vet techs using the term nurse - page 9

what do you guys think of the growing controversy of vet techs calling themselves nurses?... Read More

  1. by   vettech
    Originally posted by Lisa DaS
    Correction; I meant to say, please don't be offended if some vet techs use the term as we do provide nursing care in our field. We don't have all the various caregivers. We have techs and vet assistants and that's it. If animals are getting nursing care, and the techs are the only ones providing it, than I would say we are not called 'nurses' because our work is not respected, not because we aren't providing nursing care. That right there is 30% of why I'm switching to human medicine.
    Hear hear! As a Registered Veterinary Technician, I thank you for standing up for our profession. I too am leaving due to the lack of pay and respect.

    If you knew how many times I've heard "Wow, this place is like a REAL hospital", you'd cry. The intruments I use are designed for humans, the IV pumps I run are designed for humans, the meds (90%) are straight from a human pharmacy, not veterinary specific.

    I provide all the same care, love, and expertise to my patients as any RN. I perform the same procedures on my patients as human nurses perform on their patients. I have a 2 year degree, sat state and national boards and am required CE hours in order to maintain my license. There is no reason NOT to call me a nurse.

    Just as "doctor" is not exclusive to MDs but to anyone with a PhD, so "nurse" should not be specific to the care of humans. It is the role we perform that should be the guide.
  2. by   vettech
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    I wish you well in your pursuit of a nursing career. However, if seeking respect is a substantial reason for your entry to the field of registered nursing, you are likely to sorely disappointed!!! There's not much to be found, oftentimes. That is why you see people like me (annoying as hell) fighting so hard for what little respect we DO have. Good luck to you!:kiss
    Deb,
    While I disagree with your position regarding the word "nurse", I have to say this - with your evident passion for the profession of nursing, I recognize you are a great asset to the profession. People such as yourself can band togheter and make a real difference. However, I think this is a battle that is not worth the effort.

    Veterinary Technicians are in the same boat as nurses. We get all the work and none of the respect or pay. We do all the hands on and the doctor gets the praise and love from the patient (or client in our case). How many times have I worked an overnight caring for a critical patient, not daring to even walk away for a moment for fear it would crash. Then the owner arrives and thanks the VET for all the help, knowing I was the one "bedside" all night while the vet was at home, 30 miles away, sleeping.

    RVTs and RNs should be oworking together, not against one another. Neither one of us needs another hassle and we can improve the perception of both professions if we tried.
  3. by   KC CHICK
    I have no problem with vet 'nurses' using the term nurse. This discussion is very tired.

    If the word "nurse" is the only thing that defines who we are....then we are in trouble. Titles don't make us who we are. It's what we do that makes us who we are. I'm sorry some of you are so threatened by someone using a mere "coveted" word to describe themselves.

    Like I said in Suzy's last soapbox thread about this subject.....people know the difference. Ahem, we work in a hospital or elsewhere in the community caring for - HUMANS. It's pretty obvious that we're not in the vet clinic taking care of ANIMALS. Even if the same titile is used, "vet" is still in front of the word "nurse". One can definately be distinguished from the other.

    A nurse by any other name...is still a nurse. If we were given a different title, we'd still be doing the exact same things we're doing now.
    People, choose your battles wisely....this one just wastes energy. Energy that could be better spent in a larger, more imortant battle.

    AnneYou earn respect with actions, not with a title.
    Last edit by KC CHICK on Jan 21, '03
  4. by   vettech
    Originally posted by Susy K

    The term nurse is much more than how many years of school or that you start IVs, draw blood and do other psychomotor skills. Nurse is much, much, much MORE than that. I wish people could understand that.
    Actually, I'd like to. What I truly want to understand is why I cannot call myself a nurse? I know that nursing is much more than the simple skills listed on a resume. It is compassion, caring, feeling their pain, crying with them, holding them - it is being a CAREGIVER.

    I can (and have) listed my many skills I use in my daily practice. But what cannot be listed is what I believe you are alluding to... the nurturing aspect. I have sat and held a client who had her animal die and cried with her. I have felt the sorrow of losing one you felt sure was going to make it and second-guessing all the things you think you could have done differently that might have mafde a difference. I have felt the relief of seeing one go that you knew was suffering horribly. I have also felt the joy of discharging a patient that, a week earlier, you didn't think would last another hour.

    If what I just described isn't nursing, I'd like to hear a better description.
  5. by   vettech
    Originally posted by RN2B2005
    I worked as a licenced veterinary technician for almost five years, and still maintain my licence and do per diem work on occasion. I encourage you to visit the North American Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA) website to learn more about LICENCED veterinary technicians.

    To those who think that veterinary technicians are uneducated or don't go through the same amount of schooling that RN's go through, consider this: To sit for the voluntary national NAVTA boards (similar to the NCLEX-RN, except the examination covers everything from cattle to guinea pigs), you must either graduate with an A.A.Sc. or B.Sc. in veterinary technology from a NAVTA-accredited school, or you must work in the field full-time for a minimum of five years and then sit for the exam. Sound familiar?

    Veterinary technicians do everything RN's do, and more. We ARE the pharmacist (most vets have in-office drug stocks, so the NAVTA exam covers drug compounding), the anesthetist (ever seen an anesthesiologist at a spay/neuter clinic?), the x-ray tech (only we shoot the films while resting our heads against the collimator, trying to keep an angry Rottweiler from chewing through our lead aprons), and the physical labor (ever wondered how that Great Dane gets on the operating table?). And for all this, the AVERAGE salary for a licenced veterinary technician after FIVE YEARS in practice (and the two or four year degree) is only $24,000 per year (incidentally, the average veterinarian after five years in practice, and with the same amount of schooling as a physician, makes less than $50,000 per year). Not surprisingly, very few licenced veterinary technicians--including myself--stay in the field for more than ten years.

    Why? Because pet owners will only pay X amount of dollars for their dog or cat's care--after all, the vet is just trying to rip you off, right? I mean, any idiot can do a total oopherectomy/hysterectomy on a neonatal patient--oh, wait, I mean a spay on a four-pound kitten.

    Unfortunately, there is no MANDATORY nationwide (or even, in some states, statewide) educational requirement for 'vet techs'. The only national body is NAVTA, and although some states--like Washington--do licence and define the scope of practice of veterinary technicians, most states will let any idiot off the street call themselves a 'vet tech' or 'vet assistant'. Many veterinarians, primarily due to financial constraints, hire uneducated lay assistants, some with no experience with veterinary medical care beyond playing dress-up in elementary school. Most pet owners either don't understand or don't care whether or not the person administering the halothane to Fido (or shooting the x-ray, or drawing the blood) has a licence or any experience.

    As a veterinary technician, I usually received blank stares when I mentioned what I did for a living. More than once, I was asked if that meant I cleaned kennels or hauled out the trash (yes--in addition to bagging vent patients, monitoring post-anesthesia patients, and running blood). Using the term 'veterinary nurse'--always with the 'veterinary' modifier--generally cleared up the confusion. In some countries, especially Great Britain, the term 'veterinary nurse' is a legitimate title, and appears on the licence.

    So, don't be so quick to take umbrage at vet techs who try to clarify their job duties by saying "I'm a veterinary nurse." Simply rephrase the statement--"so, you're a licenced veterinary technician?"--and congratulate yourself for choosing a veterinarian with enough sense to hire, and pay, someone who sat through the same classes you did.

    RN's and LPN's should pick fights with people who call CNA's and HHA's and unlicenced lay people "nurse", and realise that vet techs aren't trying to usurp the title--vet techs have had it all along.

    Well said! I'm saving that one!
  6. by   vettech
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    As an RN, I know much better than to do such a thing to an animal, cause you see I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between MYSELF and a VETERANARIAN and/or VET TECH, and know my limitations. ARE YOU SAYING THIS IS THE RULE W/YOUR CLIENTS????? I can't believe that RN's as a rule (or MD's for that matter) would as a rule do such things!
    "As a rule", no. But RNs and MDs do try to treat their animals using humans as the baseline far more often than lay-people do.
    Her example of Tylelol is very common... at the specialty practice I work at, I see it at least once a month. The phrase "knows just enough to be dangerous" comes to mind. Assuming a cat is simply a small human can be fatal.

    However, I think the orignal poster was a bit harsh. One of my best clients is an MSN, her SO is an MD. Most of my RN and MD clients are great!

    I like working with the human medical pros because I can be more specific with them. I rarely have to explain medical concepts to them, except where there is a difference in physiology. Techs spend so much of our time in client education, you have no idea how wonderful it can be to walk in and not have to find ways to explain things. It takes 1/4 the time it does with a layman. When I send home a newly diagnosed diabetic cat, the chat takes even less time. Usually all I have to tell them is how much insulin, of what type and how often. Human medical pros are usually better about giving meds on time and getting them back in for rechecks than lay-people as well.

    I have been fortunate that many of the RNs I've encountered when I was ill also understood the similarities between our two professions so didn't "dumb things down" when expaining my condition or meds.
  7. by   vettech
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    So, the majority of animal abuse such as this is committed by RN's? Just curious, I cannot imagine an RN being so stupid and abusive! Before I forget, do you recommend PET INSURANCE? does your office accept any of it? JUST CURIOUS! thinking of insuring my 2 year old GOLDEN while she is young and healthy.
    Its worthless... save your money. I've yet to see a plan I'd spend my hard earned dinero on.
  8. by   vettech
    Originally posted by fab4fan
    The post about RN's treating animals made me think of something that happened to me a few years ago.

    My cat got sick and needed to stay overnight at the animal hosp. for s.c. IV's. The next day, the vet offered me the option of taking him home and doing the last day of infusions myself because I was a nurse (not my idea...his).

    I figured, "Well, I guess it won't be that hard to manage." After all, he was still a little slow from being sick.

    Ha ha ha. Fifteen minutes later, blood dripping everywhere (mine, not his), I decided I would much rather put an IV in a 2y old than an elderly cat. He seemed to have 16 paws, five heads, and for a cat that had several teeth extracted, plenty of teeth left over.
    I called the vet and said, "If he can fight me that hard, then I think it probably won't kill him to skip the last day of infusions."

    The vet agreed, and eventually my cat and I were on speaking terms again.

    (Sorry about that messed up post!)
    You'd be amazed at how often I was GLAD I was being bitten or scratched simply because it meant the animal was BETTER!
  9. by   kittyw
    I almost cringe at the thought of replying to this thread when it seems that we've heard a lot from both sides .... but I've started volunteering at the local humane society - and it really gives me a different (but same) outlook on this discussion.

    I am nursing my clients ... a lot of these descriptions of what vet techs do has relied upon clinical descion-making skills and the main criticism I've seen (besides the "it hurts our field") is that the vet techs do not deal with psycosocial issues. You couldn't be further from the truth!

    Where I'm volunteering .... the animals come in... they are afraid and nervous. I have to critically think ... is this the dog's normal baseline personality (does he normally bite or is an aggressive animal) or is this animal afraid, nervous, hurt, etc (and we can work with him). Is the dog (or cat) having problems with his pen mate? Sometimes the dog or cat just doesn't like one of the animals.... sometimes it is a matter of the other sex of the animal. We actively work with all members of the team (the vet, vet techs, kennel asst., dog walkers, managers) to promote the health and well-being of the animals. We go over case studies .... we work and follow up on behavioral/emotional issues of the animals.

    We are visited by the vet once a week. We have to make clinical decisions about post-op surgery complications, illnesses, course of treatment.

    We work with the adopting families to see if the dog/cat will interact well in their new environment. We provide education about how to help the animals get used to their new environment.

    Those of you who do not have experience in both fields cannot truly appreciate the level of nursing care that goes into these animals.
  10. by   Ortho_RN
    well kitty.. I think you pretty well summed it up...
  11. by   TheBrainMusher
    I guess I have a more modern outlook on it. The caring of living beings would be nursing, as people say there are many aspects and if you are going to fight about a title btw licensed vet techs and licenses nurses I feel bad for you. There are many similarities, can't it be left at that? This is why I think the nursing field will never get to level it should ... too much pettiness, not enough logistics. We have to stay together, not work apart ... One can only dream
  12. by   Agnus
    Oh good gracious. I don't have time to go thought all these posts but so far I have not seen anyone address this except to voice an opinion.
    THE FACTS ARE "NURSE" is a LEGALLY PROTECTED TITLE. So it matters little what you think you should be able to call yourself. If you get caught and turned in you could be in big trouble with the law.
  13. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    originally posted by agnus
    oh good gracious. i don't have time to go thought all these posts but so far i have not seen anyone address this except to voice an opinion.
    the facts are "nurse" is a legally protected title. so it matters little what you think you should be able to call yourself. if you get caught and turned in you could be in big trouble with the law.
    ...if various state boards weren't considering starting or instituting the license of vet nurses. agnus, because you didn't bother to take the time & read the entire thread, you've missed one important point. many universities are offering bachelors in veterinary nursing (uk program); thereby, legally allowing said individuals whom completes that very specific course to sit for their state board license & be called vet nurses...licensed or registered.

    i believe the point of this thread was to get the opinions of lpns & rns on the term "nurse" being used with the *veterinary* being the qualifier before the title "nurse".

    so you see agnus, veterinary nurse *is* a legal & protected title because various state boards *are* making it so. perhaps you should take the time-out & read through the thread before responding to it with obvious emotions...you'd be surprised at the amount of classes that this program requires. the folks that go through this program understand & are aware that they can't practice on humans...just like the lpns/rns know that they can't practice on animals just because they have their licenses...it goes both ways. i'm not having a go at you...just wanted you to understand what this thread was about. here's information that nrskarenrn
    so graciously providedpa house bill no. 1418 session of 1999. here her link to the pa bill. nrskarenrn also provided us with a link to the british veterinary nursing association website...incase you miss it. hope this helps.

    i have to agree with someone else who said that we nurses should be concern with upas calling themselves nurses than folks whom are actually going through a vet nursing program that is designed to legally allow them to hold a vet nurse license.

    cheers!
    moe.
    Last edit by SKM-NURSIEPOOH on Jan 21, '03

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