The first of April may traditionally be a date for playing the fool. But not this year – as it marks the introduction of the RCVS disciplinary system for registered veterinary nurses (RVNsl.

From this date, the College will investigate any complaint received about an RVN. Our aim is to act in the public interest by safeguarding the health and welfare of animals under veterinary care and ensuring standards of conduct in veterinary practice.

The College can consider charges in three areas:

   criminal charges

   fraudulent registration

   serious professional misconduct.

The first two might seem straightforward, but what's serious professional misconduct'?

The RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses offers guidelines on what is acceptable professional and ethical behaviour. It is developed and maintained by the RCVS Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Veterinary Nurses Council.

As the name suggests, it's a guide'. It's not legally binding – although it contains references to the law, both specifically and in terms of the importance of veterinary nurses adhering to the laws of the land.

The Guide is essentially the benchmark against which a registered veterinary nurse would be judged, by both the veterinary nurse Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees. It not only sets positive standards and offers advice to registered veterinary nurses, to help them avoid making mistakes that might be considered 'serious professional misconduct', but it also reassures the public that high standards are set, followed and enforced by veterinary nurses.

So it's a good idea to swot up! To help you, our VN Guide quiz remains online. Go on, test yourself at

Walk this way…

Visit the RCVS stand (533) at BSAVA Congress (Birmingham,31 March to 3 April) to bag your free pedometer as part of our 'take the next step’ campaign, being launched at Congress to mark 50 years of veterinary nursing by urging everyone to take the next step – whether that's becoming a student, registering, taking the Advanced Diploma or even standing for Council – and move the profession forward.

While at BSAVA, you can also take part in our animal-track identification competition, to win £100 of Blacks vouchers, and join our session on Saturday 31 March 12.15, Hall Six). 

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 26 • March 2011 •