In this blog, Alex Taylor RVN, chair of the Diversity, Inclusivity and Widening Participation Group, explains why the second campaign of the DIWP Group has been crucial to create a better understanding of the term ‘equity’ and why we need diversity in the veterinary nursing profession. Alex also puts out a call to action to deaf or hard of hearing veterinary nurses to share their story and help others see that by working together the veterinary nursing profession can be accessible for all of those who wish to pursue it.

As current chair of the VN Futures Diversity, Inclusivity and Widening Participation (DIWP) Working Group, I was delighted when my DIWP colleagues Lacey Pitcher RVN and Macauly Gatenby RVN put themselves forward to create our second campaign of the year. The idea behind this campaign was to help people better understand what equity is, and why it is important to recognise that individuals may have different needs, but the veterinary nursing profession should be accessible for all. The main focus for campaign 2 was to look for ways to improve accessibility for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. This may be in a veterinary clinic or something as straightforward as accessing CPD. For example, we have put together some guidance on using closed captions in online meetings and CPD, as well ensuring BVNA Congress is accessible for all (including those that are deaf or hard of hearing).

Unfortunately, the veterinary nursing profession is not particularly diverse and the more I learn about diversity and inclusivity (and I am still very much learning), the more I realise that we need veterinary nurses from a range of different backgrounds and experiences to create a sustainable workforce, widen participation and create a profession that represents the society we live in.

I’d like to encourage all veterinary nurses to think about who inspired you to choose your profession and why – could you be someone’s role model? I am a firm believer in ‘you have to see it to be it’ and this is particularly important when we are looking to create more diversity.

For this campaign I would also like to put out a call to action for any veterinary nurses who are deaf or hard of hearing, because our profession needs you to help others understand that veterinary nursing is accessible for all. Would you like to share your story with the DIWP Group and champion those who are deaf or hard of hearing? Perhaps you’d like to provide some insight on what those working alongside veterinary nurses who are deaf or hard of hearing can do to improve an individual’s experience and ensure they are given the same opportunities as everyone else?

Or maybe you work with a colleague or line manage someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and would like to share your story on how you worked with your colleague to ensure they were given the right support when they needed it?

Whilst I am not hard of hearing or deaf myself, I do live with someone that is (my husband). He is an engineer and manages a huge workshop but can fulfill his job role just as well as someone who is not hard of hearing. Being deaf of hard of hearing is not a barrier to becoming a veterinary nurse, but accessibility is important if we want people to enjoy their role and stay in the profession, which is why this campaign has been so important.

What can you do to help others like you in the veterinary nursing profession? If you would like to write a blog or article for the BVNA or have any questions about the VN Futures DIWP Working Group, please contact;