There should always be a “tech” in team

Veterinary technicians are critically important members of the veterinary healthcare team. The skills and expertise they possess are essential not only in clinical settings, but also in biomedical research, uniformed services, food safety inspection, and education. These dedicated professionals play a key role in preserving animal health and welfare while also serving as advocates for their colleagues and the clients and patients we serve.

Veterinary technicians make significant contributions to our profession, and the AVMA is proud of our longstanding record of supporting them in all they do.

Our research shows that we should all commit to fully utilizing technicians’ diverse skills in practice. Proper technician utilization can boost team morale, reduce turnover, and help free up time so that veterinarians can treat more patients. By leveraging the valuable skills of veterinary technicians, we are better equipped to improve our delivery of care as well as practice profitability.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America serves as the membership organization for veterinary technicians. As part of the AVMA’s efforts to promote veterinary technicians, we collaborate with NAVTA to ensure that its needs are met. We also encourage AVMA members to help strengthen NAVTA by supporting technicians’ ability to join this important membership group.

Talking about the veterinary team 

The AVMA is committed to helping practices use all team members as efficiently and effectively as possible. That’s why we recently formed the AVMA Task Force on Veterinary Technician Utilization. A 2016 survey of technicians conducted by NAVTA found that veterinary technicians face their own unique challenges. Enhancing veterinary technicians’ role—while also focusing on their wellbeing—will help address some of these challenges.

The Veterinary Information Forum held during the AVMA House of Delegates’ winter session back in January 2019 was devoted to the topic of enhancing the utilization of veterinary technicians. Prior to the forum, AVMA members were asked to provide input on the topic to their House representatives, and more than 400 comments were received.

It was clear during the forum discussion that the value of veterinary technicians is unquestioned and that efforts need to be made across the profession to increase technician use and boost job satisfaction. This consensus among House members led them to recommend that the AVMA Board of Directors consider convening a task force to design a strategy to improve veterinary technician utilization.

That task force is now working and is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to improve technician utilization by examining issues that impact technicians, teams, and practices. Topics to be addressed include financial and career sustainability, task delegation, and the wellbeing of both technicians and the practices in which they work.

The House of Delegates also recently approved a new seat on the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service for a credentialed veterinary technician so that the council can benefit from technicians’ insight and expertise.

Supporting technician education

The AVMA is also committed to ensuring that technicians receive a proper education as they prepare to fulfill their vital roles. To that end, the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities accredits educational programs in veterinary technology. All accredited programs must meet the Standards of Accreditation of the CVTEA to ensure the quality of the educational experience and the assessment of student knowledge and skills.

Currently, more than 200 CVTEA-accredited veterinary technology programs exist across the country and in Puerto Rico and Canada.

We all know, however, that education doesn’t end when school is complete. Veterinary technicians and veterinary technician students are a big part of our AVMA Annual Convention, and more than 300 joined us this year in Washington, D.C., for continuing education opportunities that focused on both professional and personal growth. These CE offerings ranged from behavior to cardiology, emergency and critical care, and personal wellbeing.

The AVMA also is pleased to help recognize veterinary technicians’ contributions by promoting NAVTA’s National Veterinary Technician Week. This annual celebration, which took place the third week of October, honors technicians’ commitment to compassionate, high-quality veterinary care for animals.

Our profession would not be what it is today without the integral role played by veterinary technicians in ensuring quality care. As we acknowledge and celebrate their contributions, let’s remember that these professionals help make veterinary medicine as special as it is. They are amazing people, and we are fortunate to have them as a part of the veterinary medical team.