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Recognising the work and support of vet nurses

Earlier this year saw the launch of the VN Futures report which came about as a result of the Vet Futures initiative. This prompted me to think about the role of veterinary nurses within our profession and the practice team.

Veterinary nurse treating a dogEarlier this year saw the launch of the VN Futures report which came about as a result of the Vet Futures initiative. This prompted me to think about the role of veterinary nurses within our profession and the practice team.

Veterinary Nurses (VNs) play an integral and varied role in a practice – they are health care advisers, first-line providers of care to hospitalised patients, highly skilled professionals, clinical mentors, and a vital support to vets. Their role and value to the practice can be extended by further training and qualifications providing specialist nurses and consultant nurses.

As a new graduate, starting life in practice is a daunting time, and experienced VNs provide important clinical and emotional support to young vets. When I think back to my first few months in practice, I am so grateful to the nurses who provided advice and support. Even though I have gained experience and moved jobs, I still appreciate the ongoing support of the dedicated nursing team that I am surrounded by on a daily basis. They provide the best standards of clinical care, keep the hospital running smoothly, support the practice team and still offer a friendly face in times of need.

A vision for the future

VN Futures report As I read more about VN Futures, it struck me that a lot of the issues that VNs experience in practice are similar to those met by young vets. There seems to be an issue with retaining nurses within the profession, which appears to be due to inflexible working hours and the lack of a structured and rewarding career path for them.

The report sets out a vision for the vet nursing profession over the next 5 years. Its main ambitions are to:

  • create a sustainable workforce
  • provide a structured and rewarding career path
  • create a confident, resilient, healthy and well-supported workforce
  • take a proactive role in One Health
  • maximise the potential of VNs
  • provide a clarified and bolstered VN role by reforming Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act

I hope that VNs can work alongside vets to build a sustainable and bright future for the profession. Life in practice can be stressful and demanding for the whole practice team, regardless of experience, but it is important to remember the key role of VNs, appreciate the support they provide and endeavour to provide the same in return.

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