registered Veterinary Technician). I spent 3 years with Reata Equine as the primary technician for Dr. Cal Davis and my focus became foals, internal medicine, anesthesia and preventative health with him.
I then moved to Oklahoma when I became married and sort of “freelanced” for some time and was hired on an as needed basis with a handful of equine vets such as Dr. Dustin Dorris in Stephenville, TX, Dr. David White in Purcell, OK and Dr. Gerald Radde in Marietta,OK.
Then I became employed full time again for 1 year with Performance Equine Associates, Dr. Lane Easter as one of 2 people on their anesthesia team. I predominantly performed equine anesthesia there but also aided quite a bit with radiographs and some lameness.
I left PEA to have my son and then was contacted by a fellow RVT, Ky Carter with Asteris(www.Asteris.biz) and was offered a position managing the radiograph repository at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City (www.heritageplace.com), a one of a kind race horse sale facility. I have been employed with them managing all of the radiographs for their sales for 4 years now. The position with them has opened many doors for me and I am now the radiograph repository manager for The Ruidoso Horse Sale company in Ruidoso, NM (http://www.
Its a wonderful and unique position to be able to do along with these exceptional Quarter Horse sales in different areas of the country! I interact with many different equine veterinarians on a daily basis operating these repositories and it keeps me in the equine veterinary “loop”. It also gives me the opportunity to see a lot of the highest quality American Quarter horses in the country sell and view LOTS of Radiographs! (All of which are digital and available for viewing online through our program, Asteris provides) Pretty cool stuff!
VTP: What is something you have learned during your journey in this field?
RM: I saw many interesting cases a vet tech in practice. But I think I learned most to never quit feeling emotional about your patients and their owners..never quit choking up and getting that “lump in your throat” when you have to put one to sleep and never quit caring for each and every one that walks through that door because that's what makes you as an individual a better technician.
That's the tech that the owners can relate with and have a relationship with; that's the reason we start doing this originally, right? Remember your patients names and remember their owners faces. (If you can’t remember their names, remember their face! I always remember a horse's name before an owner..oops.) But, it means something special to pay attention and care about those “little” things unique to each and every one.
VTP: How do you cope with job-related stress?
RM: Hobbies would be hanging with my little boy, Brock, and also Team roping! I love to rope! And goal for 2017 is to show a cow horse in the Stock horse association in preparation for long term goal of showing in the National Reined Cow Horse Association. (If you don't know, a working cow horse is a type of competition where horses are asked to work a single cow in the arena, performing specific maneuvers such as circling the cow, turning it in a specified manner, and performing a reining pattern.)
VTP: Any words of wisdom for those preparing to be a vet tech or are considering this as a future job?
RM: My advice to young people looking to go into the veterinary profession is to connect with Veterinary technicians that have been doing this for some time and get a friendship going with them as they can guide and help you through school and through the first years of this journey. They give you encouragement and can answer tough questions about school or starting salary or benefits or just tough cases you haven’t seen before! Be a part of your technician organizations!
Go to CE meetings that interest and inspire you. Don’t just go to a meeting to get your hours…go to one that will “grow” you. And even when your tired, work those extra hours and on call shifts because you will learn so much from those extra cases that maybe come in on emergency or after hours. Go the extra mile! Stretch yourself and find a passion in this profession that inspires you..for example mine was anesthesia and it made me very valuable to those practices!
And always take time to help younger techs or co workers...you do have the time.