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News & Press: Member News

The Veterinary Nurse Initiative: A Note from NYSAVT

Thursday, March 31, 2016   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Alexandra Poole
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The Veterinary Nurse Initiative: A Note from NYSAVT

As many of you know, earlier this year the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
(NAVTA), launched a campaign to change our title from Licensed Veterinary Technician to Veterinary
Nurse. At the center of the initiative is the hope that a consistent title will “clarify the important role of
the profession and provide enhanced patient care.” NAVTA further believes that “establishing a single
and standard title is the first step in the process.”

The term “nurse” is protected by both a title act and practice act in New York State. New York law restricts the use of the title “nurse” to persons who are licensed by the New York State Education Department as an RN, LPN, CNS or NP. (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/nurse/nursepracticefaq.htm)

There are 39 other states where the term is either protected in title, practice or both.  Just as no
professional may call themselves a Licensed Veterinary Technician in our state without the proper
credentials and a valid state issued license, other professionals may not call themselves nurses.

Since hearing of this proposal the NYSAVT’s Executive Officers and Executive Director have been
consulting with legal counsel and legislative resources to discuss the feasibility of NAVTA’s initiative in
our state. Initial feedback indicates that this initiative is very unlikely to happen in New York. Some of
the concerns mentioned included:

     If the nurses don’t agree to a change in title, there are over 381,000 nurses licensed in NYS.
     There are 4,768 Licensed Veterinary Technicians. Could we compel state government to grant a
     title change given the number of professionals affected?

     IF the nurses agreed to a change in title, would they require input on credentialing standards?

     How much could this cost for a change in title and practice of both professions (a title change
     would require a change in language in both the nursing and veterinary technology title and
     practice acts)

      o 3 years $75,000

      o 10 years $250,000

We have reached out the NYS Nurses Association to discuss whether they would support or oppose any attempts at modifying their title and practice act. We would like to know their position since they would be most strongly affected by a change in title. Those conversations are ongoing and we will update our members with any new information. We will continue to consult with legal and legislative
representatives to ensure the best interests of our members are being represented.

As your state association, we will support initiatives and endeavors that seek to strengthen the
profession, increase visibility and enhance working conditions.  At this time we have more questions
about the initiative than we have answers. While NAVTA researches the initiative we will continue to
use our resources to support our members and the LVTs in our state.

In the meantime, we ask that you stand with us and wait for more information before deciding that a
change in title is the solution. We do not believe that a change in title will provide enhanced patient
care. We believe that our efforts on behalf of technicians, students and consumers support enhanced
patient care. We believe that our fight for mandatory continuing education supports enhanced patient
care. We believe that providing resources for our members, combating the employment of unlicensed
personnel, working with local Vet Med Society chapters and having a voice on the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine supports enhanced patient care.

We believe that no matter what we are called, strength of the profession comes from within. It is not
what they call you, but how you make them feel that will make a lasting impression. We must use our
resources to continue to educate consumers about our important role on the veterinary team, we must
support each other by ending the practice of employing unlicensed personnel to complete tasks that are reserved for an LVT, and we must take pride in who we are and what we do. We are proud to be your state association and we are proud to represent and support you.

Please feel free to contact us with questions.

Comments...

Melissa Gascot says...
Posted Monday, January 30, 2017
Well stated! I'm proud to be a member of should a wonderful organization!

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