What Moves You?
Column | Opinion
What Moves You?, Consistent Change, by Karen Ellis

Consistent Change

Veterinary technicians are the heart of veterinary medicine. We are passionate and dedicated, and we each have a story to tell. Today’s Veterinary Technician wants to hear yours!

What drives you? What inspires you? What moves you?

Send us your story at TVTech_submissions@NAVC.com

Submissions should be approximately 500 words or less and may be posted on our website or edited for publication in the journal.

Tell us your story!


Karen Ellis, LVT, VTS (Surgery)
Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists
Houston, Texas

Most every person working in the veterinary community has a similar reason for starting a career with animals. We each have a passion for helping animals.

But what drives us through our career? What keeps us in it when it gets tough? What drives some people through it all?

I struggled to think of what has consistently driven me through my career. So many things are different, and so many things have happened that I didn’t expect. Just when I thought things would be one way, something changed.

Change. Could that be it? Does change move and drive me?

As I think back, every driving force that has affected my veterinary career has been related to change—whether I spurred the change or change happened and I had to adjust paths. Either my cheese was moved or I chose to move my own cheese.

Summer 2003. Graduation. I didn’t get offered the pay I thought I needed to live on my own. So I moved to Houston and took a position at a specialty practice. This put me on a completely different path than I would have been if I’d stayed at home.

I left my current practice for a while because of another move when I was getting married. I was unhappy at work and was considering changing careers because of limited options where I lived. Instead, I chose to go back to work where I was happy (70 miles each way), and we moved back 6 months later.

There were times when I thought I wasn’t getting recognized for my skills and I wanted to do more. I thought someone else would recognize my skills. I was a quiet person, but I had to change. I had to learn to advocate for myself. I learned how to ask for things I wanted.

I heard murmurs of a specialty geared for me: surgery. Huge game changer! Nothing changes your perspective on your career more than learning more. Learning and change drive each other. The energy that this type of learning brings a technician is life altering.

Things at my work started changing. Some practice owners had changed. New CEO. A new hospital was being built in another city. An opportunity to learn leadership skills in a temporary role presented itself, and my path took another turn. This single turn has lead to so many other changes. Even ones that seemed negative at first have greatly influenced my current role.

Several years later, and now I am in a role—Surgery Technical Staff Supervisor—that I thought would take most of my career to achieve. My hospital is in a state of rapid change and growth due to mergers. More opportunities might become available. I just have to be ready and willing to change, learn, and grow.

Fall 2016. I just applied to a university to finish my bachelor’s degree. Time will only tell how that change will drive my career.

Change doesn’t have mean constantly changing jobs. Change is personal. It can happen within you. It can drive you.