Eager to learn, 250 vet techs fill upcoming conference

PHILADELPHIA – If anyone wants evidence that veterinary technicians are hungry to learn and advance in their profession, they should look to the popularity of a March 19 conference organized by Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center (VSEC).

Veterinary technicians from Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Pennsylvania.

Veterinary technicians from Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Pennsylvania.

Team members from VSEC, which has hospitals in Philadelphia and Levittown, came up with the idea for a free, day-long, educational conference exclusively for veterinary technicians. They set aside a meeting room that holds 50.

Area technicians snatched up all 50 reservations within three days, and many more asked to be put on a waiting list. So VSEC decided to move the event to a much bigger facility that holds 250. Now it’s full again, and more than a dozen people are on a waiting list.

“We are showing them that we want to assist in their education and development,” said Dr. Robert J. Orsher, a board-certified veterinary surgeon who is co-medical director of VSEC and one of its founders.

“We’ve just been completely overwhelmed by the demand,” said organizer Scott Franco, who is VSEC’s marketing manager.

Orsher said VSEC, which is affiliated with BluePearl Veterinary Partners, has long been committed to providing continuing education for primary care veterinarians and technicians.  He said it’s unusual to have an all-day, technicians-only event. But it’s entirely appropriate, considering the important role technicians play throughout the veterinary profession.

Dr. Laura W. Tseng, who is VSEC’s co-hospital director and is board-certified in emergency and critical care, agreed. “There are a lot of veterinary conferences with a veterinary technician’s track, but a free event like this is pretty rare,” she said.

The VSEC 2016 Greater Philadelphia Area Veterinary Technician Conference will feature sessions on anesthesia, pet nutrition, triage, oncology and grief management. It also will offer a roundtable discussion over lunch with three technicians who have achieved the distinction of becoming veterinary technician specialists (VTS.)

The VTS roundtable is just one part of the conference that shows how technicians can grow within the profession, Orsher said. Colleges that offer veterinary technician training also plan to be at the conference and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association will have a booth.

Orsher gave special praise to sponsors of the event, whose participation helps make it possible to keep the conference free. Sponsors include Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, Trupanion, Elanco, Stokes, Antech Diagnostics, the PVMA and Brief Media.