Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Nurses - Don't take us for granted.

I'm till a big believer that nurses are still not used to their full potential in practice. At times practices are still archaic with the jobs they expect their veterinary nurses to do. Many still see them as glorified cleaners, and I believe its a big reason why lots leave the profession.

However in some practices times are changing, lots are work in progress - I won't digress as to which mine is but I'm a big fan of things moving forward.

We are after all professionals in our own right, we are now registered veterinary nurses and to be on the 'list' we are required to partake in at least 15 hours CPD per year or 45 hours over three years. Many do much more than this. Being registered also means that we are responsible for our own actions, no longer can nurses be safe because 'the vet told me to do it.' As a result of the changes to the profession over recent years more and more practices are realising the hidden potential and assets veterinary nurses can bring.

That said we still have an awful long way to go. Clarity is still needed with regards to lay staff or 'unqualified nurses'. Personally although they still have their place in the modern practice, I feel it belittles the profession as a whole that these staff continue to do roles that they shouldn't. However it is such a grey area that both the RCVS and DEFRA need to provide conclusive clarity on this subject.

Last year there was a petition submitted to parliament to 'protect the title veterinary nurse' to stop non qualified and registered people calling themselves veterinary nurses. This was the governments response: 'We recognise the important role that veterinary nurses have in animal care, but we do not recommend that Parliament should give legal protection to the title.'

The full response to the parliamentary petition can be found on these websites:

& this was the BVNAs response:

Whilst this is a shame and not the result many of us were after, I believe communication is the first step and hopefully in the future this will be discussed further and action taken.

However back to your regular practices, I believe many practice managers and directors need to see what veterinary nurses can do for their practice. From the income Nurses can provide through nurse consults, to performing minor surgery under Schedule 3 procedures. Yes cleaning is still an important role for nurses to partake in especially when it comes to cleaning specialised equipment. However I'm hoping times will change and no longer will we be seen as coffee makers and toilet cleaners. Perhaps when more 'old school vets and practices' realise this more nurses will dedicate more of their working lives to remaining in the practice and furthering their skills. Treat us as the professionals we are and your will see moral and drive increase.

Over my years in practice I have witnessed many Veterinary Nurses demoralised and ready to leave the profession, I hope that times will continue to change and move forward. That way we will keep our skilled staff and therefore that skill base that can help and teach the new generation of nurses.

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