Fur Real Blog - "Veterinary Technician Appreciation" October 2018

<? echo $title; ?>Veterinary Technician Appreciation

It’s October and that means Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week is upon us! The tradition started in June 1993 when a resolution by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) was passed. With this resolution, every third week in October was declared as National Veterinary Technician Week. The main goals of Vet Tech Week are to give information to the public by educating it about what a veterinary technician does and to develop the higher value of the profession.

So, who is today’s veterinary technician? At first glance one may think the veterinary technician assists the veterinarian during exams, restraining animals, cuts nails, and cleans up around the hospital. Although those things are true, today’s veterinary technician does so much more. It first starts with a good education.

There are so many technicians that started in the field as assistants and worked their way up to “technician”. Learning on the job was the way it was done, learning how to do things in practice, but not the why. That’s where getting a good education comes in. Technician schools are popping up everywhere as the demand grows. Whether it’s a two or four-year brick and mortar school or an online program, students are taught the skills needed to graduate with a degree and are prepared to sit for the VTNE, the Veterinary Technician National Exam. Passing the exam means the technician have the competency of entry – level technicians.

What is considered an “entry – level” technician according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)? Much more than you would think. In school, prospective veterinary technicians study: Anatomy and Physiology, Parasitology, Disease, Chemistry, and lots of math. The VTNE includes nine major areas of focus (called domains):

  1. Anesthesia
  2. Emergency medicine (Critical Care)
  3. Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  4. Pain Management/Analgesia
  5. Dentistry
  6. Laboratory Procedures
  7. Diagnostic Imaging
  8. Animal Care and Nursing
  9. Surgical Nursing

The exam includes large animal and exotics in addition to small animal medicine. Unlike human nurses, veterinary technicians have to be knowledgeable about not just on species, but several.

Once the technician passes the VTNE, the state then credentials him or her as licensed, registered, or certified depending on the state. More and more states are requiring technicians to be credentialled, and, going forward there is a movement to change credentialed technician’s title to “Veterinary Nurses” to separate them from non-credentialed technicians.

So next time you are at the vet and your technician is “just” restraining your pet or “just” cutting their nails with a smile, remember that chances are that they took the time to get the education to properly take care of your furry family member as a; phlebotomist, a lab technician, a surgery assistant, an x-ray technician, and so much more, all the while making sure your pet is loved and cared for. Let’s wish all veterinary technicians a Happy Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week!

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