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NAVTA Moves Forward with Veterinary Nurse Credential Change

Friday, May 19, 2017  
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Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition will now pursue legislative amendments in 50 states


The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) Board of Directors announced the formation of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition to pursue legislative amendments in the 50 states to establish the credential of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN), and to substitute the title of Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) or Licensed Veterinary Medical Technician (LVMT). NAVTA’s board approved the action to unite the profession under a single title, credentialing requirements and scope of practice. The Coalition is currently defining the legislative strategy and is targeting 2018 for the initial legislation reform efforts to begin.


“Through the standardization and public awareness of the Registered Veterinary Nurse credential, the entire profession will make significant strides towards better recognition, mobility and elevated practice standards,” said Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition) and President-Elect of NAVTA. “All of this will lead to better patient care and consumer protection.”


Veterinary technicians have seen the profession go through many changes over 50 years. Veterinary technicians throughout the United States have varying credentialing requirements, titles and scope of practice which can be confusing in the eyes of pet owners. A single title and credential throughout the nation is the next step to improve the level of patient care, align public perceptions of the veterinary nurse and bring clarity to the field of veterinary medicine.


The Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition will work with the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Veterinary State Boards, industry and professional veterinary organizations and legislators to create common terminology, policies and procedures to ease the burden on individual states and associations in governing credentials. The Initiative will start with a handful of states in 2018 and then work with any state interested in these reforms.


According to Heather Prendergast, BS, RVT, CVPM, SPHR and coalition member, “Our goal is to reduce and remove the confusion associated with the designations for a veterinary technician. Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) and Licensed Veterinary Medical Technician (LVMT) describe credentials held by veterinary technicians throughout the nation. Once a single designation is established, each state will be able to align with a standardized credential for the profession.”


Coalition member Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM) went on to say the process to evolve the name of a veterinary technician to a veterinary nurse began last year with extensive research on the legality of the name change and the level of industry support, as well as a review of the current credentialing. Yagi also noted, the process could take several years because of the need to ensure alignment and support at the national and local level from a legislative, industry and individual perspective.


To learn more about the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, email


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