Pender Veterinary Centre

Veterinary Assistant

May 2019 • Fairfax, VA

What I liked

Pender is a phenomenal place to learn about veterinary medicine, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work and learn there. It's huge practice, and the vast majority of the other assistants and technicians are friendly, vibrant, and eager to help one another. Likewise, most of the doctors are friendly and happy to explain what they are doing. Since Pender sees both appointments and emergencies and cats/dogs as well as exotics, the caseload is huge, and you will be exposed to a wide variety of illness, injuries, and treatment plans. DVMs and technicians treat their animals and clients with tremendous care, attention to detail, and respect.

What I wish was different

I understand that they are working on improving it, but like many vet hospitals, Pender's training program for new staff could be improved. New assistants are paired with current ones, and although these people are typically friendly and eager to help, they have not been explicitly trained to teach. As a result, most training comes from doctors and technicians correcting you, and it feels a bit like "trial by fire" at times. As a result, there seems to be a high turnover rate.


If you have never worked in a vet hospital before, watch some YouTube videos/read some books on proper pet restraint---and even practice on your animals at home if they'll let you! Safe restraint is integral to the job and perhaps the hardest to learn in the moment. When you're actually at work, find the friendly people and ask questions (at appropriate times, of course -- never interrupt clients or doctors!). Always carry a pen, Sharpie marker, small notebook, pair of bandage scissors, and pair of kitty nail trimmers.
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