Last week, from October 16 to 22, marked National Veterinary Technician Week 2022. And while I am very happy to get a chance to loudly celebrate these incredible veterinary professionals, I fundamentally believe that they deserve far more than just one week of appreciation for the work they do every day.
These veterinary professionals are the backbone of the industry and continue to provide pet parents with above-and-beyond care and support — all while experiencing compassion fatigue, extreme burnout, subpar pay, and a depressing lack of recognition themselves.
It can be easy to forget that Vet Techs are often on the frontline of the worst day of a pet parent’s life. Their next-level ability to communicate, care for, and empathize can take a huge toll on their own emotional wellbeing, especially without the appropriate amount of support, compensation, or recognition. A major part of this problem stems from a lack of education on what these crucial veterinary professionals do. Because veterinary technicians receive their credentials on a state-by-state basis, there are often different titles to describe the same functions.
The Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI) is tackling this issue with the goal of uniting the veterinary technician profession under one title to better encapsulate the hard work and dedication these professionals display every day. This movement, introduced by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) in 2017, has the ability to move the needle on how we treat these veterinary professionals: “Through the standardization and public awareness of the credential, the profession will make strides towards better recognition, mobility and elevated practice standards, leading to better patient care and consumer protection.”
The initiative is rightfully gaining a lot of momentum, especially as the vet shortage crisis looms on the horizon. I’ve been very lucky to work with a medical director and veterinary team who are not only willing to teach me about these pressing issues, but who are also passionate about creating meaningful change in the industry. And while standardizing the credential may not be a one-stop solution, it does mean we’re acknowledging there’s a problem and making a start on addressing it.
This shift from “Tech” to “Nurse” is also a very popular idea among the people who matter most: the Vet Techs themselves! When we polled our own in-house veterinary team on the idea, we received 100% support to make the change. And while we’re used to these veterinary professionals giving us 100% (and beyond), it’s about time we do the same for them.
That’s why, starting today, Pawp will refer to our veterinary technicians — whether they’re a CVT, LVT, RVT, or LVMT — under the one title of “Veterinary Nurse.” It is our sincere hope that calling attention to these hard-working and habitually under-appreciated professionals will help to create more of a culture of respect and recognition.
Thank you again to all the Veterinary Nurses (not just at Pawp, but especially at Pawp) for everything you do. We will never fully understand, but we can express our gratitude consistently. If you would like to donate to the cause or learn more, check out the resources below:
CEO of Pawp