Use them well: Task force created to help practices better utilize veterinary technicians

July 19, 2019
dvm360 Staff

While the Veterinary Nurse Initiative continues to pursue a title change for veterinary technicians, the AVMA focuses on utilizing technicians in practice.

Denys Kurbatov/stock.adobe.com

Technicians are vital to a veterinary practice, and to improve how their efforts are utilized, a task forced convened by the AVMA Board of Directors will seek to develop a plan, according to a recent release. As part of this initiative, the group will take into account the importance of financial and career stability, effective task delegation and the wellbeing of both veterinary technicians and practices. They have until Dec. 31 to provide a report to the Board, the release states.

There will be 10 voting task force members, according to the release. The team will be made up of:

  • A credentialed veterinary technician

  • A technician member of the NAVTA Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialties

  • A NAVTA Executive Board member

  • A nominee from the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators

  • A veterinarian and veterinary technician member of the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities

  • A veterinarian member of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service

  • A VHMA representative

  • A nominee from the American Association of Veterinary State Boards' Veterinary Technician National Exam Committee

  • An at-large veterinary practitioner

In addition, two nonvoting liaisons will be a member of the AVMA Board and a member of the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD), according to the release. Members were to be selected mid-May.

During its regular winter session at the beginning of this year, the HOD discussed the topic of technician utilization in veterinary practice, the release states. The topic sparked discussion on how to encourage the consistent use of credentialed veterinary technicians as part of a healthcare team, the lack of recognition for technicians, the differences between employees trained on the job and credentialed technicians, along with high turnover rates, low job satisfaction and low wages for technicians. The conversation led to the recommendation that the Board consider a task force, and that a report be shared with the HOD within a year.

According to the release, the task force will provide ideas by the end of the year on actions to be taken to enhance the use of veterinary technicians as part of the veterinary health care team. Prior to its 2020 meeting, the plan is to distribute the report to the HOD.

Along with these steps, support for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America's initiative to adopt the title “veterinary nurse” was also proposed by the AVMA-NAVTA Leadership Committee, the release states. The Board unanimously postponed a vote on the recommendation indefinitely.

NAVTA formed the Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI) coalition in 2016, with the purpose to unite the profession under a single title-registered veterinary nurse-and push for uniform credentialing requirements and a uniform definition of scope and practice.

With Indiana, Georgia and Ohio as target states for VNI this year, the coalition has yet to see a state amend its laws to change the title.