Thank you to the more than 1,000 people who responded to our recent public consultation on the development of new post-registration qualifications for veterinary nurses.

The consultation ran over the summer to gauge the views of veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and education providers on our proposals to launch two new qualifications for VNs – these being a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing and its postgraduate equivalent. These qualifications would replace the current Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (DipAVN) and it is hoped that, in time, it would lead to an Advanced Veterinary Nurse status, similar to the Advanced Practitioner status amongst veterinary surgeons.

The proposals grew out of the VN Futures research as it was recognised that veterinary nurses were in need of a more rewarding and fulfilling career structure that allowed the development of further skills and knowledge in particular areas of practice.

The consultation asked about all aspects of the proposed qualifications including the course structure, candidate assessment criteria, accreditation standards, student support, candidate eligibility rules, the enrolment process, procedures for certification, and proposed designations.

After the consultation was closed, our Veterinary Nursing Department collated all the results for consideration by the VN Futures Post-Registration Working Group in October. We also held a meeting in October with Higher Education institutions that currently provide veterinary nurse education and training to discuss the proposals in more detail.

The amended proposals made by the Working Group will now be considered by the Veterinary Nursing Education Committee which meets in early December, with the aim that the final version of the post-registration qualifications will be ready for approval by Veterinary Nursing Council at its meeting on 6 February 2019.

RCVS Honours and Awards

Do you know a fellow member of the veterinary nursing profession who goes above-and-beyond the call of duty to aid animal health and welfare, public health and/or the veterinary professions and who could be a great ambassador for the profession?

If so, please consider nominating them for the RCVS Honours and Awards 2019, in which we will celebrate the very best of the veterinary professions.

Veterinary nurses are eligible to be nominated for four of our awards:

   The VN Golden Jubilee Award which celebrates those who have had a sustained and distinguished career and have taken a leadership role within the profession;

   The Impact Award for vets and VNs at all stages of their career who have recently, or are currently, undertaking a project, initiative or similar that has a significant impact on the profession at large, animal health or welfare, or public health;

   The Inspiration Award for vets or vet nurses at any stage of their career who have demonstrated the ability to inspire and enthuse others consistently throughout. It is open to those who have inspired and motivated individuals anywhere within the profession and recognises those who have gone 'above and beyond' what may normally be expected from a professional colleague; and,

   The International Award for vets, vet nurses or laypeople who work internationally, from either within or without the UK, in making an outstanding contribution to, for example, raising veterinary standards, veterinary education and improving animal health and welfare.

The deadline for making a nomination is Friday 18 January 2019. For more details on each of the honours and awards and to find out how to make a nomination, please visit honours. All honours and awards will be bestowed at next year’s Royal College Day which takes place at the Royal Institute of British Architects on Friday 12 July.

Extension to Mind Matters Initiative

We are delighted that RCVS Council, at its October 2018 meeting, agreed to extend the funding for our landmark Mind Matters Initiative which started at the beginning of 2015 in recognition of the fact that stress and mental ill-health was disproportionately affecting the veterinary professions.

Since its inception and launch, the Mind Matters Initiative has run dozens of mental health awareness courses in partnership with organisations such as the BSAVA, has launched the destigmatising ‘&me’ campaign in conjunction with the Doctors’ Support Network and has provided sustained funding to the independent Vetlife charity and its Health Support service.

RCVS Council has now agreed to fund Mind Matters for a rolling three-year period and increased the annual budget to £250,000. Of this amount £100,000 will be donated to Vetlife while the remaining £150,000 will be spent on other initiatives, which include providing training, research and a culture-change programme.

More details about the Mind Matters Initiative can be found at

VOL 33 • December 2018 • Veterinary Nursing Journal