“Your Trusted Partner in Lifelong Care”
It was 25 years ago that the U.S. Congress voted to declare the third week of October, National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW). With this act Veterinary Technicians, the preeminent pet nurses working in the treatment area of the veterinary hospital, were celebrated for the tireless work they perform as advocates for animals and caretakers for hospitalized pets.
The week-long celebration, with sponsorship from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Partners for Healthy Pets, and the Ontario (Canada) Association of Veterinary Technicians, seeks to elevate public awareness of the importance of the veterinary nursing staff. Veterinary Technicians work throughout animal clinics and hospitals providing nursing care, patient assessment, and surgical assistance. Additionally, veterinary technicians work as radiography technicians, dental hygienists, client communicators, educators, medical laboratory technicians, and often as hospital and practice managers. This year’s theme for NVTW is: “Your Trusted Partner in Lifelong Care;’ as advocates for pet health Veterinary Technicians believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“The Credentialed Veterinary Technician is so much more than an assistant to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.” said Dennis Lopez, M.Ed., LVT, and a Committee Chair of NAVTA. “The public is often uninformed about the importance of the veterinary nursing staff behind the scenes, working long shifts in the treatment rooms of animal clinics and hospitals. Our view at NAVTA is that the Veterinary Technician is an extension of the Doctor, performing many critical nursing tasks in support of patient care.” Following a series of legislative changes culminating in 2010, credentialed veterinary technicians (Certified, Registered, or Licensed), are now required to graduate with a minimum of a two-year Associate Degree, perform many hours of clinical externship, and pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) before being allowed to practice. “Credentialed technicians really are the equivalent of a human Registered Nurse,” stated Lopez. “They go through a science heavy education, learn and experience a wide variety of skills, and then have to pass a very difficult national board exam. However, unlike human medical professionals, the Veterinary Technician must learn the anatomy, disease process, patient care, and nursing skills to practice on 20-30 species. The education and ability to practice is very rigorous.” Most states require the Credentialed Veterinary Technician to maintain continuing education hours and to stay on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine.
National Veterinary Technician Week celebrates these hard-working individuals with activities at educational and college programs, state Veterinary Technician Associations, and at local and national conferences. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America is a nonprofit organization that represents and promotes the profession of Veterinary Technology. NAVTA provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members. Incorporated in 1981, NAVTA is the national organization devoted exclusively to developing and enhancing the profession of veterinary technology. For more information about NAVTA, visit their website at www.navta.net.