NAVTA celebrates 30 years of National Veterinary Technician Week

Celebrations encouraged to educate the public, recognize credentialed veterinary technicians
Veterinary Technician Week

Pearls are generally considered the 30th anniversary gift, so to mark the 30th anniversary of National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW), the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) has compiled a few “pearls of wisdom” for the next generation of credentialed veterinary technicians (CVTs).

The week—happening October 15-21 this year—celebrates, recognizes, and promotes the valuable contributions that CVTs, veterinary technologists, and veterinary technician specialists (VTSs) make to the veterinary profession and society. The main goals of the event are to educate the public about these vital members of veterinary teams, reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary technicians, provide an opportunity to recognize them for excellent performance in their work, and acknowledge veterinarians for hiring credentialed veterinary technicians.

Treating staff members well

Current NAVTA President Jamie Rauscher said celebrating veterinary staff members and the hard work they do is what makes a clinic stand out.

“The smallest recognition goes a long way,” she said. “It’s not all about the money. A simple thank you in passing, or a card in their locker will be remembered more often than not. While the lunches and gifts are appreciated at the moment, treating your staff fairly and kindly is what matters most. Stand up for your staff when you have an angry client. Be a support system for them in their professional and personal lives should they need you.

“My career path has been paved with the support of my team in ways that I will never be able to forget or repay. As you plan how to recognize your staff this year, remember what matters most … Don’t forget them.”

The week kicks off on October 15 with several contests, giving members a chance to win gift cards, discounts on membership, and more. Any company or organization hosting NVTW events that would like to be highlighted on the NAVTA website can email details to infoatnavta [dot] net.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, which sponsors the week, is providing funding for social media and public relations outreach. Hill’s field representatives will also deliver NVTW posters and other gifts to their clients across nearly 5,000 practices in the U.S.

Visit the NAVTA website for more information and to download NAVTA’s 2023 National Veterinary Technician Week Poster or access sample press releases and public service announcements, presentation and event ideas, and more. Next year’s celebration is slated for October 13-19, 2024.

AVMA support for veterinary technicians

Earlier this year, NAVTA released results from its most recent demographic survey. Among the results, 60% of respondents said they do not feel fully utilized to their fullest potential at their workplace. While a great majority of respondents (80%) were satisfied with the overall quality of care provided to their clients, they were not satisfied with their team environment at work, their salary, opportunities for advancement, or health benefits.

The AVMA is currently working to support the development and expansion of veterinary technology programs, title protection and licensing, better recognition and appropriate credentialing of veterinary technician specialists, and appropriate pay and benefits.

Dr. Rena Carlson, AVMA president, said effective empowerment of veterinary technicians, veterinarian technologists, and veterinary technician specialists enables them to fully leverage their education and training to maximize practice efficiency, job satisfaction and wellbeing for every member of the veterinary health care team.

“These dedicated professionals are the backbone of our veterinary health care teams, providing compassionate care and technical skill that are second to none,” she said. “The AVMA is committed to supporting veterinary technicians through educational initiatives, advocacy and resources that empower them to excel in their roles. Their work not only enhances the well-being of animals but also enriches our communities and advances the veterinary profession.”

The AVMA Committee on Advancing Veterinary Technicians and Technologists (CAVTT), created to identify ways to fully leverage and engage veterinary technicians while providing a forum for collaboration, will hold its first meeting October 23-24 at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois.

In addition, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, in partnership with the Zoetis Foundation, launched the Veterinary Technician Student Scholarship Program last year to identify and support outstanding veterinary technician students.

Sharing the love

Dr. Carlson said, “As we recognize the 30th anniversary of National Veterinary Technician Week, we encourage everyone to celebrate these professionals and the expertise and ‘pearls of wisdom’ they provide pet owners, their colleagues, and the profession.”

Linda Merrill, NAVTA past president in 1993, added, “National Veterinary Technician Week was one of the first times a national spotlight was focused on our profession. Educating the public about who we are and what we do is even more important in today’s modern veterinary medicine,”

“I hope we can all continue the effort to showcase how our great profession is an integral part of veterinary medicine. Celebrate you, celebrate us, celebrate veterinary technicians this week and every day.”

A version of this story appears in the October 2023 print issue of JAVMA

The AVMA has information and tips on empowering veterinary technicians, veterinary technologists, and veterinary technician specialists so they may use all of their skills and education.