Pet Nurse?? - page 5

while i have answered several discussions over the years this is my first thread. my question involves the use of the term "nurse". i thought that the term was protected by law in most states. my... Read More

  1. by   Atl_John
    I felt compelled to write a response to this thread as seeing I used to work for Banfield as a "Pet Nurse", the Lead Pet Nurse to be exact. To answer a lot of the questions on here. YES, corporate does know about the whole "Nurse" thing being copyrighted/illegal to use. It was in one of our training courses that we had to go through. With that being said, using the term PET Nurse does by law delineate between RN-nurse and Pet-nurse. We would often get in trouble if we called ourselves the nurse, however I can tell you it happened alot. The reason they chose to call the Vet. Tech a Pet Nurse was to denote a sense of professionalism to what it was we were doing. It was meant to give the client a sense that we knew what we were doing. Sometimes it was correct, and sometimes it was not. Banfield works off of something called the Cycle of Service. The PN has the most time with the animal, out of a 30 min. cycle the doctor has only 5 mins. The PN is the one who does the assessment of the animal, reports back to the doctor on what is found and then performs the treatments on the animal. These assessments were more indepth at least in my Banfield than I do now on most patients in the hospital. It is all completely computerized, and very easy to use for the most part. As far as our training. As a PN, I was able to do more than I could even think about doing as a nurse. Yes, Anesthesia was our responsibility, I was taught well. I had to read the Anesthesia book given to our doctors before the doctor was satisfied, I had to have memorized the chart on the wall with emergency meds, their dosage rates, etc, and then had to pass a test given by him. I was trained in doing not only general anesthesia using Sevo for maintence and Propofol for induction, but also doing certain blocks (primarily for cats). This was part of my job. I afterall am working on his license as well as my own. We were taught a lot of lab work/pathology. It was not be abnormal for the PN to go and do a sediment stain on urine, identify all the various types of casts/crystals in the urine and report back to the doctor. Often the doctor didn't even look, they took our word for it. Same with differentials or blood work. We did manual diff's at my hospital, and all employees were trained in how to read them, analyze them, etc. We had a very large book right there if we saw something we didn't understand or know. It was used quite often but we learned alot, and helped save some lives because of it. Radiology, I don't know many that are able to read X-rays, PN's can, we did at our hospital. Surgery, I've spayed a dog or two here and there.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, before you get all pissy about someone putting Nurse into the title of their name, first try to get an idea of what they actually go throught. I'm a RVT, but I also have a bachelors in another field, and now am getting my BSN. Not a single PN in my hospital had something less than a BS. While there are some that do, the same could be said about ADN's ohh they only have an associates, would you really want someone in the ICU or the ER assessing you with only a AD instead of a BS. Come on now. Let them use their term, and we can use ours. You can tell the difference between a Pet Nurse and a RN.
  2. by   pagandeva2000
    I want to take my hat off to you and offer you high praise as well as a high five for all that you do. :angel2:

    Quote from Atl_John
    I felt compelled to write a response to this thread as seeing I used to work for Banfield as a "Pet Nurse", the Lead Pet Nurse to be exact. To answer a lot of the questions on here. YES, corporate does know about the whole "Nurse" thing being copyrighted/illegal to use. It was in one of our training courses that we had to go through. With that being said, using the term PET Nurse does by law delineate between RN-nurse and Pet-nurse. We would often get in trouble if we called ourselves the nurse, however I can tell you it happened alot. The reason they chose to call the Vet. Tech a Pet Nurse was to denote a sense of professionalism to what it was we were doing. It was meant to give the client a sense that we knew what we were doing. Sometimes it was correct, and sometimes it was not. Banfield works off of something called the Cycle of Service. The PN has the most time with the animal, out of a 30 min. cycle the doctor has only 5 mins. The PN is the one who does the assessment of the animal, reports back to the doctor on what is found and then performs the treatments on the animal. These assessments were more indepth at least in my Banfield than I do now on most patients in the hospital. It is all completely computerized, and very easy to use for the most part. As far as our training. As a PN, I was able to do more than I could even think about doing as a nurse. Yes, Anesthesia was our responsibility, I was taught well. I had to read the Anesthesia book given to our doctors before the doctor was satisfied, I had to have memorized the chart on the wall with emergency meds, their dosage rates, etc, and then had to pass a test given by him. I was trained in doing not only general anesthesia using Sevo for maintence and Propofol for induction, but also doing certain blocks (primarily for cats). This was part of my job. I afterall am working on his license as well as my own. We were taught a lot of lab work/pathology. It was not be abnormal for the PN to go and do a sediment stain on urine, identify all the various types of casts/crystals in the urine and report back to the doctor. Often the doctor didn't even look, they took our word for it. Same with differentials or blood work. We did manual diff's at my hospital, and all employees were trained in how to read them, analyze them, etc. We had a very large book right there if we saw something we didn't understand or know. It was used quite often but we learned alot, and helped save some lives because of it. Radiology, I don't know many that are able to read X-rays, PN's can, we did at our hospital. Surgery, I've spayed a dog or two here and there.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, before you get all pissy about someone putting Nurse into the title of their name, first try to get an idea of what they actually go throught. I'm a RVT, but I also have a bachelors in another field, and now am getting my BSN. Not a single PN in my hospital had something less than a BS. While there are some that do, the same could be said about ADN's ohh they only have an associates, would you really want someone in the ICU or the ER assessing you with only a AD instead of a BS. Come on now. Let them use their term, and we can use ours. You can tell the difference between a Pet Nurse and a RN.
  3. by   nursemike
    I don't mean to nurse a grudge, but it seems to me that the idea of using "Pet Nurse" to convey a degree of professionalism underlines the very need to protect the title. Nurses have worked long and hard to be recognized as something other than menial servants--and most of us would likely agree our success has been less than complete.
    I have several friends with MA training. They say the level of difficulty of their classes is comparable to that of an LPN. Indeed, until a couple of years ago, some online LPN-RN classes accepted MAs as equivalent to an LPN. Having never been an LPN or MA, I can't compare their training, but I know MAs take versions of many of the courses I took for my ASN, plus courses related to office management. My guess would be that LPN school is tougher--the LPNs I've known have been sharp. But I respect the skills and knowledge of MAs, even though around here many wind up taking jobs as nurses' aides. For that matter, I have a world of respect for a good aide.
    BUT, they ain't nurses, and I wouldn't approve of them calling themselves nurses.
    I don't want to be petty about it, but I can no longer ignore the 900 lb gorilla that distinguishes a so-called pet nurse from an actual nurse. The main reason we nurses don't do lab work or radiology or--egads!--anesthesia on our clients is that they are people. I love my cats dearly, but if my vet negligently kills one of them, I can sue for the cat's cash value as livestock. If I practice outside my scope on a human, I can be sued for millions and go to jail. Likewise, if a vet tech uses any of these skills they've been trained for on a human being, they're breaking the law.

    In the hospital, there are several jobs which, by law, are subordinate to mine. That doesn't make them inferior to me, it only means I have a degree of authority over them and responsibility for them. Many nurses' aides are wonderful caregivers and fine people, and I'd be stupid to discount their advice or fail to give credit for the work they do. I occassionally "cover" LPNs with vastly more experience than I have, and I'm only partly joking when I define "real world" delegation to an LPN as asking her what she wants me to do and doing it. I have never in my life used the phrase "Let's Play Nurse." I am happy to recognize LPNs as nurses, and not in the least embarassed to admit that the vast majority of LPNs I know are better nurses than I am (for now). On the other hand, if I ever disagreed with an LPN about the care of a patient, I'd have no choice but to stand my ground.

    Nurse midwives, Nurse Practioners, and CNRAs perform many duties which were formerly reserved to doctors, but they don't call themselves doctors.

    If one wants to be recognized as a professional in ones field, I would suggest that the way to go about it is to adopt and practice a professional standard of conduct, show respect for oneself and others, an educate the public as to what one does. Appropriating someone else's title is a cheap short cut, and belittling others belies a lack of self respect.
    Last edit by nursemike on Mar 1, '07
  4. by   Atl_John
    I personally hated the title of Pet Nurse while working there, I wish we could have been Vet Techs, not to mention the stupid scrubs with the little puppy dogs, and kittens and children that were playing on them that we had to wear. We really hated the term nurse as we were able to do so much more than an RN could even dream of. I find it very confusing that what these folks who are PN's do is somehow demeaning the term, the actions, etc of a Nurse (RN, LPN, etc). I would think it would be just the opposite.

    The job of the PN is the same as a RN and even to a further extent than an RN, you have no ability to judge if they are AIDES or NURSES....you havn't been on both sides of the fence. I have. We are the advocates for our clients, we are the educators to the parents of the pet. We are the ones who have to know about pharmacology, and disease processes, etc, the list goes on. So far I have yet to find anything in my Nursing courses that is as hard as what I had to learn to be a PN at my hospital.

    I would honestly take a Vet tech putting in an IV line over a RN any day. You try putting a 20g into a 2lb Chihuahua, or hell into a 130lb Akita who you have only shot to do it, before he goes ape and bites the H out of you. Not to mention I can't remember a single time that we ever had a nosocomial infection from any surgery, it is something a lot of us can't say the same for.

    Vet Tech's deserve your respect, you want to learn how to be a better nurse, try being a Vet Tech. You'll learn how to act towards your patient, and most importanly the gentle art of nursing. If you don't you'll get yourself hurt, how many of us can say the same with Human Nursing. If they wish to call themselves PN's let them. They aren't hurting you and those who later on decide to become RN's and drop the Pet in their title, will only help further the good name of "Nurse".
    Last edit by Atl_John on Mar 1, '07
  5. by   nursemike
    Again, I do not suggest, nor intend to imply, that a Vet Tech (or anyone else) is less than a nurse. I merely say they are something other than a nurse, and should not claim to be what they are not.

    I do, however, believe it is the height of gall for someone who is not a nurse to claim to be more qualified as a nurse than a nurse is.
  6. by   Atl_John
    All I'm saying is until you've walked in both shoes you are not able to say if they are or are not a nurse. Having been both, I would say they are and in someways are better than some of the nurses I've seen out in practice today. They never refer to themselves as a NURSE, they refer to themselves as a PET NURSE. BIG difference. And that is exactally what they are, they are nurses and do the job of a nurse but for/to an animal instead of a human.

    They think both independently, and dependent of the doctor. They advocate for the best of the patient, a patient who can't even talk, be it to the doctor or to the parent of the patient. They educate, they evaluate and assess, they lay out plans based on the medical needs/diagnosis of the client. Am I missing something here, how is what they do not being a nurse? This is also just a smallll amount of what they do that a RN doesn't. If you think you can find something that you do as a RN that a PN can't/doesn't do with reference to animals, please by all means be my guest.
  7. by   Fuzzy
    atl_john, thank you for enlightening me on the duties of a banfield petnurse. like i said previously, i'm a certified veterinary technician (cvt) but i have never worked for banfield and i don't know much about their operation. i've only seen their petnurse ads. you have increased my concerns some when you mentioned that you have spayed some dogs. quote from atl_john ... surgery, i've spayed a dog or two here and there. plus you also mentioned that you are an rvt (registered veterinary technician). as you have indicated in your post, there are a lot of duties involved in being a veterinary technician. however there are three things that technicians are not allowed to do by law period:
    1. make a diagnosis or prognosis.
    2. prescribe any treatment, medication, and/or appliance.
    3. perform surgery.
    this three things are written in every veterinary practice act throughout the us whether that state recognizes credentialed (program educated) technicians or not. granted there may be some "grey areas" as there probably are i'm sure in the nursing profession but there is no getting around that performing an abdominal surgery, an ovariohysterectomy, a canine spay is surgery. if banfield is allowing their petnurses to perform surgery...wow i'm speechless. i'm surprised that you as as rvt took them up on the offer as those three things are pounded and pounded into your head while in school as well as presented on state and national exams. surgery is not to be performed unless one has a dvm or vmd behind their name. wow banfield's credibility is getting lower in my mind if this is true hopefully you ment assisting in surgery which is allowed.

    fuzzy
  8. by   ZippyGBR
    from a right-pondian perspective

    the title 'Nurse' is not enclosed but a variety of titles including Nurse as a main part are ...

    e.g. Registered Nurse and the historic titles Such a State Registered Nurse, Registered General Nurse, Registered Mental Nurse, Enrolled Nurse ....

    the Veterinary Nurses, Dental Nurses and NNEB Nursery Nurses while not on the NMC register have their own professional bodies who try to protect their titles in the same way the NMC protects Registered Nurse, Enrolled nurse and the historic titles of RNs ... Depending on the criteria for qualification i have no problem with Veterinary Nurses being referred to as such as long as they don't make out to be people Nurses and vice versa...

    Uk Veterinary Nurses are registered with the RCVS - who are the same body who register and accredit Veterinary Surgeons...

    http://www.rcvs.org.uk/Templates/Int...p?NodeID=89632
    Last edit by ZippyGBR on Mar 2, '07 : Reason: spelling and stuff
  9. by   Cattitude
    Quote from fuzzy
    however there are three things that technicians are not allowed to do by law period:
    1. make a diagnosis or prognosis.
    2. prescribe any treatment, medication, and/or appliance.
    3. perform surgery.
    this three things are written in every veterinary practice act throughout the us whether that state recognizes credentialed (program educated) technicians or not. granted there may be some "grey areas" as there probably are i'm sure in the nursing profession but there is no getting around that performing an abdominal surgery, an ovariohysterectomy, a canine spay is surgery. if banfield is allowing their petnurses to perform surgery...
    fuzzy
    this shocked me as well. and fuzzy, maybe you could point me to a vet/animal board where i could ask this? i now have concerns about when i take my cats in for care.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]are they treated by the tech only? is this person certified at all?
    [color=#483d8b]my last vet let me stay in the treatment room while he the dr. administered the shots and exam. i have no problem with a tech doing this as long as it's not someone off the street with no training.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]i guess ajohns post scared me a bit; especially when my animals need more extensive treatment.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]
  10. by   CritterLover
    Quote from casbeezgirlrn
    this shocked me as well. and fuzzy, maybe you could point me to a vet/animal board where i could ask this? i now have concerns about when i take my cats in for care.

    [color=#483d8b]are they treated by the tech only? is this person certified at all?
    [color=#483d8b]my last vet let me stay in the treatment room while he the dr. administered the shots and exam. i have no problem with a tech doing this as long as it's not someone off the street with no training.

    [color=#483d8b]i guess ajohns post scared me a bit; especially when my animals need more extensive treatment.



    i think you'll probably have to ask your vet those questions, because it is very individual.

    my vet has one assistant-- no experience that i know of, but she also has a limited role. she truely "assists." he does his own blood draws, looks under the microscope himself. she may shoot the xrays, or run some of the blood tests on the machines, i'm not sure. he will occasionally have interns -- vet or pre-vet students, that do a whole lot more.

    that isn't the case in all vet clinics. i've used other vets in the past where the techs did almost all of the hands-on care, the vet did the major surgeries (techs did neuters and dentals) and saw clients in the exam rooms.

    my personal experience is that the smaller clinics are likely to have more direct care by the vet, where the larger places are more likely to have the techs do more of the tasks.
  11. by   nursemike
    Quote from Atl_John
    All I'm saying is until you've walked in both shoes you are not able to say if they are or are not a nurse. Having been both, I would say they are and in someways are better than some of the nurses I've seen out in practice today. They never refer to themselves as a NURSE, they refer to themselves as a PET NURSE. BIG difference. And that is exactally what they are, they are nurses and do the job of a nurse but for/to an animal instead of a human.

    They think both independently, and dependent of the doctor. They advocate for the best of the patient, a patient who can't even talk, be it to the doctor or to the parent of the patient. They educate, they evaluate and assess, they lay out plans based on the medical needs/diagnosis of the client. Am I missing something here, how is what they do not being a nurse? This is also just a smallll amount of what they do that a RN doesn't. If you think you can find something that you do as a RN that a PN can't/doesn't do with reference to animals, please by all means be my guest.
    I don't dispute that a vet tech performs many of the functions of a nurse on his/her animal patients. My argument is that, by tradition and law, a nurse is someone who cares for people. Like others who've posted here, I suppose I am more offended by non-nurses in human healthcare calling themselves nurses than by so-called "pet nurses" or veternary nurses. I've never had a problem calling a vet "doctor," so I can see some logic in calling those who work with them a nurse.
    Still, it seems to me that a nurseryman (or woman) who performs many of the same functions on plants shouldn't be called a plant nurse. A local mechaninc advertises himself as a "car medic." Even has a red cross on his sign. It seems cute, and no one confuses him for a real medic. But when I was a carpenter, I was proud enough of what I did that it never occured to me to call myself a house doctor or house nurse. Surely no one in healthcare of any form will dispute that our profession ought not be applied to inanimate objects (though I suppose some may argue that it does no harm, since people obviously know the difference and there is no intent to pass oneself off as qualified to treat people.)
    Again, I was prepared at the start of this thread to say sure, there can be veternary nurses just as there are DVMs. But now I'm told that vet techs aren't just nurses, but better than nurses. In human healthcare, a rad tech requires a minimum of 18mos. to 2 yrs. training. Lab tech at least a 2yr degree. CRNA is a masters degree in nursing with two years critical care experience post BSN. RN at least two years. But a vet tech is able to attain these levels of expertise in a 2yr or 4yr program. By golly, that's impressive. Even so, I resent the implication in another post that we send patients to radiology, have phlebotomists draw blood and send it to labs because we're too lazy or stupid to do it ourselves. In my prior position, I spent a lot of time taking patients to tests, and I do firmly believe I could learn to shoot x-rays, or CTs, or MRI's. During my one semster of Micro, I actually toyed with the idea of switching to lab tech or medical technologist. And while I truly appreciate the time phlebotomists save me, the blood draws they can't get, I have to get.

    I have little doubt that experience as a vet tech could be a useful background to enter nursing--assuming one could adapt to our more limited scope of practice. As a matter of fact, I use lessons I learned as a carpenter every day. (Mostly having to do with customer service, since I was self-employed--but I do apply the carpenter's adage "measure twice, cut once" from time to time.) All sorts of life experience have value in nursing. But, again, it seems arrogant to me to suppose I don't know much about the "gentle art of nursing" because I happen to be a lowly nurse.

    Still, maybe it doesn't really matter, that much. Call yourselves nurses. Call yourselves prima ballarinas, for all I care. As I recall, in a thread on titles in the male nursing forum, I was persuaded to adopt the title "Supreme Commander." So I'll just stick with that.
  12. by   Atl_John
    Fuzzy,
    To answer your questions, yes you are absolutly right, we are not allowed to do that, just like a PA is not allowed to lead the surgery, yet they can go down and harvest the saphenous vein by themselves, well isn't that surgery? Its a very very fine line, when does assisting as the PA is doing, become different from leading

    The doctor is still in the room, and he makes the cut, I'm on one side of the table, hes on the other. The line between assisting and doing is very thin. And no, I was not joking when I said, I did the surgery, now granted they were my dogs that I did it on, but I found the horns with the spay hook, I pulled loose the ovarian ligament, and ligated/transfixated them, same with the Cervix. I then sowed up the dog. The doctor is there, hes still in charge, so am I leading or am I the assistant. Tough line to delineate between. We did as techs get to do a cat neuter here and there, and no they were not our animals, but with the vet right there I'm working on his authority and with his guidance. We often had Vet students, first year students, never performed surgery in their life, yet they were allowed to perform surgery on the animals, how is that any different? They don't have DVM, or VMD behind their name. Often they were summer interns with not even a class under their belt. Its no different with teeth cleaning to us its a simple procedure but taking out a baby tooth, that is technically surgery, yet most Vet Techs are more than capable of doing that with a little bit of teaching.

    Every vet is different this vet just happened to have been a Tech in the past and was willing to teach those who showed an ability and desire. He knew exactally the training we had, and the knowledge we already had with our degrees. I know this might sound morbid, but on those animals that had passed away by either natural means or Euthanasia we practiced on with the owners consent. We learned how to do cutdowns, tooth extractions, suturing, etc. Learned a great deal about anatomy, etc from doing these things.

    Every banfield is different and every doctor is different. I would never take my animal there but that is for different reasons all together. Not because I'm worried about the tech doing it. I am not sorry for anything that I did or learned while working there, it has only enhanced greatly my understanding and appreciation of what I do now and what path I wish to pursue in the future.
  13. by   Atl_John
    Critter Lover,
    to answer your questions, any animal board that you go to will say that no its against the law and if you know of a place thats diong it, please let them know. But the burden of proof is great. How can you prove that it was going on, how can you prove it was on this pet or that pet, etc. Do you have video evidence, do you have a affidavit? Do you have the Vet Tech who is willing to state in a legally binding document that they did it.

    I have never seen a Tech do the diagnosis, or prescribe medication, I know it happens but it happens as well in nursing. Now granted we have standing orders well vets can do the same thing. I did have a standing order for pets who were having allergic rxns (IV Catheter, Benedryl IM, and dpending on how bad the pet was Dexamethasone IV) to any vaccine while the vet was away on lunch or out of the office, etc. We have the same sort of thing as RN's with certain things. Now the doctor is the one who decides when this is done and if you have the authority to do that. It took me many years to get to the point they would trust me with that stuff. Not all vet places are like that, not all Banfields are like that. Don't be worried about your animals safety a tech would never do anything to hurt an animal intentionally.

    As for taking techs off the street with no training, it happens, how do you think I got involved. I didn't go to school first, I went to school AFTER I started. I had every intention of being a DVM. Sure they do hire folks off the streeth, but just like new nurses in their first semester they are shown, then you have to do. You can only have so much training in how to give a shot or take blood before you have to just finally "take a stab" at it. Same with reading microscope slides. I know when something is abnormal and when something is normal. I may not know all the time what the abnormal is, but I know enough to go get the VET. That came with YEARS and YEARS of working and experience and seeing stuff over and over and over and anytime something odd came up, me being show the "odd" and then being told what it was.

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