Examining the role of veterinary technicians
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.
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.
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.