In February we launched a consultation with veterinary nursing education providers on our new post-registration framework, based on the recommendations of the VN Futures Report and Action Plan published in 2016.

The framework, which was developed by the VN Futures Post-registration Working Group, aims to create both a Graduate Certificate and Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing, which will establish a career progression path for members of the profession by providing accessible, flexible and professionally recordable post-registration awards for veterinary nurses from any level of study.

Among other things, the consultation will ask for views on the proposed accreditation standards for educational institutions providing the qualification, the eligibility criteria for veterinary nurses who want to apply for the certificate and the RCVS enrolment process and fees.

Along with the framework for new advanced qualifications the group is also putting together proposals for a Veterinary Nurse Practitioner status and an Advanced Veterinary Nurse Practitioner status which those who successfully complete the qualification could apply for.

Following the initial consultation with education providers, we will then put this framework out for consultation with the veterinary professions, the details of which, Details of the consultation – including how to respond and the cut-off date, can be found will be available at

94 weeks and no longer counting…

There have been some exciting changes for veterinary nurse students as well. On 2 November 2017 RCVS Council ratified a decision to remove the 94-week requirement from the RCVS VN Registration rules, a proposal agreed by VN Council on 3 May 2017.

The 94-week requirement, stipulating that veterinary nursing students must carry out a programme of veterinary nursing edu-cation and training at an approved centre lasting at least 94 weeks (equivalent to 2,990 hours), excluding annual leave and absence, was in the RCVS Registration Rules in 2014. This was itself a change from the 1978 syllabus that required students to have completed two years’ training prior to application for registration.

The requirement meant it was possible for a student to have met, or indeed exceeded, the total number of required training hours but fallen short of the ‘necessary’ required weeks and therefore be unable to register, despite having completed an approved programme of training.

Julie Dugmore, Director of Veterinary Nursing, said: “We’re very pleased to see this change go through – previously, some students essentially had to ‘serve time’ to make up weeks, despite having completed the required number of hours. There is no RCVS-accredited programme of training which runs for less than two academic years, and all accredited programmes must meet the RCVS criteria, as well as Ofqual or University accreditation criteria, so the 94-week criteria was ultimately redundant for the training requirements.”

Calling all accreditors

Speaking of training and standards, our accreditation team is recruiting! Members of the team help student veterinary nurses continue to get the best possible training by visiting educational institutions all over the UK and ensuring they are providing high standards.

Being an accreditation visitor involves around three or four days’ worth of preparation time and a visit to the education institution in question, each of which lasts about a day. We will fully train you to become part of the panel that compiles an accreditation report for the VN Education Committee.

We will also pay a loss of earnings allowance to employers for any time you spend away from work on training and visits, as well as reasonable expenses.

If you are an RVN or an MRCVS with five years’ or more of experience in the veterinary nurse education sector, please contact Lily Lipman, our Qualifications Manager, at uk, for more information.

Governance changes

At its November 2017 meeting RCVS Council, our governing body, approved changes to the governance of VN Council, the body set up to make decisions on matters that specifically affect the regulation of veterinary nurses.

The key changes which were approved included shortening the term of office for VN Council members from four to three years; introducing a three-term limit for elected members with a two-year gap before they can re-stand for VN Council at the end of their third term; and, reducing the size and changing the composition of VN Council to six elected veterinary nurses, two appointed veterinary nurses, two appointed veterinary surgeons and four appointed lay members.

Liz Cox RVN, current Chair of VN Council, said: “When we started to consider the governance of VN Council it became clear that the current arrangements did not accurately reflect the breadth of skills and knowledge amongst veterinary nurses that would be required to meet the challenges confronting the profession and make decisions on its behalf.

“By making the composition of VN Council more flexible by introducing shorter terms and appointed veterinary nurses, we hope that we can widen the pool of potential members, bring in ‘new blood’ to provide a wider range of experience and different perspectives and, as a result, enhance the quality of debate and decision-making amongst the members.”

The changes also mean that there will be no VN Council elections this year – so don’t panic if you haven’t received your ballot paper!

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 33 • April 2018 •