Empowering Veterinary Nurses and Technicians


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NAVC initiative aims to help veterinary nurses and technicians reach their full potential.

It’s no secret that when the whole veterinary team – from the staff and technicians to the practice owner – is fully engaged, the practice will see greater staff satisfaction, greater efficiency and ultimately better patient care and happier clients. But creating an optimal work culture doesn’t happen without a concerted effort.

NAVC has addressed a key component with its Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative. In January, the organization introduced its initiative at VMX 2022 to a standing-room-only crowd of veterinary nurses, technicians, practice members and industry leaders. “According to NAVC industry research, veterinary nurses and technicians use only 30% – less than one-third – of the competencies they are educated in and taught to perform,” said NAVC CEO Gene O’Neill. “By elevating their roles within the practice and educating consumers about the breadth of their capabilities and education, we can maximize the contributions veterinary nurses and technicians can make to their practices and overall animal healthcare.

Veterinary nurse caring for a bat.
Veterinary nurse caring for a bat.

“The NAVC Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative encompasses a broad range of programs geared toward helping veterinary nurses and technicians reach their full potential and contribute at the level at which they have been educated and trained,” O’Neill continued. “These programs ultimately will lead to greater utilization of veterinary nurses/technicians within practices, higher compensation, greater job satisfaction and better mental health and well-being. Through the Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative, we also seek to empower veterinary nurses and technicians to become leaders and effect change for themselves and for future generations of their profession.”

The NAVC initiative also focuses on educating consumers and pet owners about the role of veterinary nurses and technicians, he added. “A national survey of pet owners, commissioned by the NAVC as part of our initiative, showed that the majority of pet owners are unaware of the essential and advanced role that veterinary nurses and technicians play in providing healthcare to our animals. By educating pet owners about their role, we can build greater trust and further maximize the ability of veterinary nurses and technicians to contribute.”

Veterinary nurses caring for a bunny.
Veterinary nurses caring for a bunny.

Initiative highlights

While the title “nurse” reflects the level of education and contribution of these veterinary professionals, as a global organization, NAVC relies on both “veterinary nurse” (which is commonly used in countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) and “technician” to describe them. “We support initiatives to standardize the education and credentialing requirements of this role,” said O’Neill.

Key programs promoted within the Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative include the following:

  • Annual Global Veterinary Nurse Virtual Summit, Level Up: Veterinary Nurses & Technicians. This program provides veterinary nurses and technicians worldwide free continuing education from global leaders across the veterinary industry.
  • Veterinary Nurse Empowerment Webinar Series. A new three-part interactive webinar series addresses key issues facing the veterinary nurse/technician by industry leaders. Topics center on recognition and well-being; compensation and turnover; and utilization.
  • “Clinic Champions” series in Today’s Veterinary Nurse. In each quarterly issue, “Today’s Veterinary Nurse” and Midmark will honor a veterinary nurse for their contributions to community service, scholarship, advocacy or innovation. One of the four honorees will be recognized as the Clinic Champion of the Year and receive an all-inclusive trip to VMX 2023 in Orlando, Florida.
  • Veterinary Nurse Mentorship Program. This virtual mentorship program will help new veterinary nurses and technicians entering the field learn and grow from seasoned professionals.
  • First of its kind National Consumer Awareness and Education Campaign. Sponsored by VCA Animal Hospitals, with support from NAVTA, this campaign will create greater consumer understanding of the role of veterinary nurses and technicians and the expansive skills and education they bring to practices. The goal is to change pet owners’ perceptions about veterinary nurses and technicians so they feel more confident and accepting of having a qualified, certified veterinary technician or nurse care for their loved ones.
  • NAVC Institute Courses. The NAVC Institute introduces new courses specifically for veterinary technicians and nurses. This immersive education allows veterinary nurses/technicians to learn side by side with industry experts and veterinarians, supporting the entire veterinary team, and promoting a team approach to medicine and patients.
  • Career Advancement Guide Series and Career Guide. The NAVC’s industry-leading publications, “Today’s Veterinary Nurse” and “Today’s Veterinary Business,” have launched a new series of features and columns dedicated to personal and professional development, along with a digital Career Advancement Guide.


The NAVC introduced the Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative at VMX 2022.
The NAVC introduced the Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative at VMX 2022.

While the Nurse/Technician Empowerment Initiative is expected to move the industry closer toward elevating the role of veterinary nurses and technicians, its success will depend on educating practices. “Veterinarians need to be familiar with their state practice acts to fully utilize the skills that their veterinary technicians can legally participate in,” O’Neill said. “They need time to train together to build trust between practice team members. The revenue and efficiency that empowering technicians bring to practices need to be readily available and widespread. Lastly, we must educate pet owners and animal caretakers, so they fully understand the knowledge and skills of veterinary nurses/technicians and feel comfortable placing their trust and animals’ care in their capable hands.

“When people are working at their peak level – and that goes for professionals in any field – we see greater job satisfaction and better performance. Not only does the individual benefit, but so does the overall practice and, most importantly, the patient and client.”


Photo credit: Copyright © NAVC 2022.