Veterinary Nursing Development

At Compassion-First, we believe that all pets and their owners deserve only the best care provided by highly educated and trained professionals. Open to Compassion-First veterinary technicians and assistants, our veterinary nursing development programs provide formal education tuition support, as well as in-house upskilling tools and resources to help each veterinary nursing team member deliver the highest level of patient care.

Our VND programs include:

  • Compassion-First Veterinary Technician and Assistant Development Program in partnership with Penn Foster College
  • Fear Free Training
  • Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) Mentorship Program
  • RECOVER Veterinary CPR Rescuer Certification Support and Training
  • In-House Upskilling Resources


Compassion-First Veterinary Technician and Assistant Development Program partnership with Penn Foster College

Compassion-First partnered with Penn Foster College to deliver their online, on-demand programs to Compassion-First team members. The AVMA Accredited Veterinary Technician and NAVTA-Approved Veterinary Assistant programs provide the opportunity for non-credentialed veterinary assistants and technicians to become credentialed through formal education programs with tuition support from Compassion-First.

The Penn Foster College partnership offers something for every member of the support team:

  • Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA)
  • Veterinary Technician (AS and BAS)
  • Veterinary Practice Management (VPM)

Congrats, Shelly!

Shelly LeMarquand started as a receptionist at Veterinary Referral Center (VRC), a Compassion-First hospital. When Shelly heard about the tuition-assisted Veterinary Assistant program, she jumped at the opportunity. While going through the program, Shelly took every chance to spend time with the veterinary technicians at VRC to practice the skills she was learning. The veterinary technicians, most of whom have graduated from a formal education program of their own, rallied behind Shelly and were huge supporters throughout her journey. Eventually, Shelly was offered a full-time position in VRC’s surgery department as a surgical assistant.


Fear Free Training

Providing compassionate care for our patients is a top priority at Compassion-First. In 2016, Compassion-First proudly partnered with Fear Free and announced our Fear Free Initiative, with a shared mission to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. We committed to supporting all our Compassion-First Pet Hospitals in becoming Fear Free Certified Practices.

The Veterinary Nursing Development team drives the C-F Fear Free Initiative and has supported the certification of over 315 Fear Free Certified Professionals within our family of hospitals and continues to do so. Through our partnership, we are able to extend a generous discount for team members to become Fear Free Certified Professionals, with the goal of developing Fear Free Certified Practices. We host monthly meetings with our Fear Free Champions at our hospitals across the country to collaborate on Fear Free best practices and enjoy direct professional support from the team at Fear Free at these meetings to reach our goals.

By embracing the necessity of addressing the physical and emotional well-being of pets, pet owners, and team members, our Fear Free Certified Professionals provide veterinary care using proven methods to create a calm, stress-free environment for our patients and the entire veterinary healthcare team. We are excited to provide this great development opportunity for our veterinary healthcare team members.

Veterinary Technician Specialist Mentorship Program

Many of Compassion-First’s veterinary technicians have a desire to specialize in a specific specialty or discipline of veterinary medicine. The VTS mentorship program started in 2018 and offers monthly meetings and mentorship to support our aspiring VTS Candidates in over 16 veterinary technician specialties.
During the online monthly meetings, our veterinary technician specialists offer insights into their specialty to inspire others. The meetings are a great way to introduce new specialties to our technicians who many not have exposure, offer support, and encourage others to pursue a specialty.


RECOVER CPR training prepares veterinary team members to respond to patients experiencing cardiopulmonary arrest. Compassion-First offers support for team members to become certified rescuers.

CPR Class
CPR Class
CPR Class


In-House Upskilling Resources

Compassion-First supports in-house development for veterinary nursing team members to gain knowledge, skill, and continuing education by partnering with the following online resources:

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