The VN Council election voting period starts in early March – look out for your special issue of RCVS News Extra, which will contain candidate information and manifestos, and your ballot papers.

There are four candidates standing for two places. They are: Sue Badger, Andrea Jeffery (current VN Council and RCVS Council member), Amy Robinson and Helen Tottey.

Every year, a disappointingly low number of VNs vote in the election, with a turnout percentage of about half that for the veterinary surgeon election. At a time when the College is trying to convince Parliament and the Public of the need for statutory regulation of the title ‘veterinary nurse’, it is critical that they can see a profession engaged with its professional regulator. So please make this the year that you vote!

You will be able to vote by text, online and by post, before the closing deadline of 5pm on Tuesday 30 April. 

RVN removal

The first disciplinary hearing for a registered veterinary nurse (RVN) took place in January and the RVN Disciplinary Committee directed that the individual’s name be removed from the Register. At the time of going to press, the 28-day appeal period was still ongoing, but the result of the case revealed confusion amongst the profession about what removal from the non-statutory Register means.

First, it may help to define the List and the Register.

The List principally relates to the delegation of ‘Schedule 3 tasks’ – the giving of medical treatment, and minor surgery that does not enter the body cavity – to a person who is properly qualified and listed with the RCVS.

The Register is in effect a subset of the List. Those on the Register additionally agree to be accountable for their professional practice, abide by the Code of Professional Conduct and keep their skills and knowledge up to date, by means of continuing professional development (CPD).

If a nurse is removed from the Register for serious professional misconduct, he or she remains on the statutory List and is thus legally allowed to have Schedule 3 tasks delegated to them. However, the new Code of Professional Conduct for vets states that ‘veterinary surgeons must ensure that tasks are delegated only to those who have the appropriate competence and registration.’

In addition, the supporting guidance (section 4.1) states that: ‘Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses when supervising veterinary nurses undertaking Schedule 3 procedures, should confirm that their names are currently on the List of Veterinary Nurses (which incorporates the Register of Veterinary Nurses) maintained by the RCVS and have not been removed from the Register of Veterinary Nurses by direction of the RVN Disciplinary Committee.’

A VN who remains on the List, but who has been removed from the Register for serious professional misconduct, will be flagged up as such on the ‘Check the Register’ search tool on the RCVS website, and in the hard copy List/ Register.

We are seeking new legislation which will phase out the List and give the Register a statutory footing. In addition to remedying the fact that we cannot at present remove VNs from the List for serious professional misconduct, it is hoped that the statutory Register and accompanying legislation would also protect the title ‘veterinary nurse’.

Meanwhile, if someone is removed from the Register for non-payment of fees, they are also removed from the List, but they can reapply to join the Register at any time.

Any nurse who has been de registered for five years or more must undertake a four-month (17-week) Period of Supervised Practice (PSP), during which time they refresh clinical skills and regain confidence, before returning to full registration. This does not apply to Listed VNs – those who have not joined the Register, regardless of the duration of their break in listing. 

Visit us at BSAVA Congress!

If you are going to Birmingham for this year’s British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress (4th – 7th April), be sure to drop by the RCVS stand (106 in the NIA).

Our focus this year is on clinical governance – which is now a requirement of the VN Code of Professional Conduct. Does the very thought have you in a tangle? Then why not attend our session on Saturday 6th April (ICC Hall 7,11.05 – 12.45, with pastries from 10.45) where RCVS treasurer, Dr Bradley Viner, and RCVS veterinary investigator, Pam Mosedale, will help to unravel what clinical governance means, and give some examples of what you can do in practice to meet the RCVS requirement.

You can then come to the stand to try your hand at our ‘Untangle it’ competition, and be in with a chance of winning a Kindle Fire – and take away your free headphone de-tangler

We hope to see you there! 

• VOL 28 • March 2013 • Veterinary Nursing Journal