At its meeting in May, the RCVS VN Council agreed that the RCVS advice on the role of veterinary nurses supporting anaesthesia should be revisited. It is six years since this was last considered, and many more since the College first established its guidance. In the intervening years, much has changed.

Anaesthetics – and the means of monitoring them – have become more sophisticated and safer, veterinary nurses have become professionally accountable and public expectations of veterinary practice have changed. It was also noted that the recovery phase – demonstrably the most hazardous in terms of anaesthetic deaths – is not included in the current RCVS guidance in relation to the supporting role of VNs and lay monitoring assistants.

While there is little doubt that anaesthesia is an act of veterinary surgery, the VN Council wishes its position in relation to Schedule 3 to be revisited in the light of current practice and the best interests of animal welfare, based on a current legal opinion. We will be reporting progress later in the year, and you can also access VN Council papers via the RCVS website. 

RCVS annual report

The RCVS annual report falls into two parts, and the first, RCVS Review, is posted to all registered and listed veterinary nurses in June. In it, you will find support for the statutory regulation of veterinary nurses from Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, and an overview of current European veterinary nursing projects from ACOVENE chairman, Dr Anne Torgersen. If you haven’t received a copy, it can be downloaded from

Meanwhile, part two of the report, RCVS Facts, contains facts and figures about the veterinary nursing and veterinary professions, including training statistics, registration figures and information about the new complaints and disciplinary system for registered veterinary nurses. This is not sent in hard copy to all nurses, although it is available in hard copy on request and can be downloaded alongside the Review. 

Stakeholder open day

During May, the RCVS held a successful open day for representatives from animal-owner organisations, charities, related regulatory bodies and re-homing centres. The aim of the day was to do some ‘myth-busting’ about the role of the College –   often confused with the Royal Veterinary College and/or the BVA and BVNA – and outline some of the ways in which the College is working to raise standards within the veterinary team for the benefit of animals and their owners.

Next year, we hope to hold another such event, and also one for representatives of veterinary nursing and veterinary organisations. If you know of anyone who might find attending either such event useful, please let Lizzie Lockett know on

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 27 • July 2012 •