RCVS launch consultation on VN professional requirements - Veterinary Practice
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RCVS launch consultation on VN professional requirements

Veterinary professionals can have their say on future student veterinary nurse education in the consultation until 22 December

Members of the veterinary team can have their say on the future of how student veterinary nurses are educated and trained in a new RCVS consultation looking at the competences, skills and professional behaviours required of newly-qualified veterinary nurses.

The consultation launched on Wednesday 10 November and closes at 5pm on Wednesday 22 December and is part of the RCVS commitment to continually review its requirements for newly-qualified VNs in order to ensure that they remain up-to-date and reflect the standards and expectations of current veterinary nursing practice.

Those completing the consultation will be asked to comment on a proposed new set of requirements, which is split up into three key components:

  1. Day One Competences: the minimum essential competences that the RCVS expects all student veterinary nurses to have met when they register, to ensure that they are safe to practise on day one, in whichever area of the profession they start to work.
  2. Day One Skills Lists: the essential clinical skills, based on the RCVS Day One Competences for Veterinary Nursing, that veterinary nurses are expected to possess upon entering clinical practice. The Day One Skills List is subdivided into skills related to the care of horses and other Equidae, and those relating to small animals.
  3. Professional behaviours and attributes: this encompasses the behaviours newly-qualified veterinary nurses are expected to demonstrate upon entering the profession and includes communication skills and understanding of the legal & ethical frameworks for veterinary practice.

Julie Dugmore, RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing, commented: “With this consultation we want to gain an effective representation of what the professions desire from future RVNs in term of their range of skills and knowledge and professional behaviours from their first day in clinical practice. Any feedback we receive on the proposed new requirements will be vital in helping to ensure that student vet nurses receive the appropriate education and training, and that our RVNs are fully prepared and armed with what is necessary to thrive in and add value to current veterinary clinical practice.

“Some of the key changes that we have made and that we are asking for feedback on include: requirements for newly-qualified veterinary nurses to have a greater understanding of the key considerations when deciding what can be delegated to a veterinary nurse and when to accept such delegation; an understanding on how to collaborate with the veterinary team on Quality Improvement (QI) activities; and a greater emphasis on making sure that they are looking after their health and wellbeing. We have also clarified the wording of much of the guidance to make it easier to understand and removed a previous requirement for student veterinary nurses to have gained endoscopy experience.

“We welcome views and feedback on the requirements from all sectors of the veterinary professions including clinical coaches, veterinary nursing educators, student veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons, practice managers and other members of the veterinary team.”

The proposed new requirements have been in development since November 2019 when members of the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Department visited various colleges across the UK to meet with a range of student veterinary nurses, clinical supervisors, internal and external quality assurers and lecturers to discuss potential changes to the current requirements.

Progress was disrupted during 2020 due to the pandemic, but in April 2021 a working group was set up, chaired by Matthew Rendle as Chair of VN Council, which featured representation from small animal and equine veterinary nurses, students, educators, and clinical supervisors. Further meetings were held during the summer of 2021 with veterinary nursing educators, allowing a first opportunity for those delivering and assessing the requirements to consider their relevance, currency and usability. The feedback from these sessions has been reviewed by the working group, who have now agreed to the proposals within the consultation.

Upon conclusion of the consultation, the responses will be reported to the working group, which will then have a final opportunity to amend and agree the proposals, before being submitted to VN Council for consideration. The aim is that VN Council will agree to the new version of the requirements in its February 2022 meeting.

The deadline for completing the consultation is 5pm on Wednesday 22 December 2021. A PDF document with the proposed new requirements as well as the link to the online survey can be accessed online.

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