In September, members of our Veterinary Nursing Department attended the Veterinary European Transnational Network for Nursing Education and Training (VETNNET) Conference in Porto, Portugal.

They attended with almost 70 other delegates involved in the education of veterinary nurses from countries across the con-tinent, including Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden.

One highlight of the conference was a presentation from Victoria Hedges, our Veterinary Nursing Examinations Manager, who talked about the advantages of using veterinary models when training and assessing student clinical skills and, in particular, their use in OSCE exams. For the occasion she brought along a number of anatomically accurate cat and dog models that she had made herself and used them to demonstrate how they can be made and why it is advantageous for student veterinary nurses to practise on models first before allowing them to undertake procedures on live animals.

Victoria explains: “We use models for the practical element of our Pre-Registration Examinations which many non-UK trained veterinary nurses must pass before being allowed to join our Register. I explained to the delegates when you would want to use models for assessing clinical skills and why it was beneficial for student veterinary nurses to practise these skills on anatomically correct models, in terms of building their confidence and making sure that animal welfare is not compromised.

“I demonstrated some of the models I made myself including one that allows for urine catheterisation of a male dog; a model which allows students to demonstrate how to feed a patient via a naso-oesophageal tube; another with a cephalic vein for either an IV injection or setting up a drip; and a model with an ear canal that can be used for an otoscopic examination. They were very well received and, since my presentation, I have received emails from delegates saying how much they enjoyed the session.”

Also attending the conference was Julie Dugmore, our Head of Veterinary Nursing, who is also a member of the VETNNET Board.

Meanwhile Lily Lipman, our VN Qualifications Officer, attended the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, also in Portugal, to talk to staff and students about how the Portuguese veterinary nursing qualification could be better aligned to the RCVS Day One and Year One Competences. This would mean that Portuguese veterinary nurses would be better adapted to working in the UK should they want to join the Register here.

If you are interested in finding out more about making veteri¬nary models for training purposes you can contact Victoria on

Protect the veterinary nurse title campaign

Thank you to all the veterinary nurses who have signed our GOV.UK petition calling on the Government and Parliament to support our legislation to protect the title veterinary nurse in law.

Particular thanks go out to those enthusiastic veterinary nurses who through various means – including social media, letters to MPs and reception displays in support of the campaign amongst other things – have been helping to spread the word to the animal owning public.

All this helps strengthen our message that veterinary nurses are true professionals – as demonstrated by their training and their professional responsibilities – and that it is unfair that, technically, anyone can call themselves a veterinary nurse, even if they have no relevant qualifications and are not on the Register.

For details about the campaign, including the proposed Veterinary Nurse (Protection of Title) Bill, an animated video explaining why we have launched the campaign and a link to the GOV.UK petition, please visit

Remember that you only have until 14 February 2016 to sign the petition and if we get 100,000 signatures it will be debated in Parliament!

Code of Professional Conduct changes

To complement our campaign to protect the title veterinary nurse in law, we have recently made changes to our Codes of Professional Conduct to the effect that neither veterinary surgeons nor veterinary nurses may hold out others as veterinary nurses unless they are registered as such. To do otherwise would mean being in breach of the Code.

Details of the new guidance can be found on under Section 3 ‘Veterinary nurses and the profession’.

Rewarding leadership in veterinary nursing

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is inviting nominations for the 2016 Veterinary Nursing Golden Jubilee Award recognising those veterinary nurses who are playing a leadership role within the profession and raising its profile with the public.

Sound like someone you know? Then please make sure to nominate them by downloading and filling in the form from

Only veterinary nurses can be nominated for the Award although nominations can be from either veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses. The deadline is the end of January 2016 and the Award will be given at RCVS Day in July 2016.

The Award was established in 2011 for the 50th anniversary of the first ever RCVS veterinary nursing training course. Previous winners include Jean Turner (2011), Sue Badger (2012), Hayley Waters (2014) and Dot Creighton (2015).

If you have any questions about the nomination form please contact the Veterinary Nursing Department on 020 7202 0788 or

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 30 • December 2015 •