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A veterinary nursing perspective of the vet-led team

10 Dec 2019 | BVNA Council Members


The vet-led team is exactly that - vet-led - but it is the whole structure of the team that is crucial for our patients’ care.

Take the case of a veterinary practice that is a central hub for a group of four practices. The team across the group consists of 16 Receptionists, two Patient Care Assistants (PCA), nine Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) and one student veterinary nurse (SVN).

Making the best use of the roles we all play is the best way forward

Veterinary nurses are a fountain of knowledge and skills, and the list of jobs they can do is endless. Every day is different, and every day requires different skills to deal with the various situations we undoubtedly face. Having a PCA run bloods while veterinary nurses are placing IVs and preparing pre-medications for the list of operations to do on a given day makes things more efficient. The vet will have other patients to look after, perhaps plan a particularly difficult surgery ahead.

Having a pre-op discussion if there is a difficult operation ahead can make such a difference, eg when an animal that has been involved in a road traffic accident that has a diaphragmatic hernia that requires a repair. By going through the needs of the patient pre-operatively, all hands can be on-deck. The anaesthesia nurse can have all the medications necessary to hand. A PCA can be a runner fetching surgical equipment to provide the surgical team with everything they need.

However, vet nurses can find themselves underused in certain areas of their vocation. They could do so much more in practice; with further training and competency, they can use their current skillset and expand it. We can then make better use of those that may wish to progress their career, including PCAs.

The VN Taskforce

That is why BVNA and BVA have come together to establish the VN Taskforce. The task force is an opportunity for the professions to work together to galvanise a vision for vet nursing and the roadmap to get there.

Without all the cogs working within a clock, a clock won’t run at its best. A veterinary practice is the same - we all need to work together to all work at our best.


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