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News, Spring 2018,

Veterinary Nurse Initiative: A Call to Action

Heather PrendergastRVT, CVPM

Heather has spent over 25 years in small animal practice, teaches veterinary technology and assistance programs, and is the author of Front Office Management for the Veterinary Team. She lectures on topics ranging from grief management for health care professionals to nutrition, inventory, communications, and veterinary team management. She has also written several articles and participated in published roundtable discussions on these topics.

Currently, Heather provides consulting services for veterinary hospitals and is an instructor for Patterson Veterinary University and VetMedTeam. She serves on several advisory committees and is the Program Chair of the Technician Program at the North American Veterinary Conference. Heather was named the 2014 Veterinary Technician of the Year and Continuing Educator of the Year for 2016 at the Western Veterinary Conference.

Kenichiro YagiMS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)

Ken has spent nearly 20 years in practice. He obtained his VTS certification in emergency and critical care, as well as small animal internal medicine, and earned his master’s degree in Veterinary Science. He served as ICU Manager and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital until 2018, and is now Program Director for the RECOVER CPR Initiative and simulation lab manager of the Park Veterinary Innovation Laboratory at Cornell University. He co-chairs the Veterinary Nurse Initiative and serves as a board member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians, and the Veterinary Innovation Council.

Veterinary Nurse Initiative:  A Call to Action
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The Veterinary Nurse Initiative is building momentum to create one title with set standards across the United States in 2018.

In January 2018, the states of Ohio and Tennessee introduced legislation. Both states already recognize credentialed technicians in their Veterinary Practice Act or Rules and Regulations. This legislation will simply change the title from Registered Veterinary Technician (in Ohio) and Licensed Veterinary Medical Technician (in Tennessee) to Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). Both states already have high standards to become a credentialed veterinary technician (graduating from an AVMA accredited program, passing the VTNE, and meeting set state requirements), a designated scope of practice, and continuing education requirements for relicensing. Upon passing of legislation these states will serve as models for implementation of the RVN title and the VNI will continue working with the boards of veterinary medicine in regulating the various professional distinctions.

Banfield Pet Hospital, Royal Canin, and BluePearl Veterinary Partners have announced their commitment to the profession’s vital role in pet health by stepping up as sponsors for the Veterinary Nurse Initiative. The NAVC rebranded and redesigned their peer-reviewed journal, Today’s Veterinary Technician, into Today’s Veterinary Nurse, and Veterinary Team Brief has incorporated the “veterinary nurse” terminology in their publications to be on the forefront of integrating the veterinary nursing profession into the veterinary culture and language. Petplan has announced their intent to rename their award to Registered Veterinary Technician/Nurse of the Year in 2019. Various organizations such as Michigan State University, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Ohio Association of Veterinary Technicians, and Tennessee Association of Veterinary Technician have endorsed the change. The Veterinary Technician profession continues to enjoy overwhelming support for the Veterinary Nurse Initiative.

Most recently, the American Veterinary Medical Association has taken a position supporting the standardizing of credential and the development of consistent scope of practice and title. While remaining neutral as to the exact title in use, this allows the veterinary technician profession to decide on the title. Respondents to numerous surveys indicate the choice for Veterinary Nurse, aiding NAVTA’s decision to move forward with title.1


1. Data on file in NAVTA office; NAVTA, PO Box 1227, Albert Lea, MN 56007