In November we were delighted to announce that the RCVS received recognition from the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (also known as ENQA), a pan-European association which accredits organisations to quality assure higher education institutions and degrees.

ENQA undertook a visitation to the RCVS in April this year after we applied for recognition from the association in respect of our accreditation of both veterinary nursing and veterinary surgeon education.

During the visitation the ENQA panel undertook a review of our structure and governance, our procedures and policies relating to how we accredit veterinary nursing and veterinary education, the independence of the accreditation process and how accreditation decisions are scrutinised.

The report, published in November, highlighted some of the key strengths of the RCVS that the ENQA visitation panel found including dedicated and experienced staff and committee/panel members; a great awareness of the importance of quality assurance; excellent relationships with key stakeholders with active communication of activities and achievements.

The report also found some areas for improvement including further alignment of the accreditation processes for veterinary nursing and veterinary degrees to achieve greater consistency; the development of a comprehensive quality assurance policy; and adopting a greater and more diverse pool of accreditors, particular for veterinary nursing degrees.

In respect of the last point, the Veterinary Nursing Department has already made significant changes to the composition of the VN accreditation panels to ensure that student veterinary nurses, among others, are better represented.

A copy of the full ENQA report can be downloaded from

Post-registration qualifications

The College’s plans to develop a new set of post-registration qualifications for veterinary nurses are continuing to develop in consultation with the profession, higher education institutions and awarding organisations.

Earlier this year we held a public consultation on our proposals to develop two new post-registration qualifications for veterinary nurses to replace the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing. These new qualifications would be a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing and a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

These new qualifications grew out of the joint RCVS and British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) VN Futures project in which it became apparent that there was frustration amongst veterinary nurses regarding a lack of career prospects and progression, including a lack of opportunity to undertake qualifications in areas of advanced skills and knowledge.

Around 1,160 people responded to the consultation and, since the consultation closed in August, our Post-registration Qualification Working Party has been busy collating the feedback and making the appropriate changes to the proposals.

The latest draft of the proposals were recently discussed at a meeting in late October with representatives from higher education institutions and awarding organisations that provide veterinary nursing qualifications.

Julie Dugmore, RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing, explains: “We had a very positive meeting with these representatives who gave some very detailed and practical feedback with where improvements could be made to our current set of proposals.

“As a result of this feedback we will be making a number of changes to the current iteration of the proposals including beefing up the accreditation standards, removing the synoptic assessment, inclusion of an end-point assessment that draws upon all the skills and knowledge within the programme and removing a prescriptive list of learning outcomes.

“We will now be discussing the final draft of the proposals at our next Post-registration Working Group meeting in January and hope to have the courses ready for roll out next year.”

For more details about the original proposals visit

VOL 34 • February 2019 • Veterinary Nursing Journal