The first time she visited Raleigh in 2005, Jeannie Losey couldn’t help noticing a sign she passed at the first highway exit: “Vet School.”
“I pointed to the sign and said I want to work there,” she says.
Thirteen years later Losey is going strong at the NC State Veterinary Hospital as a dentistry clinical technician. It helped that she was already an experienced veterinary technician when she moved from California. Losey began her career with the hospital’s soft tissue service and moved to dentistry in 2007. This year, she’s celebrating serving as a vet tech for two decades.
What is your typical day like?
I wouldn’t say any day is typical, but the way we work is that we do receiving on Monday and Wednesday. That’s when we see first-time patients and do re-checks. Surgical procedures are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning at about 7:30 in the morning. A normal procedure takes 2 1/2 hours on average, but more complex cases can take from five to seven hours. Fridays are for emergencies only, plus labs for students and just catching up on administrative work.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Seeing how happy our patients are once they’ve been treated. Oral discomfort can be very subtle and owners may not even notice its effects. Things like decreased activity, playing less, eating less may not be obvious or they just attribute it to aging. Something we often hear after a patient has been treated is that they’re like a puppy again. The No. 1 thing we deal with is periodontal disease, but we do root canals, orthodontics. We do it all.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Scheduling! Trying to accommodate the most urgent cases without delaying the treatment too much for other patients is a constant daily struggle. We want to provide timely service, but the demand can be nearly overwhelming even though we have two dentists in the service.
What made you want to go into this field?
It goes back to childhood. I was a typical country kid. I grew up in a small town in northern Florida and I wanted to work with animals. I didn’t want to be a vet — I didn’t want the stress factor — and I wasn’t interested in being a human nurse. Actually, I started out wanting to be a marine biologist before I heard about vet techs and that was a deal-clincher. I wanted to have the hands-on experience of working with the animals.
What is your most memorable professional experience?
Having the opportunity to work in academia; working with the students while they’re in training. And working with the other services and the variety of patients we see. It’s not just dogs and cats. We can see large animals, aquatic animals other exotic animals — it’s quite a variety. It really keeps things interesting and fun.
This is the second in a series of NC State veterinary technician profiles that will run throughout the week in celebration of National Veterinary Technician Week.