What licensed Veterinary Nurses and Technicians Really Do
In a December 2021 survey conducted by the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), it was found that pet owners across the nation tended to have positive views regarding the licensed and credentialed veterinary nurses and technicians working with their pets. Shockingly however, the results also showed some glaring misconceptions regarding the roles, responsibilities, education, and skills of these nurses and technicians.
The survey was conducted as part of a national awareness and education campaign, spearheaded by the NAVC and VCA Animal Hospitals, with support from the NAVTA. The survey was hosted online with 1013 participants, each indicating ownership of at least one pet. It was performed by Atomik Research, an independent research agency.
Of the 1013 participants surveyed, 47% were unaware that credentialed veterinary nurses and technicians assist with medical tasks and procedures, such as: radiology, dental charting, phlebotomy, etc.
On the other hand, 73% were aware that their jobs included more menial tasks like grooming, feeding, cleaning cages or removing waste. Tasks generally performed by less experienced, non-credentialed staff as well. To top it all off, 63% of those surveyed were unaware that being a credentialed veterinary nurse/technician in the world of animal medicine is the equivalent to being a registered nurse in human medicine.
Continuing on that point, 20% of participants believed that credentialed veterinary nurses/technicians had under 2 years of higher education; they were also unaware of the national exam needed to gain one’s license, and the continued education needed to maintain it.
In response to these findings Harold Davis, BA, RVT, VTS (Emergency and Critical Care) (Anesthesia and Analgesia) and NAVC board president, stated the following in an organizational release:
“Like their counterparts in human healthcare, credentialed veterinary nurses and technicians are also highly skilled professionals, providing life-saving and life-enhancing care for pets as well as emotional support.”
He continued to say
“Respondents indicated they value veterinary nurses/technicians; now it’s up to us to do a better job by educating pet owners how vital they are to the veterinary healthcare team, so their skills can be better leveraged for the benefit of animals everywhere.”
As stated, this survey was conducted as part of an education campaign held by the NAVC. Far too often there is a disconnect between the medical community and the general public, and the efforts being made by Davis and the NAVC are trying to help close that gap.
Supporting this belief is the fact that, when educated about the roles and responsibilities of credentialed veterinary nurses/technicians, people’s perceptions changed. After being informed it was found that 69% of participants felt more confident in the level of care they could provide, and 84% would trust them as much as a veterinarian.
Following the survey, Carolyn Spivock, RVT, Director of Veterinary Technician & Assistant Development at VCA Animal Hospitals had this to say:
“Credentialed veterinary technicians are deeply passionate individuals who are committed to caring for animals and supporting their owners. It’s important that we help pet owners understand the critical role credentialed veterinary technicians have as part of the medical team and their dedication to the health and well-being of their patients…We believe that as pet owners better understand the medical knowledge, advanced skills and expertise of credentialed veterinary technicians, coupled with the compassionate care they provide, their confidence and trust in technicians will increase. Building stronger relationships between veterinary technicians and pet owners is one meaningful way we can continue to improve care for pets and grow the support we can offer our clients.”
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Who’s involved in the care of your pet when they go to the vet? The answer may surprise you. News release. North American Veterinary Community. March 29, 2022.