The VN Futures Board is pleased to welcome Matthew Rendle RVN to the Board, as from July 2019. Matthew, who is currently Vice-Chair of RCVS VN Council, is head nurse at Holly House Vets in Yorkshire and was previously head nurse at ZSL London Zoo.

On his appointment, Matthew commented: “I am really excited and honoured to be joining the VN Futures Board and continuing the great work that is already underway. VN Futures is an unprecedented opportunity for improving the role of the veterinary nurse by resolving some of the chronic issues, such as career development, that can detract from the amazing career that UK veterinary nursing is."

Matthew was also featured in the recent showcase of veterinary leaders – Inspiring Veterinary Leaders. In this he shares his interesting earlier life, how he found veterinary nursing and how important it is to show kindness and empathy in practice.

“This is not a straightforward profession: some people glide across it and it never really affects them, but a lot of people struggle with it. I have learned from my own experiences that everybody deals with situations differently. So for instance, somebody who is consistently late, instead of saying ‘why are you always late?’- you ask them ‘are you okay?’ And then they might open up about what is going on. But emotional intelligence, it’s not something you get taught how to have. It is a hard thing to acquire"

A booklet containing the full interview with Matthew and a video featuring him and the 11 other inspiring leaders can be found at

School Ambassadors Pilot

The Sustainable Workforce Group for VN Futures is currently focusing on launching a School Ambassadors pilot, where ambassadors for the profession will talk to children and young adults about careers in veterinary nursing.

The aim of the pilot is to raise awareness of the VN profession, and the potential for a career in veterinary nursing, in schools and at school fairs. The pilot will also create materials and resources for different age groups which will enable a unified approach to delivering the material and message to children of school age.

This project will be run with the support of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Foundation – a government-backed educational charity which aims to encourage the younger generation to enter a career in these areas. More information on this pilot will be shared as it progresses.

VN Futures at inaugural SVN Fest

The work of the VN Futures project was highlighted as part of the inaugural Student Veterinary Nurse (SVN) Fest which took place at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in July.

Jill Macdonald, Project Manager for the joint RCVS and British Veterinary Nursing Association initiative, and Julie Dugmore, RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing, attended the event with the aim of helping nurses who are entering the profession learn more about VN Futures and how they can get involved.

Jill spoke to those attending about the key areas of focus for the project over the next few months – maximizing the role and value of VNs in practice, educating the next generation on the possibilities of a career in veterinary nursing including promotion of diversity, and researching and developing the district or community nursing role.

Jill Macdonald commented: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to attend the first SVN Fest and talk to the next generation of our profession about why it is so important they take an interest in and contribute to their future via the project.

“We were pleased to see that many of the students were aware of the VN Futures project thanks to its well-known supporters such as Louise Northway, who spoke about the project during her keynote speech"

The VN Futures project is aiming to attend similar events over the coming two years to engage the profession, increase awareness of the project’s work and to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the profession.

If you are interested in getting involved in VN Futures, or if you wish to invite someone to visit your practice or event to talk about the project, you can contact Jill Macdonald on http:jill@

Increasing diversity in the profession

VN Futures and the Sustainable Workforce Group are also looking at increasing diversity in the profession and how we can utilise the already diverse workforce to showcase the profession. Therefore, diversity and inclusion will be at the forefront on any future actions for the group. 

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 34 • October 2019 •