An Update on Progress with the Veterinary Nurse Initiative
By Jolynne Judge, MA, LVT
As National Veterinary Technician Week comes to an end, it is important to continue to think ahead to shape the future of our profession. Last year, during this week, I reflected on the many changes the profession has experienced throughout the years and spoke about why I support the latest change: the Veterinary Nurse Initiative.
The goal of the Initiative is to standardize the credential for our profession in terms of requirements, title, and scope of practice across the country. At the start of this week, current MSU licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs) described the challenges faced by those in the profession due to a misaligned and outdated title. The title “veterinary technician” does not represent the depth and breadth of knowledge that the profession demands and has become a barrier to public understanding. This barrier to public understanding serves as the impetus for the Initiative, the goal of which is to unify our profession and clearly represent our role in veterinary care to the public.
The Initiative continues to gain momentum within the profession. To date, it has been endorsed by more than 20 influential supporters of the veterinary profession. Supporters include state veterinary technician organizations (including the Michigan Association of Veterinary Technicians), veterinary medical colleges, veterinary technician educators, state veterinary medical associations, and industry partners.
Veterinary Nursing at MSU
- In April, it was proposed that the MSU Veterinary Technology Program follow Purdue’s lead and change the title to Veterinary Nursing Program in recognition and celebration of the Program’s 50th Anniversary.
- Any changes to a program title must be passed through the University Committee for Undergraduate Education and be approved by the other colleges. This process is being explored, so stay tuned!
I’m proud to say that the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine was the first veterinary college to provide a position statement in support of the initiative. They have since been joined by Purdue University and Lincoln Memorial University. The support of these veterinary colleges is significant as they are the home of veterinary technology programs, training the veterinary nurses of tomorrow.
In response to the initiative, Purdue University has officially changed the title of their Veterinary Technology Program to Veterinary Nursing Program. Additionally, multiple veterinary publications have adopted the term veterinary nurse and Today's Veterinary Technician has changed their title to Today's Veterinary Nurse in recognition of what the profession should be called.
For more information about the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, read the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America’s FAQ. It is in the best interests of everyone in the veterinary profession to become informed on this topic.
- In Spring of 2018, HB 501 was introduced in Ohio to change the title from “Veterinary Technician” to “Veterinary Nurse.” This bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 14-1. It will be presented for full House vote once the break for elections is over. Once through the House, it will be presented for Senate vote.
- Concurrently, HB 2288 was introduced in Tennessee to change the title of “Licensed Veterinary Medical Nurse” to “Registered Veterinary Nurse.” This bill passed out of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 10-3. Work is ongoing to strengthen alliances with the intention of taking the bill to the Senate in 2019.
- Plans to introduce legislature into 5 additional states in the coming year are under way.
- In August of 2018, due to concerns regarding the potential deregulation of professions requiring licensure, registration, or certification in multiple states, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Veterinary State Boards, American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, and the National Association Veterinary Technicians in America released a joint statement in support of strengthening licensing requirements for veterinary-related professions. This joint effort prevented legislation from moving forward in Louisiana that would have removed licensure from LVTs.