“I think one of the most amazing strengths here at Tufts is we have so many highly skilled experts—and that includes our veterinary technicians who make this place run,” says Deborah Linder, V09, a research assistant professor and the director of faculty continuing education at the Cummings School.
“Vet techs are on the front lines. They're the ones who are putting hands on the patient many, many, many times a day,” adds Mike Santasieri, the vet tech development coordinator. “They're monitoring the patient's status. They're the eyes and ears for the clinicians. And so it's really important that we make sure that they have the education and the training that they need to be good advocates for our patients.”
Enter a lecture series that’s a win-win for vet techs at Cummings School and the communities they support.
For Technicians by Technicians (4TBT) is a speaker series given by vet techs for fellow vet techs. With roughly 100 technicians working for Cummings School’s hospitals and programs, the amount of knowledge this vital group brings to the school is vast and varied. 4TBT is chance for techs to share their specialties, connect off the clinic floor, and gain professional credits.
Linder and Santasieri worked with the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association to ensure 4TBT meets their guidelines, so that any tech who attends a lecture in person or completes an online quiz after attending virtually will receive a continuing education credit, if they need it. Most techs require at least 12 credits per year to renew their certification; 4TBT provides 18 to 24 free lectures per year—open to any staff members who wish to attend, like veterinary assistants or animal care attendants, many of whom often go on to vet tech roles.
For those techs who want to step into the spotlight, 4TBT is their chance. “Whether it’s their first time or they have a ton of experience, we try to make it as unintimidating as possible,” says Santasieri. “It’s a low-key way to break into the lecture circuit.” He also hopes the new stipend for speakers will encourage more techs to take the mic.
4TBT was an in-person series when it began in 2017. With the advent of Zoom and online recordings, folks from all corners of Cummings School are now able to attend, unbound by location or schedule.
From the basics of current literature on spay and neuter practices to in-depth specialties, such as dialysis modalities, 4TBT content runs the gamut, and breaks specialists out of their silos. Linder says she’s always learning something new from our techs.
Santasieri, who’s spent 15 years in patient care, adds: “Coordinating this program feels like it’s sort of my way of giving back to the professions and providing the support our technicians need to grow.”
Do you have a passion for taking care of pets and the people who love them? Are you looking for a collaborative work environment where you can learn, teach, and grow? Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is hiring Veterinary Technicians for our Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University and our Large Animal Hospital. Our team of professionals works hard and smiles more. Join us. Learn more and apply.