Viewpoints

Technician, not nurse

In the April/May 2019 edition of Today’s Veterinary Business, the editor’s commentary [“In support of ‘nurses’ ”] wholeheartedly supports the nationalization of the term “veterinary nurse.” In my small, decidedly unscientific poll of the LVTs employed at my clinic, none support or appreciate this new terminology.

In human medicine, the term “nurse” applies to the person doing the nursing care. It doesn’t apply to the person assisting in dental procedures (that’s a dental technician) or the person drawing blood samples (phlebotomist) or the person taking radiographs (radiology technician) or performing ultrasound studies (ultrasonagrapher). It doesn’t include the laboratory technician who performs blood tests or urinalyses or cytologies. It doesn’t include the person who stocks the pharmacy shelves, fills prescriptions or goes over the dosing instructions with the client (pharmacy technician).

In short, using the term “nurse” to encompass veterinary technicians gives laypeople a very limited perspective on exactly how many roles those technicians play within the realm of veterinary practices.

With all due respect to the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, my technicians will continue to be referred to as technicians, and that’s the way they want it!

Dr. Limberg is the owner and senior veterinarian at Riverview Veterinary Center in St. Clair, Michigan.

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