Veterinary technician becomes Tennessee medical board VP
Janet Jones, LVMT, spent years working with the Tennessee Veterinary Technicians Association and the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association to get their support in having a technician on the licensing board. “We faced a lot of opposition,” Jones says. “There were some veterinarians who felt that licensed technicians didn’t have a place on the board. They didn’t want us monitoring them. They didn’t feel like we were qualified.”
But that resistance didn’t deter Jones, who is the third licensed technician to serve on the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and is its current vice president. It just didn’t make sense to Jones not to have a technician on the board. “Taxation without representation,” she says. “Technicians weren’t allowed a vote but were still regulated by the board.” It took some time, and serious effort, but eventually Jones says veterinarians began to see the logic behind including veterinary technicians.
Part—if not most—of the problem, was getting veterinarians to take technicians seriously as equal professionals. To gain the respect they deserved, Jones knew technicians would need to demonstrate their interest and professionalism. Jones and fellow crusaders started by attending the state board meetings.
“If you live in a sunshine state, where state meetings must be open to the public, there should be a technician listening at every meeting,” she says. “It applies to you. You must show an interest.” Jones also joined the state veterinary association. “As a member of the organization, I was able to work with their lobbiest.”
Although Jones has helped take the technician profession to a new level in Tennessee, she says the profession nationally still has a ways to go. “Some states don’t regulate veterinary technicians,” she says. “Some states don’t even have technicians written into their practice acts. And some states don’t have any technician programs.”
Technicians need to push for those goals, Jones says. “Each state will move at its own pace, but you can help set that pace by defining the role that technicians play in veterinary medicine," she says. "Because we do have a role in veterinary medicine and we need to take responsibility for it.”