Sue Badger RVN, Cert Ed, and past BVNA President remembers:

“The BVNA as such did not exist until 1985. Although the BVNA assumed its present title at its inauguration in 1965 it was forced to change this to the British Veterinary Nursing Auxiliaries Association the following year. ‘The reason for this being that both the terms Nurse and Veterinary were protected by statute and charter. The qualification that we know today was in fact altered to Registered Animal Nursing Auxiliary (RANA) to take this into account and did not revert back to VN until the statute protecting the title Nurse expired.

The first RANA, Pamela Pitcher, qualified in 1963 and commented in an article written to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the BVNA that at the inception of the training scheme a significant number of veterinary surgeons viewed the idea of qualified veterinary nurses with great suspicion! In fact Pamela quoted one as saying that the RCVS had “created a Frankenstein and would rue the day!” Far from doing that the RCVS and allied veterinary associations such as the BSAVA have come to respect and value the role played by the qualified VN. Indeed BSAVA played an instrumental role in the early development of veterinary nursing, as it was at the BSAVA Congress in 1962 that an unofficial Veterinary Nursing Committee was formed.

It is true to say that there were some enlightened veterinary surgeons who utilised their qualified nurses’ training and allowed them a consequent degree of responsibility. A list of early supporters of veterinary nursing and the BANAA, as it was then known, would include Trevor Turner, Olifant Jackson and John Hodgman. Mr Hodgman was one of the driving forces behind the formation of a veterinary nursing association. And no record of BVNA’s history would be complete without mention of Alastair Porter, the then Registrar of the RCVS who helped the original committee members of the embryonic association to define a constitution and elect its first council. Although the most senior role within the organisation was assumed by veterinary surgeons in the early days, as it began to find its feet, qualified veterinary nurses began to assume the mantle of President. The list of incumbents is too long to reproduce here but it includes people who worked tirelessly to promote the role of the BVNA as well as the status of its members and veterinary nurses as a whole.”