Going Global with Veterinary Technology

Although the existence of veterinary medicine is practically timeless, and there has been formal education provided to participants to earn the necessary degrees and designation as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), the term and position of veterinary technician is fairly new.

The First Attempt in the 30s
Attempts in the early part of the 20th century were made to produce a professional recognition and support organization for individuals working to assist veterinary doctors. This led to the creation in 1933 of an international organization known as the International Veterinary Nurses and Technicians Association. The organization is in existence today and lists among its members the countries of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Technician as a Nurse

Although the term nurse has become synonymous with the term technician in the United States, the two designations remain separate in many parts of the world. In some countries throughout the world the designation technician is not used. The term nurse has been associated with educated professionals who assist DVM s and remains part of the nominal lettering in a person’s designation and/or title. For example, in Australia the term nurse is applied to what is typically called a technician in the States. There are two levels of designation available to veterinary nurses in Australia that are a Qualified Veterinary Nurse who holds what is called a Certificate IV in veterinary nursing and a veterinary nurse who holds a diploma granted from an accredited training program recognized jointly by the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia and the Australian Veterinary Association. These individuals exhibiting excellence in the field of veterinary nursing are awarded the post-nominal letters AVN signifying Accredited Veterinary Nurse.

Assistants and Techs

Throughout the world many countries have national associations that not only monitor and set standards for activity in the field of animal medicine but also grants certification and designation to professional individuals who work in this field but are not educated and credentialed at the physician level. Typically, a one-year course of study leads to certification for employment in a position similar to what is designated as an assistant in the US. A two-year course of study in many nations throughout the world leads to certification for employment is what we call a technician here in the United States. In many of these countries, those designations are termed a Veterinary Nurse Assistant and a Veterinary Nurse.

Three Levels in Great Britain
There are three levels of designation available in Great Britain that can be visually identified by different colored uniforms. The first is that of an Animal Nursing Assistant (ANA) who wear maroon trousers and tunics with white piping. The second are Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN) who wear bottle green tunics with white piping and belong to the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA). RVNs additional formal training to become a BVNA specialist in dentistry or acquire other certification in the form of a diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing in the areas of small animal nursing, equine nursing and veterinary nursing education. These designations are disturbed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Although the initials they change from country to country, veterinary medicine practice has recognized both the global need in the global achievement of individuals dedicated to quality animal healthcare.