"Veterinary Nurse" Gathers Steam as New Term

"Veterinary Nurse" Gathers Steam as New Term for Veterinary Technician Profession

March 07, 2016

James Hurrell, DVM, Director, Veterinary Academy at Penn Foster, and Thought Leader in Veterinary Medicine, Endorses NAVTA’s Proposed Change from Current "Veterinary Technician"

LAS VEGAS, NV (March 7, 2016) — James Hurrell, DVM and Director of the Veterinary Academy at Penn Foster, today endorsed NAVTA’s initiative to elevate the status of the profession of ‘veterinary technician’ to ‘veterinary nurse.’ Dr. Hurrell declared the new term will “bring more understanding and respect to the people that assist veterinarians with the healthcare of animals.”

Dr. Hurrell announced his endorsement at the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC), which opened today in Las Vegas. He is attending the conference with many colleagues and students from the Veterinary Academy at Penn Foster, which under Dr. Hurrell’s leadership over the last four years, has built one of the most widely respected and attended programs in the nation.

“This proposed change to ‘veterinary nurse’ has been gaining momentum for a while, both for practical reasons within the field of veterinary medicine, and also for reasons of professional standing and recognition for individual practitioners,” said Dr. Hurrell.

Penn Foster’s Veterinary Academy director explained that the name change would bring more respect for a profession whose current title is hard to explain to the public, and forge greater understanding of the educational and professional achievements by those who will be called ‘veterinary nurse.’

Today in the field of veterinary medicine, depending on the state an individual works in, the term ‘veterinary technician’ can be used by anyone who has been trained on-the-job, even if he or she has not graduated from an accredited veterinary technician program, and/or not taken the national examination to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. By changing the name of the profession to ‘veterinary nurse’, Dr. Hurrell expects:

  • The term ‘veterinary nurse’ will only be allowed to be used by someone who has graduated from an accredited Veterinary Nursing program and passed the national examination to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN);
  • On-the-job trained veterinary assistants in veterinary practices will not be allowed to call themselves veterinary nurses; and
  • The animal owning public will recognize the term ‘nurse’ and inherently better understand what the job duties entail.

While NAVTA, Dr. Hurrell, and others in the veterinary industry believe this professional name change will take some time, they are heartened that some national publications, such as Veterinary Team Brief Journal, have already taken initiative and have replaced the term ‘veterinary technician’ with ‘veterinary nurse.’

About Dr. James Hurrell
Dr. James Hurrell is Director of the Veterinary Academy at Penn Foster College, where he helms the AVMA-accredited Veterinary Technician Associate Degree program, one of nine online programs recognized by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. Known to his students and colleagues as “Dr. Jim,” Dr. Hurrell holds more than 30 years of experience as a veterinary technician program director and has taught at community colleges and colleges in Michigan, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Penn Foster, Dr. Jim developed and sustained veterinary technician programs as Program Director at Macomb Community College in Michigan, and at Delgado Community College in Louisiana where he was honored as “Teacher of the Year” and “Endowed Professor,” respectively. Most recently, Dr. Jim received the United States Distance Learning Association International Leadership Award for his notable work at Penn Foster as a distance learning professional in a blended-learning environment. Dr. Jim holds his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Degree from Michigan State University.

About Penn Foster
Students, employers and partner organizations rely on Penn Foster to build the skills and knowledge to power the 21st century workforce. For over 125 years, Penn Foster has been dedicated to helping people lead more meaningful and productive lives and to improving social outcomes through education. Penn Foster provides career pathways for opportunity youth and adult learners through diverse and affordable online diploma, certificate and degree programs, offered via its high school, career school and college. With more than 30,000 graduates each year, Penn Foster’s online and blended learning programs are delivered in a self-paced, competency-based model wrapped by comprehensive academic, professional and personal support and coaching. For more information, visit http://www.pennfoster.edu.


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