Clinical governance is something that every member of the clinical team should be engaging in, as it is vital to good practice and is also a requirement under the supporting guidance of our Code of Professional Conduct (see www.rcvs. However, it encompasses a very wide range of activities and so can be quite tricky to define.

In a nutshell, clinical governance is a continuing process of reflection, analysis and improvement of professional practice with the aim of improving quality of service. Although there are no prescribed activities constituting clinical governance, it is something that veterinary nurses should be engaging in both on an individual basis and as part of the wider clinical team.

It is important to note that clinical governance is not just about reacting to specific crises or a specific example of poor service – it should be undertaken regularly and integrated into everyday practice life. For example, veterinary nurses should be constantly reflecting upon their performance, how they communicate with colleagues and clients and any unexpected or critical events and then make appropriate improvements to their practice and behaviour. Such reflections can be aided by keeping a learning diary which considers actions taken and their outcomes.

Veterinary nurses can play a role in clinical governance as part of the veterinary team, for example, by monitoring and noting client feedback, recording any complaints and by actively participating in clinical discussion meetings. These clinical meetings should be held regularly and involve the whole practice team discussing items such as guidelines, protocols and standard operating procedures and the latest clinical issues that have been encountered and how they were dealt with.

Veterinary nurses can also play a part in the clinical auditing process, for example, by compiling the outcomes of regular clinical procedures and using the results to improve patient care. Further guidance on the clinical auditing process can be found at

Last year we held a free webinar called Clinical governance – how is it relevant to me? presented by RCVS Vice-President Dr Bradley Viner and Veterinary Inspector Pam Mosedale, which looked at integrating clinical governance into every day practice life. You can listen to it again at webinars

For the full Code of Professional Conduct supporting guidance on clinical governance please visit clinicalgovernance

A Charter for success

Our new Royal Charter will soon come into effect, having been approved by Privy Council on Bonfire Night, and will provide formal recognition of veterinary nurses as true regulated professionals and associates of the College and give greater power and responsibility to VN Council.

In practical terms, little will change for those veterinary nurses who are already on our Register. However, the 1,000 or so veterinary nurses who are currently on the List of Veterinary Nurses will become registered veterinary nurses.

This means that they will be expected to adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct and can be held accountable for their actions through our disciplinary process. They will also be expected to meet our continuing professional development (CPD) requirement of 45 hours over a rolling three-year period and confirm this – as well as declaring any convictions, cautions or adverse findings – upon renewing their registration. They will first be required to make these declarations on renewing their registration in autumn 2015.

It is important to note that formerly listed veterinary nurses will pay exactly the same annual renewal fee to remain on the Register as they currently pay to remain on the List (currently £61).

Another key change is that VN Council will take on greater responsibility for setting professional standards for veterinary nurses and regulating their education.

Although the Charter will not provide legal protection of the title veterinary nurse, its approval will lend weight to our argument for statutory protection so that only those who are qualified and registered can call themselves a veterinary nurse. We are still currently in the process of examining a range of legislative options in order to secure this outcome.

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 30 • January 2015 •