BluePearl Associates are ‘leveling up’ using the industry’s largest electronic career pathing system, CareerTrax
In celebration of National Veterinary Technician Week, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital is sharing various Associate stories to showcase the critical roles they play in the day-to-day function of veterinary hospitals and their commitment to providing compassionate, high quality veterinary care for all animals. By sharing these stories, BluePearl also highlights how investments in career pathways for veterinary professionals – including the development of more structured career pathing platforms like CareerTrax – can enhance Associate livelihoods and uplift hospital teams.
Moving up instead of moving on
According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals hold an average of 11.3 jobs between the ages of 18 and 46 years old. While this may be surprising to older generations who grew up accustomed to people beginning and ending a career at the same company, most people today will take on many different jobs in their life-time, often viewing ‘job-hopping’ as the best option for advancement.
To help retain top talent and counteract the ‘job-hopping’ trend, many organizations are investing inward, launching professional development tools that help employees map out clear career paths, offering not only jobs, but life-long careers. One such tool is CareerTrax, the veterinary industry’s largest electronic career pathing platform which benefits over 5,000 BluePearl assistants, technicians, paraprofessionals, and other support team members nationwide. Alongside a first-of-its-kind leveling and compensation structure, the novel tool enables greater transparency into available opportunities and the skills and knowledge needed to advance within the company.
Launched this past July, 1,000 Associates have already taken advantage of advancement opportunities through CareerTrax – either having “leveled up” or are on their way to advancing to a new role. By sharing these commendable Associate stories, BluePearl honors each of their unique contributions and commitment to providing optimal pet care, while bringing awareness to the vast career opportunities that exist in the fast-growing field of veterinary medicine.
Leveling up as a veterinary professional
Meet Abbey Ace, LVT, CVT, BluePearl Pet Hospital Spring, TX – Oncology
“I started working with animals at a young age. When I was 16, I worked at a pet boarding facility, which eventually brought me to a doggy daycare at a vet clinic. I then moved to reception, then veterinary assistant, and finally a technician. I have leveled up once since being at BluePearl, and am working on doing it again this fall. The next step is going for my VTS in oncology,” said Abbey. “I came to BluePearl from University of WI. At the UW I was considered a ‘Tech 2’ so, when I came down [to BluePearl], I had to start over at an assistant position until I got certified in Texas. Technically, I have leveled up twice already! Now working on my third, then VTS.”
Meet Sam Bacon, CVT, BluePearl Pet Hospital, Conshohocken, PA (VSEC)
“BluePearl helped me advance my knowledge and skills quickly and in so many ways! When I started in 2017 as a Level 1 technician, I had mostly general practice experience,” explained Sam. “The hospital had just opened its doors, and I was on the overnight shift as the only nurse with one doctor. This gave me the chance to work one-on-one with the doctor and comprehensively learn about emergency medicine and critical care. I was able to build up my knowledge and technical skills very quickly. BluePearl also sponsored a trip to IVECCS for me in 2018; this conference was the best CE experience a learning veterinary nurse could ask for. I have taken that new knowledge and continued to build on it, working closely with our criticalists and anesthesiologists to become to best nurse I can be. I am currently a Level 3 and am sitting for the Level 4 exam in the fall testing window. I am also considering returning to school to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Science and applying for a VTS in emergency and critical care.”
Meet Emily Champion – Advanced Patient Care Associate, Emergency and Critical Care, BluePearl Pet Hospital Sandy Springs, GA
“Veterinary medicine gives me the opportunity to surround myself with other people’s four-legged family members and use my love of science and medicine to help them at their most difficult moments,” said Emily. “I have recently completed an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology to become eligible to sit the VTNE this fall. I have also taken apart of seminars and courses focused on CPR and ventilation to continue to advance my knowledge to be a better veterinary nurse for my critical patients. BluePearl assisted me in completing the Penn Foster program as a step to becoming licensed.”
Meet Simone Conwell, RVT, LVMT, BluePearl Pet Hospital Rockville, MD, Member of VECCS, the MDVTA, NAVTA, an Elite Fear Free Certified Professional, and a RECOVER Certified Instructor in BLS/ALS
“I’m in the process of working on getting my VTS in emergency and critical care. I plan to apply for the 2023 exam, so currently I’m working on mastering all the skills for it. I became a RECOVER instructor to advance within my position as a critical care technician,” Simone explained. “BluePearl has given me more opportunities to network with people who are already a VTS as well as providing a generous CE stipend that is making it possible for me to meet the CE requirements and talk to people who have been through the process and are willing to guide me. The doctors I work with, coworkers, and managers have also been very supportive since I stated my intentions and sometimes that kind of support is more important than the monetary aspects.”
Meet Amanda Ghirghi, CVT (FVTA), Veterinary Technician, BluePearl Pet Hospital Clearwater, FL
“When I started at Bluepearl, I was unlicensed and working as what is now known as an APCA 1. It’s been just over 2 years and I have leveled once, as well as completed my AS in Veterinary Technology at St. Petersburg College and passed my VTNE to become a Certified Veterinary Technician, ” said Amanda. “The new leveling system made it feel much more accessible to achieve a level up and made me realize just how much I had grown as a technician.”
Meet Milad Heydarlou, RVT – BluePearl Pet Hospital Irvine, CA – Surgery Department
“I started my career with no experience. I fell in love with surgery and anesthesia and have advanced through self teaching and CE’s,” Milad said. “I feel that BluePearl has provided support and encouragement towards advancement. They have online CE’s available as well as BluePearl University. I have always felt positive encouragement from hospital management.”
Meet Amanda Inman, CVT, BluePearl Pet Hospital, Clearwater, FL
“I grew up knowing that I wanted to help animals. Even as a young child everyone in my family could tell you veterinary medicine is all I ever wanted to do, ” explained Amanda. “Over the last couple of years, I finished school and became a CVT. BluePearl made I possible for me to complete my CVT through the Penn Foster program. Practicing veterinary medicine is a continuous learning process; there is always something new to learn and I really enjoy discovering new and better ways to help animals.”
Meet Despina Najarian, MS, CVT, BluePearl Pet Hospital, Waltham, MA
“There are many opportunities for growth and many different paths you can take in the field. I ended up loving internal medicine because this specialty is like trying to find the last piece of the puzzle within a patient’s health, ” said Despina. “I recently leveled up to a ‘VT4’ within the internal medicine department. This involved getting signed off on a list of skills and then taking a comprehensive exam. I had applied for my VTS in SAIM last year, but my application got denied. I have decided to reapply again because it is a lifetime goal of mine,” added Despina. “I always have the help of my two internists, criticalists, and anesthesiologist to teach me something new. These people played a crucial role in my VTS application and continue to help me become a better technician. The new leveling up process has also made me want to level up even more and challenged me to master the skills that were on the list. I think it encourages others to do the same.”
Meet Christine Smith, RVT, Veterinary Technician Trainer, BluePearl Pet Hospital, Irvine, CA
“I have been a veterinary technician for about 16 years. Thirteen of those years were spent at my current hospital in the surgery/anesthesia department. Anesthesia and analgesia are my absolute passion! I’m always looking to practice top quality medicine and find new and innovative ways to make our patients stable and comfortable and get them back home with their owners as soon as possible,” Christine said. “I recently transitioned into the technician training position. I’m currently working on becoming Fear Free Certified. I then plan to pursue my VTS in anesthesia,” she added. “With BluePearl, I have access to countless free CE credits, a CE budget, and travel time. I was also able to become RECOVER certified in basic and advanced life support at no cost to me. I was recently promoted to Veterinary Technician Trainer and one of my favorite parts of this current roll is helping other Associates advance in their own careers. There are so many opportunities that veterinary technicians can pursue. I love that I can help inspire them to think of their employment as more than just a job, but as a career.”
Meet Ashley Streur, LVT, Veterinary Technician Supervisor, BluePearl Pet Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI, (ER/ICU Day Shift Supervisor)
BluePearl has been an amazing support for growth throughout my entire time here. They provided affordable schooling to obtain my license. They have also created a leveling platform that allows me to both advance my skills and prepares me for my VTS program,” said Ashley. “I started shadowing at BluePearl four years ago in preparation for my veterinary school applications. Since then, I have gotten my license and advanced to a Level 3 LVT. I love that I am able to support the ER staff as a supervisor while also still being able to be hands on with patients and work on the floor,” she added. “I plan on getting my VTS in emergency and critical care.”
At BluePearl, we know that efficient use of technicians drives practice efficiency and wellbeing—for everyone in the hospital. We value veterinary technicians, assistants, and paraprofessionals each and every day of the year and thank them for all they do.
Learn more about career opportunities at BluePearl here.
Read this editorial from BluePearl’s Vice President of People & Organization, Angela Calderone: Empowering Your People Through Sustainable Careers
Read this editorial from BluePearl’s Vice President of People & Organization, Angela Calderone, & Chief Medical Officer, Dr. James Barr: Cultivating an Equipped Veterinary Professional and Hospital Team