Earlier this year the RCVS asked for feedback on the proposed changes to the current vet nurse Advanced Diploma – see the news here. The qualification requires re-validation as all qualifications do on a regular basis and this has fallen at a time when VN Futures is looking at career progression and education of vet nurses.
This has resulted in some possible changes to the qualification including moving the academic level up to a Level 7 qualification and opening up the possibility of shared modules with the vets CertAVP qualification. So far, so good.
I have already given my feedback to the RCVS through their survey so what I wanted to raise awareness of here was the subject areas that are proposed for the diploma to cover and more specifically one big area that was missing:
First opinion vet nursing
We are used to seeing advanced qualifications be based around medical or surgical nursing or ECC or anaesthesia. While all these are worthy CPD routes it strikes me that not everyone may want to become a ‘specialist’ nurse in a specific clinical area and although I have done advanced training in some of these areas myself I consider myself very much a first opinion nurse. A good (I hope!) all-rounder who moves from behavioural first aid in the waiting room to ECC nurse in the prep room and lots in between.
First opinion, primary or general care whatever title this area is given is sometimes neglected for the specific training needs it has and there are a few facts to support the need to have a ‘general specialist’ qualification for vet nurses:
- This is where most vet nurses and vets are employed
- Most cases seen don’t ever need a ‘second opinion’ so a complete care journey is achieved by these practitioners
- The knowledge held by staff is not ‘general’
- These practices provide valuable training and support for student vets and nurses
There are also the non-clinical aspects of first opinion vet nursing to consider. It is often the nurses who provide the administrative support to allow a practice to function and this covers everything from pet insurance claims to rotas. There is often a level of financial skill needed in sourcing new products and keeping the practice prices competitive but making a profit. First opinion vet nurses are also key in ensuring great communication between the team and with clients and finally as ever I do believe all vet nurses are leaders.
With all these necessary skills to master and I’m sure you’re thinking of many more right now could it be time to harness suitable training under a First Opinion specialism?
Could we see a GP AVN qualification added to the RCVS plans for the Dip AVN and bring together the skills needed – nursing, business, management, customer care communication and leadership? I really hope so as we need to be proud of the quality of first opinion care we provide in the UK and celebrate it.
Over the years I have written a number of blogs for student vet nurses covering many different aspects of training to be a vet nurse in the UK. Student vet nurses are quite different to many other students as the title ‘student vet nurse’ is a legal one which carries quite a high level of responsibility.
If you scroll through the blogs on here you’ll see a collection of words below each picture and these are WordPress ‘tags’ and the link blogs by group. I use quite a few and there is always some overlap but you’ll find a great list of student vet nurse blogs if you click here
How do you get to be a student vet nurse?
There are several ways to become a student vet nurse and different courses to attend. The most popular is the Level 3 Diploma in the UK and this has two awarding bodies – CQ and City and Guilds. Completing either course will allow you onto the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) register of vet nurse in the UK. These courses are often run as day release courses at local colleges and most students then work in or attend placements in vet practices.
There are also degree course in vet nursing that could lead you to a FdSc or BSc in vet nursing and again you can enter the RCVS register. These students aren’t employed by a vet practice but are placed on placements by their university.
Check the blogshere
So I can train at any vets?
Well, that’s the hard bit. To train vet nurse clinics need to be registered with the RCVS as Training Practice (TP) so not all practices can train you but they can all offer work experience to see if you like vet nursing and this is often an important part of getting on a course.
TP – tick, College place – tick – am I an SVN?
You’re nearly there! There’s only one more thing you need… and that’s to be registered as a student vet nurse with the RCVS. Once this is done you can commence training and also be responsible under the RCVS Code of Conduct for caring for patients and clients. You’ll have a named person responsible for training you and that’s a clinical coach, and they’ll get other people in the clinic to also train you.
Check the blogshere
During your time as student you’ll learn lots – how to study, cope with exams and more. You’ll assist clients with sad and stressful situations and also help them greatly too. This is all a lot to take on so my blogs cover subject areas across:
- Student contracts
- Working with your clinical coach
- Studying for exams
- Surviving your OSCEs
- How to approach MCQ exams
- Degree vs diploma nurses The Myths
- Finance for vet nurses
And more – Check the blogshere
Being a student vet nurse is a great privilege and very hard work so it’s worth reading around what’s already been written and you can sign up for future blog alerts via email on the Contact Me page– there are people to support your journey!
Jane qualified via the NVQ route around 15 years ago and still remembers what its like to be a student. She teaches and supports students in a number of ways including OSCE sessions, writing support sessions and more. Find out more in Work with Jane
I’ve somehow managed to have a few pieces on a similar theme out at once, excellent or awful planning depending on your view point but for me it does allow me to put together a themed blog for the first updated of my new website so I’m quite happy with that!
SIII delegation is the legal right for vets to delegate certain protected skills to vet nurses who are on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons register. They must also be competent and trained and willing to accept the delegation. This is a two-way process that needs to be fully understood but all parties – vet, vet nurse, team and client.
Recently I have written for Vet Record, The Webinar Vets new Gazette and also for Vet Times on this subject and I’m really pleased with the picture its building of what we need to to do with SIII delegation and why.
The RCVS survey of 2017 showed vets and vet nurses didn’t fully understand the process of delegation, but both parties wanted to delegate and accept delegation more, so I’m hoping that in these articles I cover how we can do this, why we should and where we can get some help.
After all #PlanetRVN is only one letter away from #PlanVetRVN
The Webinar Vet Gazette article with links to RCVS case guides is here
The Vet Record article is free to download as a PDF until the middle of November and is here
Finally the link between EMS, the TP scheme and the AVS all rolled into one and is available here
Working in the veterinary industry usually means you need to be pretty fit and physically able. Yet there are many of us out there that live with health conditions that mean we need to practice a lot of good self care.
I shared what I do and have done during my journey living with chronic pain. Read the full blog here
Thanks to the RCVS SIII survey the results are in and what vet nurses do every day across the UK has been confirmed. Those of us in #planetrvn know what we do, but ensuring the team, our employers and the wider public know what we do is hugely important.
These results show that we need to work with vets and our employers to ensure the vet team utilises nurses skills fully. Increasing job satisfaction, career routes and hopefully retention of vet nurses.
Read the original blog here
In the veterinary industry we sometimes use our own language and this can be confusing for clients. We can also be a bit vague with our timings and while this can be due to the nature of healthcare procedures and unknown emergencies we could sometimes be a little more precise with how we describe our day to our clients. Read the original blog here…
I’ve always held an admiration for some parasites. They are tiny superheroes whose entire existence is to put in minimal effort to get the maximum out of living off others.
Owning pets means you do need to consider how to prevent them getting parasites and how to treat them if they arrive. In this blog I recall the horror of moving house to find some unwelcome guests who were not paying the mortgage!
Your pet or home having fleas doesn’t mean you are unclean or a bad pet parent… these guys are pretty indestructible check out how I coped read the original blog here
Vet nursing is a ‘young profession’ as the average age of a vet nurse is around the early to mid 30’s. This doesn’t mean that members of the profession are all young and career longevity is improving so staying in the profession is easier and more fulfilling.
All this means that inevitable the menopause will hit our industry as we are still a female dominated work force.
I have found some ideas and support for those of us in clinical work and non-clinical work so read the original blog here