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Got a story? Call the news desk on 01733 383544/383547 RCVS survey shows evidence of ‘positive changes’– BVNA

The BVNA has expressed its delight following the latest RCVS surveys of the veterinary and VN professions, and vowed to build on the positive elements it highlighted.

The surveys were conducted via questionnaires by the Institute for Employment Studies between June and July 2019. The response rate for VNs – including partially completed questionnaires – was 44.3 per cent.

The report stated: “The VN profession is predominantly made up of women, illustrated by 96.8 per cent of survey respondents being female; however, the percentage of male respondents has increased very slightly, from 2 per cent in 2008 to 2.7 per cent in 2019.”

More than half (55.5 per cent) of respondents qualifi ed as VNs from 2010 onwards, with only 15.7 per cent having qualifi ed before 2000.

The majority of respondents (97.1 per cent) qualifi ed in the UK, with 0.8 per cent qualifying in the Republic of Ireland and a further 0.8 per cent qualifying elsewhere in Europe, the majority from Portugal.

Th e re p o r t st ate d : “ Th e V N profession seems to be relatively accessible in social mobility terms, in that respondents who lived entirely or mainly in the UK while growing up mostly attended state schools (93.5 per

cent) and less than one-quarter (21.3 per cent) have one or more degreeeducated parents or guardians.

“In addition, 19.8 per cent lived in households that at some point received income support, and 17.5 per cent received free school meals; it appears the VN profession is relatively accessible.” Standout points include: ● Some 80.3 per cent of VNs were participating in clinics, compared to previous years. Examples of clinics include parasite control, weight management and nail clipping. Furthermore, 91.9 per cent considered themselves to have “expertise” in at least one area of their role, with anaesthesia, parasite control, nail-clipping and weight management the most commonly cited examples. ● Some 72 per cent of VNs plan to stay in the profession for more than fi ve years, 3.2 per cent plan to retire at some point over the same period, and 24.8 per cent plan to leave at some point in the next fi ve years for reasons other than retirement. For those planning to leave, the top two reasons for doing so were pay (77.3 per cent) and not feeling rewarded/valued (non-fi nancial; 59.8 per cent). ● Respondents were positive about the RCVS, with the overwhelming majority (90.1 per cent) using the online Professional Development Record (now 1CPD) to record their CPD, compared to 52.4 per cent in 2014, for example. ● The three most commonly cited workplace benefits received by VN respondents are paid time off for training/CPD (77.4 per cent), RCVS retention fees paid in whole or part (74.3 per cent) and fi nancial support for training/CPD (69.7 per cent). In 2014, just 46 per cent had their RCVS retention fees paid by their employer.

Right direction BVNA junior vice-president Jo Oakden said: “The BVNA is delighted to see evidence of the positive changes highlighted in this summary. This is further proof our profession is heading in the right direction.

“It is particularly pleasing to see the response about CPD and to read that employers are more engaged with providing it. CPD is vital to the future progression of any nurse, which is only helped further by reading in the summary that CPD is now seen more accessible and recording CPD is easier. “Nurses now have more opportunities to use their areas of expertise and are starting to focus their CPD accordingly. VN Futures have worked at developing the postgraduate qualifications for nurses, as well as the BVNA developing learning pathways. These initiatives are another positive step in supporting a nurse’s desire for specific further education, to support them in their role.” Mrs Oakden continued: “We are committed to seeing the veterinary nurse title protected. A previous attempt was unsuccessful simply as a result of not getting enough signatures to secure the necessary parliamentary time for debate. We know this is still a priority for our members and is another reason why events, such as Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, are so important for educating members of the public and our paraprofessionals on the importance of the RVN.”

As well as its positive points, the BVNA was also “grateful” the survey highlighted the work still to be done to enhance the profession.

Mrs Oakden said: “Financial reward, stress levels and managing client expectations all remain challenges that are faced daily by nurses. The BVNA remains ever mindful of these challenges and will continue to do all it can to ensure to build on the positive elements of this report.”

She continued: “We want to thank those nurses who did respond to the survey. Such responses are crucial to driving the continued change for good in our profession. Positive progression is occurring – we all need to take responsibility for our profession and the developments we require.”

VN top-up degree launches

RVNs can now top up their qualifi cation to a degree with The College of Animal Welfare (CAW).

From September, in partnership with Middlesex University London, CAW is o ering RVNs the chance to update their veterinary nursing qualifi cation to a BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing degree.

The new programme, delivered predominantly via distance learning, aims to give learners the skills, experience and knowledge needed to become a critically thinking individual who can enhance the standing of the VN profession. Learners will develop skills in critical evaluation, academic writing and complex decision-making.

VNs will be able to tailor the degree to their professional interests by choosing from a range of elective modules, including nursing exotics and wildlife, and equine nursing, emergency and critical care.

Additionally, completion of the pharmacology module culminates in eligibility for companion animal SQP status.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/32svC7j or telephone 01480 422060.

Readers should note views expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. ©2018, Veterinary Business Development Ltd (no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher). VN Times and vet times.co.uk are registered trade marks of Veterinary Business Development Ltd. All other trade marks acknowledged.

Editor: Rachael Buzzel 01733 383560 rachaelbuzzel@vbd.co.uk

Sub-editor: Sara Frost sarafrost@vbd.co.uk Production: Lisa Leftley 01733 383543 lisaleftley@vbd.co.uk Display advertising sales: Ian Morris 01733 383535 ianmorris@vbd.co.uk

Subscriptions: Nikki Dartnell 01733 383539 nikkidartnell@vbd.co.uk VBD is committed to the highest standards of accuracy and fairness, but mistakes can occasionally occur. For full details of our formal editorial complaints procedure, visit www.vettimes. co.uk/?p=558

VBD is a member of press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). For details, visit www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO

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vntimes EDITORIAL BOARD Wendy Sneddon RVN Helen Tottey C&G SACN, RVN Stacey Bullock RVN Shakira Miles RVN Matthew Rendle RVN

RCVS sees return of VN council election as ‘record number’ of VNs step forward

A record number of RVNs have put themselves forward for VN council, which will see an election for the fi rst time in two years.

Th e R C VS a n n o u n ce d t h e candidates standing in the 2020 RCVS council and VN council elections on 10 February.

Elections for VN council have not been held since 2017 – no election took place in 2018 due to governance issues, while 2019 saw too few candidates stand to hold an election. However, this year a record 13 RVNs have put themselves forward to compete for the 2 available places. The VN council candidates are: ● Samantha Anderson ● Jessica Beckett ● Kirsten Cavill

● Rebecca Clark ● Dorothy Creighton ● Lindsey Anne Dodd ● Emma Foreman ● Racheal Marshall (incumbent) ● Megan Oakey ● Susannah Phillips ● Matthew Rendle (incumbent) ● Claire Roberts ● Cathy Woodlands

Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS registrar and returning officer for both elections, said: “After two years without an election for VN council it is fantastic to see that a record number of veterinary nurses have put themselves forward as candidates.

“It demonstrates there is a desire among the profession to engage with VN council and the important issues it decides on around veterinary nursing education, CPD and registration.

“It is also the fi rst year the number of veterinary nurse candidates has outnumbered the number of vets standing for RCVS council.”

Both the RCVS and VN councils elections are due to start in the week commencing 16 March when the ballot papers, and candidates’ details and manifestos, will be posted and emailed to all members of both professions who are eligible to vote. The voting materials will be sent by Civica Election Services (formerly Electoral Reform Services), which is running the election on behalf of the RCVS, and the emails will contain a unique security code for each member of the electorate, as well as a link to a secure voting website. All votes, whether postal or online, must be cast by 5pm on Friday 24 April 2020.

Statements for RCVS council candidates can be found at www. rcvs.org.uk/vetvote20 and those for VN council candidates at www.rcvs.org.uk/vnvote20.

BVNA council The BVNA has also called on its members to stand for election to BVNA council. This year, five RVN seats and two SVN seats are available. BVNA president Jo Hinde said: “BVNA elections are an exciting time of year and I urge all veterinary nurses, both qualifi ed and students, to consider running for election.

“Being part of BVNA council provides a unique opportunity Finalist Business Publication of the Year 2017

for you to help shape the future of veterinary nursing in the UK. It doesn’t matter if you are newly qualified or have many years of experience – it also doesn’t matter if you no longer work in a clinical setting – all RCVS-registered nurses are welcome to apply. All we ask is that you commit to fulfi l the role to the best of your ability, and bring your passion and drive to the table. “Being on council also gives you an opportunity to learn and develop a range of new skills, as well as working alongside a group of dedicated individuals who aspire to making veterinary nursing the best it can be.” The closing date for nominations is 31 March.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2Tfi 6Q9

category | subject comment | columns Matt’s Masterclass _ _ _ _ _ _ Matthew has been a qualifi ed VN for more than 25 years, with a particular interest around the care and welfare of exotic species in captivity and the wild. He is head nurse (exotics referral) at Holly House Veterinary Hospital (including Ark Referrals) in Leeds, chairman of the Association of Zoo and Exotic Veterinary Nurses – which he co-founded in 2016 – and vice-chairman of RCVS VN council, a role that gave him a greater understanding of the challenges facing veterinary nurses and the honour of “doing his bit” for the profession’s future. MATTHEW RENDLE _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ This month, Matt considers the “modern veterinary family”, and how VNs and vets can work together and make the most of each other’s skills to ensure the best patient care

When I fi rst started my veterinary nursing journey in 1989, working in a large mixed practice, it was expected I would address the senior vets formally; in my case, it was Mr Johnson and Mr Daniels.

To be honest, it made me slightly fearful of occasions where I would have to engage with them, and I am not sure how suggesting having a “clinical discussion” would have been received at the time, but I suggest my request would have been met with some confusion due to a lack of understanding of what a trainee VN could possibly bring to such a discussion.

Fast forward to 2020 and, thankfully, a much greater understanding exists of the amazing knowledge, experience and skill within veterinary nursing. I work in a team that actively encourages clinical engagement and input from all levels of the nursing team, including veterinary care assistants (VCAs). I know this tangibly improves the welfare and standard of veterinary care we provide for our patients. For me, this is progression that needs to continue as it’s of paramount importance in helping create the modern veterinary family. We still have a long way to go, and I am sad when I hear of extremely experienced and knowledgeable VNs not being allowed the opportunity to give their clinical input and guidance to less experienced vets.

This detracts from our role as veterinary nurses, causes disillusionment in the profession and, ultimately, detracts from the care and welfare of the patients under our care. I believe some things exist that we can do to improve this situation.

Clinical guidance, not clinical governance? A lack of clarity exists in both professions as to what level of clinical input is appropriate for veterinary nurses to have in patient care – we need to be very clear with each other on how this needs to work.

For me, the key thing is only veterinary surgeons ever have clinical governance. However, RVNs, SVNs and VCAs should be a orded an opportunity for o ering opinions on a patient’s care, and the level of that clinical input should refl ect their experience and the amount of time they have spent with that patient; therefore, clinical guidance.

Clinical communication Nurses should be actively encouraged to give clinical guidance. We need to be mindful that we can o er suggestions and guidance to vets – it’s completely up to them if they choose to take that on board – but, as nurses, we can signifi cantly improve the likelihood of our suggestions being instigated by how we deliver them: • Timing is key – don’t brain dump a lot of clinical information at an extremely busy time. • Be concise – don’t wa e and take up lots of clinical time; it detracts from the facts. • Base your suggestions on sound clinical experience and, ideally, evidence-base them. • It needs to be a clinical discussion, not an argument. Both parties need to be professional. • Don’t be a “know-it-all nurse” – refl ect on these clinical discussions and learn from them. • No one likes to be made to feel they lack knowledge; consider the feelings of your vets. Be encouraging, supportive and positive, not judgemental or negative about their abilities. If you make your veterinary surgeons feel they are not doing a good job, they will not ask for your clinical guidance again. When we are empowered to carry out a clinical procedure by a vet, it’s really important we make a really good job of it. Make sure your nursing is to a really high standard. If you’re not comfortable with something you are being asked to do, ask for some help from the more experienced RVNs around you or ask for some external CPD on the matter.

If you don’t do a really good job when a vet delegates a clinical procedure to you (especially the fi rst time), that vet will lose confi dence in your nursing abilities and will be less likely to delegate to you again. Moreover, do ask for constructive feedback from your vets, so you can improve and grow as a nurse. For example, a vet says to you: “Can you please admit ‘Olive Rendle’. She has a possible foreign body and has been vomiting repeatedly for 48 hours. Can we get informed consent for permission to blood sample for a full in-house screen, IV fl uid therapy with Hartmann’s solution at twice maintenance, and lateral and ventrodorsal abdominal radiographs. Can you get this

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ This quarterly column brings with it an opportunity to share your experiences, queries and concerns in practice – just as these readers did this month. If you have any questions, or observations you would like to share, email mattrendle@vntimes.co.uk We can’t wait to hear from you! KEEP IN TOUCH done and let me have the results ASAP, and then we can discuss a treatment plan.” Can you say you are 100 per cent confi dent in your nursing abilities that you can carry out every element of this clinical procedure to a high standard? If not, please do ask for that additional support.

Make sure your team is all on the same page. I have never really considered this until a clinical situation occurred recently.

I was working in the referral centre on a very busy day and a vet new to our hospital had an African grey parrot booked in for a microchip. The vet had concerns about this procedure, but especially the handling of the parrot.

She found me and asked if I had any experience of handling birds, which made me smile. However, it seriously highlighted to me that, as nurses, we need to take the time to have a pre-clinical discussion with new vets (and nurses) joining the team about what we can do for them clinically and our clinical experience. They can tell us the same and this can only improve the clinical e ciency of your team, let’s take the time to do it. Future The level of the knowledge and ability within veterinary nursing is increasing steadily every year. Some clinical areas will not exist in which some nurses will have more knowledge and skill than some vets. It’s really important we don’t panic our fellow professionals, but encourage them to use our skills and optimise the clinical service we provide. The whole veterinary family needs to use this knowledge in the nurses, and not feel unnerved or feel undermined by us. We are a key part of the veterinary team and we all want the same thing, and that is always to improve the veterinary care and welfare of our patients.

“Since the earliest days of my career, nursing colleagues have taught me more than I can possibly say. Patient care is at the core of both our professions, and is best served when we both bring our complementary skills together and work closely as a team” – Amanda Boag. Matt Image: goodluz / Adobe Stock

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