Purdue says ‘yes’ to Veterinary Nurse Initiative

A coalition of supporters wants 'registered veterinary nurse' as the common title for veterinary technicians.

Purdue says ‘yes’ to Veterinary Nurse Initiative

Support is building across the veterinary industry to make “registered veterinary nurse” the standard title and credential in the U.S. veterinary technician field.

The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine on Feb. 23 became the latest entity to endorse the coalition-driven Veterinary Nurse Initiative.

“The credential of registered veterinary nurse is understood by the public and would significantly improve the awareness and recognition of the highly valuable skills these professionals bring to the veterinary team,” said Purdue’s veterinary college dean, Willie Reed, DVM, Ph.D., DACVP, DACPV. “Now is the time to work toward adoption of a single credential, state by state.”

Launched in 2016 by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, the initiative aims to replace a mishmash of titles with the universal label “registered veterinary nurse” (RVN). Today, depending on the state where they work, veterinary technicians may be “certified” (CVT), “licensed” (LVT) or “registered” (RVT), and some go by “licensed veterinary medical technician” (LVMT).

Purdue joins a growing list of RVN supporters. In recent months, industry heavyweights such as Petplan, Banfield Pet Hospital, Royal Canin USA, BluePearl Veterinary Partners and MWI Animal Health endorsed the Veterinary Nurse Initiative. The Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which like Purdue operates a veterinary technician program, came out in favor of the initiative in October 2017.

Also onboard is the North American Veterinary Community, publisher of Today’s Veterinary Business. The NAVC peer-reviewed journal Today’s Veterinary Technician changed its name to Today’s Veterinary Nurse beginning with the Winter 2018 issue.

“NAVC and the Veterinary Innovation Council have been enthusiastic supporters of the initiative to recognize our credentialed vet techs as registered veterinary nurses,” said NAVC CEO Tom Bohn, CAE. “The profession deserves this, and it will help pet owners understand the value and training of these key members of the pet health care team.

“Major universities across the country are showing their support for this campaign, and we will continue to help in any way we can,” said Bohn, who also serves as chairman of the Veterinary Innovation Council board of directors.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America acknowledges that persuading state legislatures to approve the title change will take time.

“We are currently working in Ohio and Tennessee, where we have introduced legislative bills to start the national change, and are working with supporters in each state,” said Kenichiro Yagi, RVT, VTS, a member of NATVA’s executive board and co-chairman of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative.

More information about the Veterinary Nurse Initiative is available through NAVTA at