As you may have read in recent news articles and newsletters sent out by the RCVS, as of January 2020 we are introducing a number of changes to our current policy on how continuing professional development (CPD) is logged, recorded and monitored.

There are three key changes:

   From January 2020 the CPD requirement veterinary nurses will be expected to fulfil moves from a minimum of 45 hours across a rolling three-year period – to 15 hours of CPD per calendar year;

   Also from January 2020, the Professional Development Record (PDR) will no longer be in use and is, instead, being replaced by our new 1CPD platform;

   Finally, from January 2022 an outcomes-based model of CPD, which will require veterinary nurses to reflect on their learning and development and the impact it has had on their practice, will become mandatory. However, we are encouraging both vets and vet nurses to engage with this process as soon as possible.

Starting with the change to a clearer and simpler annual requirement for CPD, while the shift has been made to ensure that every VN achieves their CPD targets each year and that we can therefore address non-compliance in a more meaningful way, when we initially announced the change to this policy in June there was some disquiet that, due to personal and professional commitments and circumstances, it may be difficult for members of the professions to meet the requirement every year.

We have listened to some of those concerns and, following a meeting of our Veterinary Nurses Council in September and RCVS Council in October, we have made two additions to the policy to address these.

The first is the option for VNs to take a ‘CPD pause, which aims to address some of the feedback we received about the need to consider personal circumstances. In practice, this means that, for planned periods away from work, such as parental leave, and exceptional circumstances, such as serious ill health or unforeseen changes to family responsibilities, VNs can pause their CPD for up to six months without the need to make up the hours when they return to work. This will therefore reduce the burden on VNs returning to work after a break and makes it clear what the requirements are for each year.

The second change is that the RCVS will allow for VNs to carry over some of the CPD hours they have accrued in 2019 into 2020, to smoothen the transition to an annual hourly requirement.

VNs will be able to carry over 10 hours of accumulated CPD from 2019 through to 2020. This will apply once, in 2020 only, and is only applicable to VNs who have been CPD-compliant from 2017 to 2019 and have a surplus number of hours to carry over.

“We hope that these changes to the CPD policy will support VNs to make the transition to an annual hourly requirement. We received a sample of feedback from some members of the veterinary professions regarding the move to annual hourly CPD requirements and these additions have been introduced to support members during this transition and to mitigate some of the concerns raised," says our Director of Veterinary Nursing, Julie Dugmore.

Regarding our CPD recording platform, which has the working title 1CPD, it will become active from January 2020 when all the content from the PDR will be automatically exported over to it. The new platform aims to facilitate the move to individuals reflecting on the impact of the CPD they have undertaken, to drive the outcomes-based approach that will be recommended in January 2020, and become mandatory in January 2022. This approach aims to support positive CPD outcomes by encouraging professionals to reflect on what they have learned, how they will apply their learning, and how it will improve their practice.

In terms of our general policy on CPD and how to effectively incorporate reflection into learning and development programmes, Julie adds: “The most important aspect of CPD, both now and after the new changes are introduced, is that it is relevant to your role and own personal development needs, so that it can support you to provide the best care possible. There are many types of CPD which can achieve this, including accessible options such as webinars, lectures, and reading relevant clinical papers, as well as learning events or opportunities in the workplace such as reflecting on significant events or audits, in addition to traditional CPD such as attending courses or conferences"

“The process of reflection is particularly important as it facilitates a culture of actively looking for ways to improve. Our new tool will support this reflection in a fast, effective and cost-free way. It’s really important for us to get this point across – CPD is incredibly important for a flourishing profession but it doesn’t need to be expensive, stressful or demanding"

For more information about all the upcoming CPD changes, please visit

VN futures fantastic fringe event

At BVNA Congress in October the College once again successfully joined forces with the BVNA to hold a fringe event focused on the VN Futures project which was well-attended by delegates – including some who were relatively new to the initiative and its aims.

The talk, called ‘VN Futures – what does it mean to you?’, was chaired by Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council Chair Racheal Marshall and the then BVNA President Wendy Nevins and gave VNs attending the Congress an update on the project’s work, including from the Chairs of three of the current working groups.

The first update was from the Career Progression Group Chair, Renay Rickard, on the work to maximise the value of veterinary nurses, particularly with regards to empowering VNs to be utilised in a way that befits their experience, training and skills. Renay also covered the importance of supporting both VNs and other veterinary professionals to understand how veterinary nurses add value to veterinary practice.


Following this, the Sustainable Workforce Working Group Chair, Stuart Ford-Fennah, provided an update on the VN Futures School Ambassador Pilot, covering: how the pilot has been set up; what the pilot hopes to achieve; and the future vision for School Ambassadors in Veterinary Nursing.

Finally, the One Health Group Chair, Becky Jones, provided an update on the role of veterinary nurses in One Health and the ties that are being forged with other healthcare professions, including the ongoing work in developing the Community Nurse role, and the role that VNs can play in smoking cessation, along with medical professionals.

Following the presentations the floor was opened to discussion. Some of the topics raised included changing the legislative framework for the veterinary professions to bolster the role of veterinary nurses, the need for a change in practice culture to better utilise veterinary nursing skills and talent, and the necessity of a supportive practice environment for veterinary nurses to thrive.

Racheal Marshall, the Chair of RCVS VN Council who co-chaired the panel, said: “The work currently being undertaken by VN Futures was very positively receive, with people expressing an interest in getting involved with the Schools Ambassador pilot as well as lots of questions around One Health and community nursing. There was also a good discussion on the value of veterinary nurses, and a conversation around how we need the profession to get involved with spreading the word about VN Futures" 

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 34 • December 2019