SINGAPORE – Many veterinarians and technicians are also calling for their profession to be regulated so that standards can be raised.
There are approximately 1,000 to 1,500 veterinary nurses and technicians in Singapore, including those who work in the wildlife sector, research facilities and equine facilities, said Ms. Evonne Yong, a member of the Singapore Veterinary Nurses and Technicians Chapter (SVNTC) of the Singapore Veterinary Association last month founded.
The profession is not regulated here, added the 35-year-old, the senior veterinary nurse at The Animal Clinic.
On the one hand, the profession does not have a fixed minimum qualification. Some veterinary nurses will be hired and trained while others have degrees in veterinary science from polytechnics, said Ms. Alison Wah, 30, co-chair of the team that formed the SVNTC.
Some will enroll for courses after a few years, added Ms. Wah, who is also a senior vet technician at Hillside Veterinary Surgery.
While there is no set salary for veterinarians, they generally make between $ 1,800 and nearly $ 3,000, Ms. Yong said.
The sector is also struggling with a high turnover rate caused by long hours, lack of career development and sometimes abusive pet owners.
“On average, some nurses work about a year and a half to two years before moving to other jobs that may have better career advancement,” noted Ms. Wah.
Dr. Goh Lay Beng, director of Temasek Polytechnic School of Applied Science, noted that only 10 to 20 percent of their undergraduate students who graduate after graduation in veterinary technology will hold onto veterinary degrees.
The ability for veterinary technicians to specialize and take on specialist roles in areas like emergency care or anesthesia could encourage more encouragement to stay in the profession and improve, said Shabrina Zulkifli, 27, a senior veterinary technician at Vetpal and an SVNTC member.
Ms. Yong said, “It is necessary to recognize and respect our profession. Everyone knows veterinarians, but they did not recognize us, who are very helpful and supportive to the veterinarians.”