Increasing veterinary technician utilization with new guidelines

News
Article

Guidelines created by bovine and equine associations help educate the veterinary community on the skills of credentialed technicians

highwaystarz / stock.adobe.com

highwaystarz / stock.adobe.com

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT) have released guidelines that delineate specific responsibilities and different veterinary supervision levels for credentialed veterinary technicians (CrVTs) in bovine and equine practices. The documents, which were released this spring, are an effort to optimize the role of CrVTs.1

Travis Otremba, LVT, RVT, president of AAEVT and CrVT at Ocala Equine Hospital in Ocala, Florida, underscored the lack of understanding regarding the capabilities of CrVTs and the scope of their education in a news release.1 “There is a lack of knowledge of what a trained, credentialed veterinary technician actually is, as well as what they are educated to do in school,” said Otremba. “These guidelines shed some light and educate doctors and practice owners and managers [on] how to utilize their technicians more effectively and thus potentially increase production significantly.”1

According to the AABP, there is an underutilization of CrVTs in bovine and equine practice in comparison to their counterparts in companion animal practice “If we’re only using veterinary technicians to perform procedures, or they’re just riding along in your truck, they’re not improving your efficiency and revenue,” said K. Fred Gingrich II, DVM, executive director of the AABP in a news release.1

AABP guidelines for bovine veterinary technicians

The “AABP Guideline for Credentialed Veterinary Technicians in Bovine Practice” was created to provide guidance on how bovine veterinarians can delegate more tasks to CrVTs in the practice.2 The guideline contains a task list outlining common tasks and procedures in bovine medicine, such as different anesthesia administration methods, surgical procedures, and recording tasks.2 The right side of the list contains a “Supervision Level” section that indicates the supervision level required for the respective task. The levels range from “CVT indirect supervision” to “veterinarian only.”1,2

“If we can utilize technicians and delegate tasks to them so that the speed of animal care is improved, then that helps everyone from the veterinarian to the technician to the animal owner,” Gingrich said in the release.1 He also explained how recognizing veterinary technicians as veterinary professionals and providing them with tasks within their scope of practice can enhance retention and generate more revenue per doctor. This would allow veterinarians to perform more profitable procedures during their newfound time and result in CrVTs receiving a higher wage. The AABP is also now permitting veterinary technicians to join the association in an effort to recognize their importance.1

AAEVT guidelines for equine veterinary technicians

In March 2024, the AAEVT created “The Guidelines for Utilization of EQ CrVT.” These guidelines were based on the 2023 American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Technician Utilization Guidelines and were developed in collaboration with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The guidelines are comprised of 3 different proficiency levels that contain lists of procedures that can be performed by veterinary technicians in each level depending on their training and capabilities.1

A 2022 survey published by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) revealed that only 4% of respondents were in equine practice.1,3 Moreover, 41% of respondents reported feeling utilized only “sometimes,” while nearly 20% said they do not feel utilized to their fullest potential at their workplace.3

“If a technician or assistant is not used to their fullest extent, satisfaction in their job can wane,” Otremba said. “If a tech is not being utilized effectively and their skillsets are not taken into account, there is no competition and no need to increase wages or benefits... I think that if a practice is to utilize their technicians or assistants to the top of their education and offer competitive wages or benefits, we may see an increase in retention across equine veterinary medicine.”1

The AAEVT also created an assessment tool4 that veterinarians can use in their practice. The tool servers as a resource to help equine practices better leverage their CrVTs.1

Looking towards the future

J. David Sessum, LVT, program manager for the Veterinary Science Certificate Program at Texas A&M University offered his insight on the educational implications of these new guidelines. “I think this is going to show veterinary technology programs that large animal veterinarians are interested in their students upon graduation, and if they focus their efforts on preparing students for careers in other species, such as bovine and equine, that they’ll have a better pool of graduates or employees to choose from,” Sessum said in a news release. He also noted how the guidelines offer an advantage to veterinary technology programs by providing insight into the specific skills desired by bovine practitioners for CrVTs, enabling educators to integrate these criteria into the curriculum.1

Resources

  1. Bovine, equine groups create veterinary technician utilization guidelines. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. May 20, 2024. Accessed May 29, 2024.https://www.avma.org/news/bovine-equine-groups-create-veterinary-technician-utilization-guidelines
  2. AABP Guideline for Credentialed Veterinary Technicians in Bovine Practice. American Association of Bovine Practitioners. March 2024. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://aabp.org/resources/AABP_Guidelines/VetTech2024.pdf
  3. NAVTA survey reveals veterinary technician pay and education have increased, but burnout, debt are still issues. National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. January 16, 2023. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://navta.net/news/navta-survey-reveals-veterinary-technician-pay-and-education-have-increased-but-burnout-debt-are-still-issues-2/
  4. American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants. 2024. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://dnc58rl1j94r0.cloudfront.net/app/uploads/20240327105732/AAEVT-Guidelines-Assessment-Tool.docx
Recent Videos
Managing practice caseloads
Nontraditional jobs for veterinary technicians
Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.