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VEG Names Chief Veterinary Nursing Officer

Kenichiro Yagi is the first person in the United States to hold such a position.

VEG Names Chief Veterinary Nursing Officer
From left, Kenichiro Yagi and Dr. Garret Pachtinger

The 18-hospital Veterinary Emergency Group has hired a chief veterinary nursing officer — a first for the profession in the United States — and a director of critical care education.

The CVNO is Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC) (SAIM), the immediate past president of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. He worked for 17 years at Adobe Animal Hospital in Northern California and in 2016 was both the NAVTA Veterinary Technician of the Year and the California Veterinary Medical Association Outstanding RVT of the Year.

“This newly created position of chief veterinary nursing officer that Ken will fill is the first of its kind within the U.S. veterinary industry,” said David Bessler, VMD, the founder and CEO of Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG).  “This appointment and Ken’s new role reflect the VEG mindset that nurses and technicians are professionals that contribute as equals, specializing in the practice of nursing care.”

Writing in The Veterinary Idealist in 2018, Beth Davidow, DVM, DACVECC, called for the appointment of chief veterinary technician officers.

“Veterinary hospital systems have become larger and more complex, and a voice for the largest section of the workforce is important,” wrote Dr. Davidow, a clinical assistant professor at Washington State University. “Turnover and burnout are huge issues in the profession. We need input from veterinary technician leaders to improve the delivery of care and the quality of the work environment.”

Put in charge of VEG’s critical care education was Garret Pachtinger, VMD, DACVECC, who previously worked at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Levittown, Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Pachtinger will create and run high-quality educational programs in critical care to prepare the VEG team for the critical care aspects of our emergency cases,” Dr. Bessler said. “We are an emergency-only company but many of our cases also need some critical care.”

Veterinary Emergency Group has hospitals in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Texas. The chain is headquartered in Valhalla, New York.


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