April 15, 2016


 Advocate for veterinary technicians wins top honor

Posted March 30, 2016

Janet McConnell (Courtesy of NAVTA)

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has named Janet McConnell, a certified veterinary technician, as the 2015 Veterinary Technician of the Year. McConnell is being recognized for her dedication to the profession over the course of her 35-year career, according to a Jan. 26 press release.

Early on, McConnell realized the potential role and value of the veterinary assistant, both as an entryway into the veterinary technology field and in the support an assistant could provide technicians. Because of this vision, she co-developed a veterinary assistant program at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey. As program director and instructor, she led the program in becoming the first NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant program in New Jersey in December 2011.

NAVTA created a veterinary assistant approval program in 2010 to better define the veterinary health care team and the role of credentialed technicians. Once a program is approved, its graduates can take the national test; with successful completion, they become an approved veterinary assistant. So far, more than 80 approved veterinary assistants have graduated from Brookdale.

McConnell is also director of education and professional development at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, which has five locations throughout New Jersey.

Within the Red Bank Network, McConnell has developed and implemented an in-house continuing education requirement for all veterinary technicians and assistants in addition to a CE fund policy for them. She counsels technicians daily on options for educational and career growth and is responsible for helping over 20 technicians within the network gain their licensed veterinary technician or certified veterinary technician credentials.

McConnell has also developed several in-house externship programs for high school students and undergraduates to shadow and gain experience working alongside veterinary technicians and veterinarians. Further, she developed a weeklong summer camp at Brookdale called “Journey to Veterinary Careers” for children in grades 6 through 9.

Her passion for the highest standards for hospital and patient care led her to drive the Red Bank hospitals to accreditation by the American Animal Hospital Association in 2012, with the most recent accomplishment being AAHA recognizing the system as a specialty hospital in December 2015, according to the release.

McConnell began working at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, in November 1992. She graduated in 1981 from the veterinary technology program at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

McConnell has been an active member of NAVTA for many years and is currently the New Jersey state NAVTA representative. She is also on the executive board of the New Jersey Veterinary Technicians and Assistants.

“Since her involvement with our state organization NJVTA, she has taken our membership numbers from 80 to almost 800. She is constantly promoting and recruiting members,” said Libby Landry, who nominated McConnell for the honor, in the release.