“Learning Pathways” is a new BVNA initiative targeting continuing professional development (CPD) for veterinary nurses, and was formally launched during Congress 2019.

It is recognised that whilst wide-ranging CPD opportunities currently exist, these do not always represent career progression or tangible professional development for veterinary nurses. The purpose of the concept is therefore to provide clarity, removing obstacles for nurses seeking accredited specialist qualifications within their field of interest.

The Learning Pathway begins with the completion of an accessible bite-sized entry level CPD course, presented by the BVNA. It is underpinned by collaboration with a relevant specialist association, to provide a more cost-effective route of access to specialist association membership, with ongoing specialist CPD opportunities.

The recent development of the RCVS post-registration qualification framework earlier this year has given rise to two new types of qualification available to veterinary nurses, delivered at Level 6 and 7 (Graduate and Postgraduate Certificates in Advanced Veterinary Nursing). Once the bite-sized CPD has been accomplished, the BVNA can facilitate progression onto an RCVS-accredited advanced level veterinary nursing qualification, within a chosen specialism.

This development seeks to provide RVN professional and career progression via improved job satisfaction and sense of fulfilment, recognition of a specialist skill set in clinical practice, and potential for greater salary opportunities.

The Learning Pathways concept was inspired by the success of the Oral Care Nurse initiative, delivered by the BVNA in conjunction with the British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA) and with the support of Mars Petcare. Since its launch in 2017, nearly 3000 RVNs have undertaken the Oral Care Nurse Certificate – and from September 2020, these nurses will be able to progress onto an advanced Level 6 Dental, Oral and Maxillofacial Nursing module, delivered by Myerscough College & University Centre (subject to RCVS validation).

Crucially, at the heart of the Oral Care Nurse initiative is three RVNs – Jane Bingham, Donna Buzzeo and Judi Allsop. BVNA have been proud to respond to members’ ideas and vision – and look forward to supporting similar developments within other nursing specialisms.

The Learning Pathways launch event took place within the Congress exhibition, where a “Live Illustration” outlining the Oral Care pathway was unveiled by Wendy Nevins (then BVNA President, now Senior Vice President), Gerhard Putter (representative of BVDA, contributor towards the Oral Care Nurse Certificate content), Charlotte Bullard (BVNA Education Manager) and Rachel Wager (representative of Myerscough College & University Centre). A further “Live Illustration” display was then ongoing throughout Congress, so delegates could have input into the future direction of veterinary nursing CPD opportunities. Significant areas of interest for possible future nursing specialisms have been identified, including anaesthesia, behaviour, nutrition, exotics and farm nursing, amongst many others.

The launch of this initiative signifies a key development and progression of CPD opportunities for veterinary nurses, and the BVNA’s commitment to implementing the Learning Pathway approach with all its future CPD provision.

For more details, please email: charlotte@bvna.co.uk

• VOL 34 • December 2019 • Veterinary Nursing Journal