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Nurse initiative gains early victory in Ohio

A House committee endorses identifying veterinary technicians as nurses.

Nurse initiative gains early victory in Ohio

Ohio is vying to become the first state to make “veterinary nurse” the official title of veterinary technicians.

The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on April 11 voted 14-1 in favor of a bill that has the wide support of the U.S. veterinary profession. The legislation now goes to the full House and potentially to the Senate and to Ohio’s governor for his signature. The timetable is uncertain.

“Given that we’re still early in the stages, while we are seeing success, it might be a little early for a huge celebration,” said Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM), co-chairman of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative.

The campaign to standardize the credentials held by registered, certified and licensed veterinary technicians across the United States is led by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), where Yagi serves an executive board member. Among other supporters are the North American Veterinary Community — publisher of Today’s Veterinary Business — Banfield Pet Hospital, Royal Canin USA and the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Backers say that formally identifying a qualified team member as a “registered veterinary nurse” rather than as a technician would unify the profession and help correct the misconception that technicians play a minor role in veterinary medicine.

Getting licensing bodies and legislatures to make the change in all 50 states could take up to 10 years, NAVTA has said.

Ohio House Bill 501 defines a registered veterinary nurse, or RVN, as “a person who is a graduate of a veterinary technology college approved by the state veterinary medical licensing board, has successfully passed an examination approved by the board and maintains registration eligibility status in accordance with rules adopted by the board.”

The measure is opposed by the 170,000-member Ohio Nurses Association. The organization testified before the House committee and asked its members to tell legislators to jettison the bill.

“ONA argued that the term ‘nurse’ is legally defined as caring for humans and that no other person or profession may insinuate they practice as a nurse,” the association reported on its website.

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