Veterinary technicians: You need a nerd book

Veterinary technicians: You need a nerd book

Do you ever feel like you could use a second brain to store all of the things you’re supposed to remember? The nerd book is kinda like that. Here’s how to make one.

As a veterinary technician, you’ve probably already embraced the fact that you’re a nerd (we mean that in the best possible way). And because you’re a nerd, we think there’s something else you should embrace: the nerd book.

We learned about the nerd book (which is basically a portable cheat sheet for day-to-day veterinary technician life) from Julie Carlson, CVT, a veterinary assisting instructor, nerdy technician and the founder of Vets for Vets’ Pets, a nonprofit that provides supplies and medical care to the pets of homeless and at-risk veterans. Her lab teacher tasked her with making a nerd book while in vet tech school, and she hasn’t been without it since.

Carlson’s nerd book is a binder that's slightly larger than the size of an index card. Why so small? All the better to fit in your scrub pocket, she says. The mini binder is home to a stack of index cards that Carlson has loaded with all of the information she needs to have at the ready but can’t always remember off the top of her head. Her nerd book is divided into 15 different sections and includes everything from internal and external parasites to microbiology procedures and hematology parameters for multiple species.

“It’s impossible to keep everything in our heads all the time, so my nerd book has really proven to be invaluable,” Carlson says.

If nerd book creation wasn’t a part of your schooling, and if you’d like a nerd book but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. We’ve partnered with Carlson to start a series in which we’ll offer free, downloadable PDFs you can use to put your own nerd book together.

We’re starting with the cover and the external parasites section, as well as some blank notes pages. Click on the links below to download your copies. (Note: Be sure to change your print settings to "Actual size" before printing. If you don't, the pages won't be the correct size.)

COVER + EXTERNAL PARASITES SECTION

NOTES PAGES

Supplies:

  • 2-ring mini notebook: The nerd book pages are 3 in by 5 in (the same size as your average notecard), so look for a notebook that can accommodate this size. We ordered this one off of Amazon. It's under $7 and works perfectly.

  • Scissors: The nerd book pages print four per page, so you'll need to do some snipping to get them down to size.

  • Single hole punch: Each nerd book page has spots for you to punch out two holes so it can fit in your binder.

  • Optional: You may want to print your nerd book pages on something a bit thicker than your typical printing paper. Card stock is easy to use and should hold up better to everyday wear and tear.

A couple more tips before you get started:

  • You’ll want to tailor your nerd book to your geographical region, so use the empty notes pages to add any information you need that isn’t already included. (For example, if you live in an area with a high incidence of heartworm infection, you may need to add more information.)

  • Separate the different sections with tabs to make accessing information much easier and quicker. 

Stay tuned as we release more nerd book chapters in the not-so-distant future. Next up: internal parasites!