Banfield Pet Hospital will schedule appointments with credentialed veterinary technicians at nearly one-third of its locations by the end of October.
Having credentialed technicians provide services such as vaccinations, heartworm tests and nutritional counseling — all under a veterinarian’s direction — will create “increased availability and accessibility for our clients,” the company said in a press release.
“We believe that when veterinary professionals get to practice at the top of their license, veterinary teams, pets and clients all benefit,” the press release said.
Banfield plans to roll out technician appointments at about 300 of the company’s 1,050 hospitals in the United States and Puerto Rico. Banfield expects to complete 30,000 credentialed veterinary technician appointments by the end of the year. The announcement was made during National Veterinary Technicians Week.
Addressing Issues of Concern for Vet Techs
In a National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) demographic survey conducted in 2016, 20% of respondents left veterinary nursing due to lack of respect from the employer. At the time of the survey, 68% the respondents said their practices schedule veterinary technician-specific appointments.
Almost 30% of respondents indicated they spend about 5 to 10 minutes on average with clients in exam rooms, followed by 27%who reported spending on average 10 to 15 minutes in the exam room with clients; 15% spend more than 15 minutes with clients. Technicians were also asked to identify areas that they were responsible for when it comes to educating clients:
• 79% were responsible for educating clients regarding the administration of medication
• 71% were responsible for correct care for patients
• 64% were responsible for treatment protocols
• 56% were responsible for pain management
When asked to identify how comfortable they are with educating on those topics, the NAVTA survey respondents indicated they are most comfortable with educating about medication administration, while least comfortable topics include nutrition.
When asked how strongly VTs’ opinions were considered in practice, a majority responded that their opinion counts when it comes to equipment (98%), pain management protocols (60%) and anesthetic protocols (nearly 60%). Nursing care lagged far behind at 8%, followed by management topics at 5%.
Banfield’s Other Vet Tech Initiatives
“Veterinary technician appointments are just one component of the practice’s holistic efforts to elevate this critical member of the hospital team,” Banfield’s press release stated.
In “The Importance of Veterinary Technicians” published in Today’s Veterinary Nurse, Abbie Hathaway, CVT of Banfield Pet Hospital, wrote that Banfield is “a proud supporter of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI), an industry-wide initiative that aims to unite the profession under a single title, set of credentialing requirements, and scope of practice.”
“We all have the ability to become advocates for the engagement, utilization, and recognition of veterinary technicians,” wrote Hathaway. “It’s about being able to operate at the top of our license, and using our skills and education for the betterment of veterinary medicine.”
Banfield has also reported that its ongoing support of veterinary technicians has included increased hourly pay practice-wide and the tripling of the continuing education allowance.
Find out how to download a parasite flashcard app that was created just for vet techs!
Did you know a subscription to Today’s Veterinary Nurse is free? All you have to do is sign up (and renew each year)!
Want to get continuing education articles and news about the veterinary nursing profession? Sign up for the monthly enewsletter brought to you by the editors of Today’s Veterinary Nurse!