Letter to dvm360: I was an RN, and Im cool with 'veterinary nurse'

November 3, 2018

This reader thinks credentialed veterinary technicians deserve the 'nurse title if they want it.

Editor's note: This letter is in response to “RNs fight veterinary technicians over the word ‘nurse.'”

As a former practicing BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) and RN (registered nurse) who's now been employed for more than 30 years in the veterinary field essentially doing technician work, I would have no issue with licensed veterinary technicians having the title of "veterinary nurse."

While I was practicing human medicine, patients often referred to the CNA (certified nursing assistant) who cared for them as "their nurse." Although I have great respect for the work, care and thoroughness of the CNAs who worked with me, there is a greater degree of responsibility, knowledge, protocol and chain-of-command responsibility that comes with the RN degree.

Still, the public understands that the caregiver is the one who gives care. How many times did I hear "nurse?" called out by a patient? They don't always understand the relative degrees. In fact, we're most likely the only ones who care about titles.

As it is, some states can call technicians just that, but if they're not accredited, they're simply glorified assistants. And if they call themselves technicians, they get the evil eye from the accredited ones. Perhaps we need a category for veterinary technicians that's similar to CNAs in human medicine.

-Vicki Behrens, RN, BSN

Zion, Illinois