VOLUNTEER INFORMATION:
VETERINARY TECHNICIANS AND ASSISTANTS

Volunteer veterinary technicians and assistants are essential to the success of the HSVMA-RAVS program. We depend on the many knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who generously contribute their time and expertise. We literally could not do it without your support.

As a volunteer veterinary technician or assistant you will work with HSVMA-RAVS staff and student volunteers in providing quality care to our animal patients and their families. Depending on your interests and experience, technicians are most frequently asked to assist with anesthesia and recovery, but may rotate through other areas of the clinic as well and your experience may include work in humane education, receiving and examinations, triage or critical care. There are opportunities for technicians and assistants of all backgrounds and experience levels.

THE HSVMA-RAVS EXPERIENCE
There are many compelling reasons for veterinary technicians to participate in RAVS field clinics. For many, the opportunity to care for some of the neediest of patients and to alleviate suffering in animals who would otherwise go untreated is what draws them to the program. For others, teaching is their favorite part and the chance to share their skills and knowledge with students and other volunteers is extremely rewarding. There is also the chance to learn new and different techniques while working with dedicated professionals from all over the country. Certainly the chance to travel and interact with people and animals in “out of the way” places is also an attraction. If you haven’t experienced life on a reservation, seen the wide prairies of the Dakotas, or high desert of northern Arizona, HSVMA-RAVS is a great way to go there with a purpose.

Of course, working on a HSVMA-RAVS trip will not be a restful vacation. The days start very early and often end late. Sixteen hour work days are not uncommon. Accomodations generally consist of such luxuries as camping out on the floor of a high school gym, often without the benefit of hot water or showers. There are often long travel times and meals can be sporadic.

All that said, living and working as part of a team of dedicated volunteers to provide care for the neediest of animals and their families can be an amazing opportunity and a life-changing experience. In many ways the physical hardships adds to the shared challenge of the trip and a sense of camaraderie. Adventure and humor are definitely two very important “senses” in a HSVMA-RAVS experience.

HSVMA-RAVS TRAINING CURRICULUM
The RAVS website contains a fairly detailed discussion of what is expected of all volunteers and the protocols used in the field. Our medical, surgical, and anesthesia protocols are pretty “main stream”, but if there is something you have questions about or disagree with, you are strongly encouraged to contact us ahead of your scheduled trip. Our equipment and supplies are dictated by the areas we serve and ease of transport therefore they may not reflect the options available at your own clinic. Because of our high case load, the limited time for each clinic and our policy of providing the best and most consistent care possible it is important that all volunteers are familiar with HSVMA-RAVS protocols before the start of a trip. For these reasons we ask that all volunteers spend the time to read the website and volunteer training materials and take a brief training evaluation before coming on a HSVMA-RAVS clinic.

For volunteers who are motivated and prepared, the field clinic can provide an opportunity for significant responsibility. Many technicians find that their technical skills and judgment are utilized more in the field than in most other settings. Although participating in a RAVS field clinic can be extremely challenging, this amazing opportunity can be a life-changing experience. The support and hard work of volunteer veterinary technicians and assistants is crucial to the success of our field programs. I hope you will consider joining us!

Windi Wojdak, RVT
Director, HSVMA-RAVS
(wwojdak@hsvma.org)

CONTINUING EDUCATION
Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are now eligible to receive RACE approved continuing education credit for their experience in HSVMA-RAVS field clinics.

Click here for more information.

HOW TO APPLY
Before applying to participate in a RAVS field clinic, please be sure to review ALL of the materials in the Volunteer Information section of the website. Also review the specific Trip Details for any clinic you are planning to apply for. There is a lot of information here, but it is all important. The Volunteer Checklist provides a very brief overview of the application process and pre-trip volunteer responsibilities. If you have any question regarding expectations or requirements, please contact us in advance for clarfication.

Thank you for your interest in HSVMA-RAVS volunteer programs. We look forward to working with you!

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