Dear Reader

It’s that time of year again. You know the one when the list of candidates for VN Council is posted and all veterinary nurses eligible to vote are urged to do so.

In her appeal this year, printed in the 'RCVS News’ section of this edition of the VNJ, VN Council chairman, Liz Branscombe says, “The turn-out for the VN Council elections was only 7.6 per cent last year. This was disappointing. Not only down from 11.2 per cent in the previous election, but also much lower than the figure for the equivalent veterinary elections.

“I know that many of you are passionate about the future of our profession,” she continues, “so please don’t waste your opportunity to decide who shapes our future.”

These points are perfectly valid. But this year there is an even more pressing need for all VNs not only to vote, but also to challenge the candidates as to where they stand on a particular issue. And that issue is the planned launch by the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) of its GCSE-equivalent course in veterinary anaesthesia.

Be in no doubt that, no matter how this is dressed up, the introduction of this course will pose a significant threat to the substance and status of the RVN qualification. It is the thin end of a very thick wedge.

The current argument from SPVS runs that because there are insufficient qualified nurses to assist with anaesthesia, sedation and monitoring of animal patients – and the gap is currently being filled by non-VNs – then the new qualification must be implemented as not to do so would be “morally wrong”.

This approach is to miss the real ‘morally wrong’ point, which is that if RVNs were recognised as professional equals in practice and rewarded properly, then their numbers would very soon rise and be maintained, and the shortage presently induced by poor pay and lack of recognition would be reversed.

Seemingly the members of SPVS would rather invent a reason to create another tier of veterinary nurses – who will presumably be paid much less – rather than addressing the fundamental issues that lead to the shortage of RVNs in the first place.

There is an urgent need too for the VN Council to become less obsessed with simply protecting the title of Registered Veterinary Nurse and to start focusing on protecting the role.

So for goodness sake vote in the elections this year and show the veterinary profession that you are a critical caring mass and a force to be reckoned with. Give the candidates a hard time and if they will not support this cause, don’t vote for them.

And also find time to challenge Jacqui Molyneux – ex SPVS president, incoming RCVS president and purported “staunch supporter of VN training” – as to whether she endorses this measure which clearly runs counter to her declared support for the veterinary nursing profession.


David Watson BVetMed MA MRCVS Editor

To cite this editorial use either

DOI; 10.1111/j.2045-0648.2012.00157.x or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 27 pp 118

• VOL 27 • April 2012 • Veterinary Nursing Journal