VTS: Internal Medicine Vs. Clinical Practice
Posted: May 13, 2010
05/05/2010 - The Rat (or Hamster) Race
04/29/2010 - Discovering Needs
04/22/2010 - Pavlov’s Dogs: The Untold Story & Lessons Learned
For those of you who have been reading this blog o’ mine, you may recall that I addressed the topic of the newest Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) of Clinical Practice. At the time I will admit that I was naïve, and to stimulate the conversation I threw out my first perception of this new VTS in clinical practice. Since the appearance of that blog, I have learned a bit more about why a VTS in clinical practice is needed in our profession.
The internal medicine (IM) VTS includes five subspecialties, but in each one a candidate must be competent in a rather specific and lengthy list of skills and knowledge. Potential VTS candidates working in veterinary practices may not fit the rather narrow definition of each IM category, but instead must be experts in many other broad areas. While they may have advanced skills and knowledge in IM, they also may have advanced skills and knowledge in other areas such as dentistry, anesthesia, surgery, radiology, laboratory and diagnostic testing, client counseling, behavior counseling, and perhaps others. This is reflected also in the definition in Stedman’s Medical Dictionary which states that clinical medicine is “the study and practice of medicine in relation to the care of patients; the art of medicine as distinguished from laboratory science.”
The clinician who practices clinical medicine is defined as “a health professional engaged in the care of patients, as distinguished from one working in other areas.” Any guideline that envelopes clinical practice is defined as “a formal statement about a defined task or function in clinical practice, such as desirable diagnostic tests or the optimal treatment regiment for a specific diagnosis; generally based on the best available evidence.”
The common thread in these definitions is the concept of “care of patients.” A clinical practice technician is one who works each day to take care of his or her patients, providing optimal treatment and accurate and timely diagnostic testing. Their patients include the wide variety of pets seen in practice, from pediatric to geriatric, from healthy to well, from medical to surgical problems, and everything else in between.
Therefore the VTS in Internal Medicine would be focused on the disease process and the VTS in Clinical Practice would be focused on the umbrella of patient care. Instead of competing, they complement each other.
So, I was glad to have been shown “the light” to understand the difference between these two VTS. However the point still remains that practice owners and managers out there need to understand these VTS, as well as all types of VTS, in regards to what they can bring to the practice … and in turn, why they deserve the higher wage they may be asking for or indeed deserve. The number of new VTS Academies is growing in leaps and bounds, but those of us on the ground still need to understand the basic advantage of hiring a VTS to help our practices reach their mission. My hope is that this education will continue to the benefit of the profession, and the pets and people who love them.