It was 21 years ago that the U.S. Congress voted to declare the third week of October,National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW). With this act Veterinary Technicians, thepreeminent pet nurses working in the treatment area of the veterinary hospital, werecelebrated for the tireless work they perform as advocates for animals and caretakersfor hospitalized pets.
The week-long celebration, with sponsorship from the National Association of VeterinaryTechnicians in America (NAVTA), Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Partners for Healthy Pets, and theOntario (Canada) Association of Veterinary Technicians, seeks to elevate publicawareness of the importance of the veterinary nursing staff. Veterinary Technicianswork throughout animal clinics and hospitals providing nursing care, patientassessment, and surgical assistance. Additionally, veterinary technicians work asradiography technicians, dental hygienists, client communicators, educators, medicallaboratory technicians, and often as hospital and practice managers.
This year’s theme for NVTW is: “Your Trusted Partner in Lifelong Care;’ as advocatesfor pet health Veterinary Technicians believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound ofcure.”
“The Credentialed Veterinary Technician is so much more than an assistant to theDoctor of Veterinary Medicine.” said Dennis Lopez, M.Ed., LVT, and 2013 President ofNAVTA. “The public is often uninformed about the importance of the veterinary nursingstaff behind the scenes, working long shifts in the treatment rooms of animal clinics andhospitals. Our view at NAVTA is that the Veterinary Technician is an extension of theDoctor, performing many critical nursing tasks in support of patient care.”
Following a series of legislative changes culminating in 2010, credentialed veterinarytechnicians (Certified, Registered, or Licensed), are now required to graduate with aminimum of a two-year Associate Degree, perform many hours of clinical externship,and pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) before being allowedto practice. “Credentialed technicians really are the equivalent of a human Registered
Nurse,” stated Lopez. “They go through a science heavy education, learn andexperience a wide variety of skills, and then have to pass a very difficult national boardexam. However, unlike human medical professionals, the Veterinary Technician mustlearn the anatomy, disease process, patient care, and nursing skills to practice on 20-30species. The education and ability to practice is very rigorous.” Most states require theCredentialed Veterinary Technician to maintain continuing education hours and to stayon the cutting edge of veterinary medicine.
National Veterinary Technician Week celebrates these hard-working individuals withactivities at educational and college programs, state Veterinary TechnicianAssociations, and at local and national conferences. This year, the Wild West VeterinaryConference in Reno, NV, October 9-13 will celebrate the week with a receptionhonoring Veterinary Technicians on Friday night, October 11.
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America is a nonprofitorganization that represents and promotes the profession of Veterinary Technology.NAVTA provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members.Incorporated in 1981, NAVTA is the national organization devoted exclusively todeveloping and enhancing the profession of veterinary technology. For more informationabout NAVTA, visit their website at www.navta.net.