On 23rd June, we held a seminar to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the veterinary nursing qualification. Entitled 'Looking back, stepping forward’, the event reflected on what the profession has achieved during its first 50 years – with presentations from some of those involved in the early days – and went on to consider future directions for veterinary nursing, with thought-provoking talks by speakers from Norway, Ireland and the Royal College of Nursing.

We were honoured that some of the pioneering veterinary nurses were able to attend the event, as well as those involved with taking the profession forward today. A report of the day is available at www.rcvs.org.uk/VNat50

As part of the jubilee celebrations, VN Council launched a new award to recognise an exceptional contribution to veterinary nursing. Jean Turner, associate editor of the VNJ, was presented with the inaugural award at RCVS Day, which took place on 1st July in London.

Jean has been involved in veterinary nursing for almost as long as the training scheme has been in existence and, together with her husband Trevor, she has trained and supported veterinary nurses at their practice for many years. “Jean has spent her life contributing to veterinary nursing,” said College president, Peter Jinman, at RCVS Day. “She has worked tirelessly behind the scenes and is an outstanding ambassador for the veterinary nursing profession.”

Jubilee award winner, Jean Turner, helps VN Council chairman, Liz Branscombe, to cut the celebratory cake

A second jubilee award, for a lifetime contribution to veterinary nursing, was made to Jill Dent. VN number 17, Jill began her veterinary nursing career just after the Second World War in the days before formal training was available. She worked in practice for many decades and joined the Register in 2007, becoming the longest-serving VN to do so. The president presented a certificate to her in recognition of her long and dedicated service to veterinary nursing. 

RCVS president, Peter Jinman. and VN Council chairman. Liz Branscombe, present the jubilee award to Jilt Dent

New VN Council line-up

Also at RCVS Day, president Peter Jinman and VN Council chairman, Liz Branscombe, welcomed Elizabeth Cox and Tanya Caley as newly elected members of the Veterinary Nurses Council. Elizabeth will serve a four- year term and Tanya a one-year term, as she replaced a member who retired early. Liz Branscombe was confirmed has having been re-elected for a further four-year term.  

Thanks were also given to retiring members Dot Creighton, Jenny Thompson, Helen Torrington and Alan Hughes for their hard work and commitment to VN Council.

RCVS Council member, Colonel Neil Smith, took up the position of vice-chairman of VN Council, with Liz Branscombe continuing as chairman and Kathy Kissick as vice-chairman. Two newly appointed veterinary surgeons, Victoria Aspinall and Elizabeth Armitage-Chan, also took up their positions on VN Council at RCVS Day.

Meanwhile, Dr Jerry Davies took up his post as president of the RCVS, with Peter Jinman and Jacqui Molyneux as his two vice-presidents.

Factually speaking

We have just published RCVS Facts – part two of our annual report – which includes facts and figures about the veterinary nursing and veterinary professions, together with our summarised accounts. As of 1st April 2011:

   there were 1,690 training practices and 47 centres

   a quarter of student candidate registrations were undergraduates

   866 new nurses qualified – just under 80 per cent of those who enrolled at the start of the training period

   There were 9,722 veterinary nurses on the RCVS List/Register, of whom 84 per cent were registered.

The full document can be downloaded from www.rcvs.org.uk/facts. Part one of the annual report, RCVS Review, which includes an article from Gail Lawson, RVN, can also be downloaded, from www.rcvs.org.uk/review. 

New centres

RCVS Awards has conditionally approved two new centres to offer the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing this autumn (Oaklands College in St Albans, and City and Islington College in London), and more are in the pipeline. The last year has seen three entirely new centres approved, showing that interest in VN programmes is high.

All new centres have to demonstrate that they are generating new business – additional training practices – rather than dividing the existing training market. So this increase in centres should increase the output of qualified nurses, one of the key objectives of the new Level 3 Diploma. 


 • VOL 26 • August 2011 • Veterinary Nursing Journal