Editor's Note: As the delivery of veterinary care becomes more sophisticated, the need to better use the skills of registered veterinary
technicians increases, some veterinarians say.
Enhancing the technicians' role might relieve time pressure for doctors and keep them engaged in the field, but there are
limits. At this year's DVM Newsmaker Summit at CVC East in Baltimore, DVM Newsmagazine assembled a panel of leaders from state boards of veterinary medicine and technician associations to examine key issues on
the subject. This is the second of three segments of that roundtable; the final part will be presented in our September issue.
Moderator: Greg Dennis, JD, of Kent T. Perry & Co. in Overland Park, Kan., is a charter member and former president of the American Veterinary Medical
Law Association and served on AVMA's Model Veterinary Practice Act Task Force and the Legal Status of Animals Task Force.
He co-edits the Animal Legal Report Services.
Greg Dennis, JD, panel moderator
Sue Geranen is executive officer of the California Veterinary Medical Board, a consumer watchdog agency that regulates the development
and maintenance of professional standards, oversees licensing of veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians and helps
enforce the California Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.
Dr. Richard Johnson owns the Animal Medical Center (AMC) of East County, a 16-doctor practice in El Cajon, Calif. A 1977 graduate of UC-Davis,
he chairs the RVTC commission of the California Veterinary Medical Board. He previously was a surgical resident at the AMC
and was an associate professor at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Sherbyn Ostrich is past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association. A private
practitioner for 30 years, he was the first recipient of the University of Pennsylvania's Bellwether Award for leadership.
He is a charter member of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues.
Teri Raffel, CVT, is president of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. She teaches veterinary technology at the Madison
Area Technical College in Madison, Wis.
Deb Coleman is an RVT. She serves on the board of regents for the Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists and is employed at the
Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Richard Johnson, owner, Animal Medical Center of East County, El Cajon, Calif.
Mr. Dennis: Is "veterinary technician" the appropriate term? In other common-law countries, such as Britain and Australia, people who
have gone through the equivalent of training, being registered and certified, are called "veterinary nurses." Should we be
doing the same? That makes it easier for the client and the public to realize what a veterinary technician is.
Dr. Ostrich: In Pennsylvania, when the veterinary technicians association tried to get the practice-act changed to read "veterinary nurses,"
human nurses came into the board hearings in large numbers arguing that they absolutely, positively did not want that to happen.
Of course, in any large group, no politician is going to go against them. That was the end of that in Pennsylvania.