Kara M. Burns
MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief
Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.Read Articles Written by Kara M. Burns
In a show of support for veterinary nurses, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF)—the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)—announced the launch of a COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant program for veterinary technicians/nurses and veterinary assistants funded by donations totaling $200,000 from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
In addition, the AVMF launched a challenge giving campaign with the goal of raising an additional $200,000 to match the funds already donated to help meet the needs of twice as many veterinary technicians/nurses and veterinary assistants impacted by COVID-19. I encourage all who are able to donate to the campaign.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented response. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary nurses/technicians have been continuing to go to work to help care for pets and the families that love them. However, some have experienced furloughs, work hours cut, or have had to spend more time at home ensuring their own family’s safety. Thus, many working in the veterinary profession are experiencing financial hardship.
Veterinary nurses are critical to the veterinary hospital and play an important role on the veterinary team. We are the bridge between the veterinarian and the pet owner and are the foundation of an efficiently run medical facility. In these extremely trying times, this is a bright light, and the support shown through the conception of these grants proves the profession believes veterinary nurses are crucial members of the healthcare team.
“NAVTA, as the advocate for those in our profession, stepped up to help who we can,” said Ken Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM), and NAVTA President. “There’s likely no amount of money that would allow us to reach enough people to fully alleviate the hardship, but through the partnerships with Hill’s, Zoetis, and the AVMF, along with anyone else who may join in, we can help as many people as possible.”
Financial support is not the only way NAVTA is looking to help veterinary nurses during this period.
“NAVTA has been advocating for the profession throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Yagi. “We have contacted state veterinary medical boards regarding CE requirements and discussed allowing online CE to meet requirements; extending the period in which veterinary technicians have to renew; and urging state authorities to deem veterinary businesses as essential so veterinary nurses can stay employed (but follow CDC safe working guidelines); created a resource page that is relevant to our profession (https://www.navta.net/page/COVID19), and now the disaster relief grants. Additionally, we will continue to look for more ways to help our profession through the pandemic.”
NAVTA, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, and the AVMF: thank you for your generosity through the grant program to help veterinary technicians/nurses and veterinary assistants. A quote by Kevin Heath sums this up beautifully. “Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” Your kindness is truly making a difference to veterinary teammates in need. Thank you.
For more information on applying for the grant, visit the AVMA’s website.