Like most professionals in veterinary care, Parker Stansel’s journey began with a deep love of animals from a tender young age. “I remember being absolutely curious about all kinds of animals when I was young and just having this desire to help them,” she recounted. She knew early on that she wanted to work in some capacity in the veterinary space and proactively took every opportunity that came her way to learn more and grow in the field she loved -- and to those who know Parker well, taking action, a love of learning, and desire for continuous growth sums her up in a nutshell.
At fourteen years old, Parker volunteered at her local veterinarian’s clinic as a kennel assistant. What started as a fulfillment of her required volunteer hours for the National Junior Honors Society soon became a launchpad for a fulfilling career. Learning more about animal science, watching her colleagues help animals, and interacting with pet owners fueled her love of animal care. She soon found herself spending all her free time as a teen volunteering as much as she can, so much so, that she was hired for an official position in the same clinic as soon as she turned sixteen.
Even after she moved away for college, Parker found herself working every chance she could get whenever she was at home for the weekends or holidays. As soon as she felt established away from home, she immediately sought an opportunity to work with veterinary clinics closer to campus and ultimately came back to work for the veterinary clinic where it all began soon after she graduated.
A few years later, she started working for Keller Animal Clinic and found what would be her second home. “I've been around for a little while and have built my experience over the years at several clinics but Keller is my home and it has been for quite some time. It’s a wonderful team to be a part of and I love it here,” she exclaimed.
Parker started at Keller Animal Clinic some seven years ago before it became a part of the Southern Veterinary Partners (SVP) family. Upon hearing the news of this change, Parker who has grown to love her work and work-family naturally had some reservations. “I’ve worked with a veterinary hospital before under a corporate umbrella and generally had a poor experience. It just did not line up with my values of veterinary medicine, and that was it there for me. So I was initially apprehensive when I learned that Keller was going to be a part of SVP,” she recounted.
“But to my surprise, the more I understood, witnessed, and experienced how SVP worked with local veterinary clinics like ours, I found myself truly impressed more than anything. I quickly discovered that this is not your typical big business type of venture where your identity gets overrun and you’re left to sink or swim. SVP is very much a big extended family and has always encouraged us to keep the local family feeling we are all proud of in our own clinics. They did not demand change. Instead, we are listened to and really given carte blanche for a lot of things and supported with our own specific needs and interests.”
She continued, “One of the best things in the world is when the organization you work for recognizes your strengths and helps you channel it into something actionable and useful. You are given purpose and support and are encouraged to help out the rest of the organization as a family would.”
“Don't worry, I know advocation is not a word,” Parker assured with a laugh.
Every second Wednesday of the month, Parker hosts Tech Corner via Zoom for the SVP veterinary technicians within her region. Tech Corner is an educational initiative started by Parker aimed at sharing insight and experiences among veterinary technicians so they can better educate their clients.
Client education is one of Parker’s biggest passions when it comes to animal care. So when the opportunity presented itself, she eagerly channeled her passion and energy into Tech Corner.
Asked about how this initiative took form, Parker recalled, “SVP held its annual conference known as SVP Unleashed where movers and shakers in our big national family are recognized through the WAG (Work together. Amaze. Grow) Awards. I was chosen as an award recipient for our region and got to go to the conference in February.” With a chance encounter and a watercooler conversation, Parker was approached by an SVP team member and was asked why she thought she was chosen for the recognition in her region.
“I went on about my passion for educating clients, how I love helping my fellow technicians learn, and even some funny tidbits such as how much I love trivia, facts, and language. I told her how I was already doing some training at my own clinic with our own team and she not only listened but introduced me to a member of the onboarding team so they can pick my brain on training. We all excitedly discussed some ideas on how to help newly onboarded technicians start with all the support they need.”
Parker continued, “A few months later, I was approached by our regional manager who asked me how I felt about having my own corner where I can discuss topics to help other technicians learn, especially new hires. Our SVP family has been growing so rapidly which is a good thing but with these newly acquired clinics, the most important goal is to make sure we’re all on the same page, we all feel supported, and have the same values, beliefs, and expectations from SVP and from our work as veterinary technicians. I was definitely on board!”
“In the beginning, I did a short little chat with a sister clinic of ours down the road. They were getting a new product that we have used for a while and have great owner compliance with. They wanted their veterinary technicians to be comfortable talking to the clients about it and asked if I would give my two cents. I love to talk and educate so of course, I said yes! That was kind of the "kick start" to this and a trial run on it. It went so well, I started my own corner,” she continued.
With a well-attended two sessions and great feedback so far under its belt, Tech Corner has proven to be a success. Previous topics have included “The Scoop on Poop: Fecals, Their Importance and Gaining Owner Compliance" and "Early Detection Blood Work: My Pet Needs What?"
To Parker, it all goes back to making sure veterinary technicians understand on a deeper level what they are talking to pet owners about and ultimately making sure they are communicating it effectively so that the pet owners understand the care that their pets need, or are receiving and that they know the value of the actions they need to take next.
“Having been in the field for so long, I’ve learned that one of the main challenges is client education and communicating effectively with pet owners. A lot of us go into this profession because we get into the science of it all and we want to advocate for pets but sometimes what is overlooked is the human interaction that is often the key to really making sure pets get the care they need. Educating technicians to enable them to educate clients is ultimately advocating for the pet and that's our top goal,” she explained.
Given the chance and a platform, Parker would like to extend these sessions to all SVP clinics. Future topics being planned for the next sessions include “Discussing Vaccines and Their Protocols”, Common Diseases we May See”, and “Heartworm and Flea/Tick Prevention.”
Parker Stansel is a Lead Technician for Keller Animal Clinic in North Texas. With over 15 years in the veterinary field, a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism, and a passion for learning, she spearheaded Tech Corner, a veterinary technician learning meetup for SVP. Parker resides in Denton with the absolute loves of her life -- her husband Jared, her son Emerson, her daughter Linden, her thirteen-year-old Shih Tzu named Papi, and she recently adopted pet fish. An avid naturalist and stargazer, she enjoys camping, backpacking, and anything to do with the outdoors. If not outside, she can be found museum hopping, reading, or road tripping with the family. To learn more about Parker or the Keller Animal Clinic visit www.kelleranimalclinic.com.