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Posted on 03-06-2017
For the first time in years, the veterinary community is considering adding a new position to the field of veterinary medicine. Proponents say that a mid-level position, similar to the nurse practitioner or physician assistant role in human medicine, could expand availability of service, decrease veterinarian burnout and increase revenue.
The Hole in the Middle
The skill gap is large in most veterinary offices. Veterinarians diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, offer well exams and perform surgeries, while veterinarian technicians (VT) obtain specimens, assist in examinations and treatments, perform lab work and offer nursing care, in addition to many other tasks. If your practice is lucky, you also have at least one veterinary technician specialist (VTS) who has received extra training in a particular area of veterinary medicine, such as anesthesia, critical care or dental technology.
Although veterinary technicians and technician specialists perform valuable roles, they are only permitted to support your efforts. Adding a mid-level veterinary professional (MLVP) who can diagnose and treat minor issues can close the gap, allowing you to focus on more complicated problems.
What Would the Mid-Level Veterinary Professional Do?
MLVPs would have many of the same responsibilities of nurse practitioners and physician's assistants. Depending on your needs and preferences, they might:
Benefits of the Mid-Level Position
The addition of a mid-level position offers several important benefits, including:
Although the MLVP position is still in the discussion stage, adding a mid-level position may benefit many veterinarians who are burdened by heavy patient loads and are looking for a way to better meet the needs of their clients.
Today’s Veterinary Technician: Are Veterinary Midlevel Professionals in our Future?
Dvm360: Is It Time for the Veterinary Nurse Practitioner?, 5/2/16
Medical Group Management Association: NPP Utilization in the Future of US Healthcare, 3/14
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