New definition of veterinary nurse role announced - Veterinary Practice
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New definition of veterinary nurse role announced

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council have released a new definition for the role of veterinary nurses

nurses treating cat

At the February 2023 meeting of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council, members agreed to approve a new definition of veterinary nursing, in order to provide greater clarity to both the professions and the public on what being a veterinary nurse entails.

The definition agreed by VN Council is as follows:

“Veterinary nursing aims to ease the suffering and pain of animals, and to improve their health and welfare.

“This includes providing any medical treatment or any minor surgery (not involving entry into a body cavity) to animals under the direction of a veterinary surgeon who has that animal under their care.

“Veterinary nursing can be either proactive or reactive, and autonomous or collaborative. It is carried out in a wide variety of settings, for animals at all life stages, and considers the background and needs of the animal’s owner or keeper.”

Matthew Rendle, RVN, the chair of VN Council, said: “Although it is just a few short lines, this definition of veterinary nursing has been in the pipeline for some time.

“While we as veterinary nurses have always been able to define ourselves by the type of tasks we carry out or our relation to veterinary surgeons in terms of delegation, there hasn’t necessarily been a clear statement articulating the art and science of veterinary nursing.

“With the RCVS looking to expand its regulatory remit to include other veterinary paraprofessionals over the long term, we thought it was particularly important that we set out the stall for veterinary nursing and we hope that this clear statement will, in particular, aid the public in understanding the role of a veterinary nurse.

“It should be noted that this definition is VN Council’s own considered interpretation of the art and science of veterinary nursing.

“Other interpretations from other organisations, provided they conform with both Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act and the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct, could sit comfortably alongside ours, and we hope there continues to be healthy discussion about the contribution of the profession to the veterinary team, as our role evolves.”  

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