What is a credentialed veterinary technician? Given the name, it has often led to much confusion for the veterinary client. In the state of Pennsylvania, a credentialed veterinary technician is an individual who has successfully completed a veterinary technology program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) followed by successfully passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The individual then holds the title of Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT). With this certification comes a code of ethics, and an obligation to complete continuing education hours as determined by the state’s board of veterinary medicine. The current credentialing system differs from state to state and the terminology for the credentialed veterinary technician differs as well.
Veterinary medicine has evolved greatly over the past decades, and in order to better explain to our clients what credentialed veterinary technicians are doing for their beloved pet, the term “nursing” has become common practice within the veterinary field. In Britain and Australia, the profession is titled “RVN” (registered veterinary nurse). When the veterinary field uses the title of “nursing” (the profession of practice or providing care for the sick and infirm), it is believed that it more accurately reflects how the credentialed veterinary technician is caring for the patient. Most owners are considerably more comforted and further understand who is caring for their pet when hospitalized when the term “nursing” is used. The duties of a credentialed veterinary technician include but are not limited to (under the supervision/permission of a veterinarian); Monitoring patient’s vital parameters, induction and monitoring anesthesia, drawing blood, placing and maintaining peripheral intravenous catheters, central venous catheters, arterial catheters, perform laboratory duties (CBC, Chemistries, Coagulation screens, urinalysis, blood smear evaluation), radiology, recording medical data, speaking with clients in detail about their pet’s disease process/progress (with veterinarian permission).
In 2016, the National Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA) launched an initiative known as the Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI). The goal is to unify the credentialing requirements for all states, and in return have the credentialed title changed to a unified title. (JAVMA April 2016). The VNI has prompted awareness in both the veterinary field and the veterinary consumer as to what the profession means. There have been several veterinary technology programs that have changed their program name to “veterinary nursing”.
NAVTA has introduced the lengthy process of speaking and working with international, national and state organizations to establish a standard for the credentialing system. This is a process that will take years to develop. In addition, the VNI recognizes the importance of veterinary assistants within the veterinary field and the role they play to the success of the credentialed veterinary technician.
A standardized credential would unify the profession and cultivate professional recognition.
Elisa Rogers CVT, VTS(ECC)
Veterinary Technician Director
Hope Veterinary Specialists