Under Schedule 3 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act, only registered veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses have the privilege to perform certain procedures in veterinary practice, as delegated to them by veterinary surgeon colleagues employed in the same practice.

The legal framework for the role of the veterinary nurse and student veterinary nurse is unfortunately not without its ambiguities and could benefit from updating.

We therefore want to help veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses feel confident that they are working legally and safely, and ensure that veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses are fully utilised in satisfying roles.

For clarity, the position regarding Schedule 3 has not changed and we are not seeking to pronounce new rules or requirements.

We are committed to developing the role of the veterinary nurse to fit the demands and possibilities of modern veterinary medicine, but this will take time and, more critically, new legislation. In the meantime, we hope to provide more help to assist everyone to work within the current legal framework.

Formal guidance

You can read the formal guidance on delegation under Schedule 3 in the following chapters of supporting guidance to RCVS Code of Professional Conduct:

Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons, Supporting guidance Section 18 and 19.

Case studies

Our series of case studies demonstrate how veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses can work within Schedule 3, what they can do when working independently, and certain areas that fall outside the Schedule 3 exemption.

Case studies can be found on the website: rcvs.org.uk/Features/Navigating Schedule 3 delegation in practice/.

The cases demonstrate how RVNs and SVNs can work within Schedule 3 and assist both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses understand how it applies in everyday practice.

'SUPERB' checklist poster

The RCVS have produced a poster to help vets in practice remember the key things they need to consider when delegating work to registered/student veterinary nurses.

The poster has a six-point checklist and uses the mnemonic ‘SUPERB’ – Specific procedure, Under care, Person, Experience, Risks, Be there – which is designed to help vets remember the key questions they need to consider and answer ‘yes’ to before delegating work to their R/SVN colleagues.

The RCVS are mailing a copy of this poster to all veterinary practice premises in the UK, and will provide digital files to download in due course. Watch out for them and put them up in your practice.

• VOL 35 • February 2020 • Veterinary Nursing Journal