Mistakes—we all make them. Or, to err is human, more poetically. This is on my mind this month as there were some errors in June’s multiple choice questions on the BVNA website which have now been corrected.

An entire research field has developed to investigate mistakes, mostly in the area of aviation, but now also in human healthcare. Looking at these Human Factors, as they are termed, researchers can re-evaluate the efficacy of their procedures at every step, including some that were originally created to enhance safety but may actually be having a negative impact. Consider heat pads, for instance. How many animals have suffered burns from the well-intentioned use of these devices?

The Professional Code of Conduct directs us that VNs must “report facts and opinions honestly and with due care." We hope here at VNJ that we provide a platform for VNs to share their research and clinical experience, creating a collective VN conscience whereby we may constantly be evaluating our methods and incorporating new evidence into our practice. We are so proud of the breadth of this month’s articles and hope they help you achieve this aim. The article on pain evaluation, “Should pain be the fourth vital sign?" will give you an opportunity to look at your own pain management practices, and consider the use of different analgesia and pain scoring. The article on “Polite and Protected Puppies" will help you answer those tricky client questions, so important now that so much behaviour advice is not as reputable as we would like. Two nutrition articles, on renal disease and post-operative recovery, will increase your confidence in the complex field of veterinary diets, maximising client compliance and patient health. The caring and thoughtful piece on end- of-life experiences gives practical advice and ideas, and reminds us that love and companionship are at the heart of our roles.

When it comes to mistakes, the best advice I’ve had is “Come clean, and quickly!" Thank you to our readers for keeping us right and contributing to our collective VN conscience, helping us meet our professional obligations and the needs of our patients. Enjoy this month’s articles!


Megan Whitehead MSc RVT/RVN Executive Editor

DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2016.1205821

VOL 31 • August 2016 • Veterinary Nursing Journal