Dear reader 

Some of you may already know, that alongside being a registered veterinary nurse, I am also a human nurse, I work in critical care at a specialist cardiothoracic hospital in Cambridge. I am always on the lookout for debates and discussions that may be relevant to veterinary nursing.

In many ways, we are similar to human nurses, however, when it comes to aspects of professionalism and our code of conduct, I believe that the human centred profession is much more established and its members are much more familiar with their responsibilities as professionals.

A recent article in the Nursing Standard caught my eye and emphasised to me a shared concern between the two professions. Recently, NHS England set up a task force to shape the future of cancer services. This was a seventeen strong group of representatives, clinicians, charity leaders and members of the Royal Colleges of GPs and Surgeons, among others. A wide ranging, experienced and skilled panel. A panel with one glaring omission, no nurses were invited to be part of the group.

There are 3000 specialist cancer nurses in the UK and patients consistently report that their nursing care is one of the key aspects of their cancer experience and outcome. After direct intervention from England’s Chief Nurse, Jane Cummings, a specialist nurse has now been appointed to the group.

The question of course, is how was such a group proposed without a nursing representative?

It shows that even in a well-established profession there are still battles to be fought to ensure that a voice is heard. It is exactly the same in veterinary nursing, many organisations, veterinary surgeons and professionals value their nurses and include them in conversations, debate and discussions. However, some don’t and the nursing opinion is lost, to the detriment of the discussion.

Every issue of our journal, including this one demonstrates the wide range of skill and experience veterinary nurses have, we hope to receive more and more articles from you, showing off your knowledge. So, make sure that you are being heard. It doesn’t have to be much, start small, simply speaking up at staff meetings demonstrates that you have a voice. For the bigger topics, committees or working groups, BVNA members have council on their side, knocking on the door.

And, for you nurses out there who feel valued, whose opinion is listened to, whose employers treat you as an equal part of the team, tell us all about it, write about it and share your experiences. Keep talking because usually when vet nurses speak, they speak for themselves and their patients and all species will thank you.


Helen Ballantyne PG Dip BSc (Hons) RN RVN 

Editor in Chief

DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2015.1036825

• VOL 30 • June 2015 • Veterinary Nursing Journal