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‘IF we can define what we do and where we want to be then that will help with our future practice.’
So said Liz Branscombe, chairman of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council, at a seminar to celebrate the 50th anniversary since training for veterinary nurses (VNs) began, which was held at the RCVS headquarters in Belgravia House, London, on June 23. Entitled ‘Looking back, stepping forward’, the meeting was an opportunity for members of the profession to reflect on past achievements and experiences, and to discuss future challenges and developments. In particular, the value of defining the role of a VN and of increasing public awareness of this role was emphasised.
‘Have we actually made it as a profession yet?’ asked Ms Branscombe. She felt that veterinary nursing was close to being regarded as a profession since it now had assured standards of training and qualification, a code of professional conduct, commitment to maintaining competence and sanctions for those who transgressed; however, it was questionable whether VNs were held in high public regard. ‘We may have achieved that to a certain extent but I think there's probably still some room for improvement,’ she said. ‘One of our main aims as a profession should be to use any opportunity at any time to raise public awareness of our profession and our qualification – what it is about being a veterinary nurse that's unique.’
Ways in which this could be achieved were by ensuring that only those who were qualified used the VN title, by better defining the VN's role within the practice team, and by encouraging VNs to have greater contact with clients and to become ambassadors within the profession.
The most common reasons for becoming a VN were being able to work with animals, the variety of the workload, job …