Call for VNs to have say over their profession’s future

18th April 2024
Industry News

Current and future veterinary nurses are being given the chance to share their hopes for the profession’s progression over the next decade in a new VN Futures initiative.

Both RVNs and SVNs have been invited to take part in any of three Vet Nursing Vision workshops, which are due to take place between now and mid-July.

Officials say the events will enable participants to share their hopes for where the profession could be by 2035, as well as their thoughts on what needs to be done to achieve those aims.

Registration is now open for the first workshop, which will take place at the College of Agriculture’s Greenmount Campus in County Antrim on 8 May.

Subsequent sessions are scheduled for Edinburgh Napier University on 20 June and Harper Adams University in Shropshire on 11 July.

New work

Project lead Jill Macdonald said the scale of sectoral change since the initiative between the RCVS and BVNA was launched eight years ago, including a doubling in size of the veterinary nursing profession, meant the new work was now required.

She urged participants to share their ideas for inspiring new staff into the sector and retaining existing staff, as well as their wider aspirations for the future.

She added: “While VN Futures has continued to stay relevant in its focus on career development and showcasing the diversity of career option open to veterinary nurses, the new reality means we need to reconsider the fundamental aims of the project.”

The programme was also on the agenda during a panel discussion on the future of the veterinary nursing profession, held as part of BSAVA Congress in Manchester last month.

‘Melting pot’

RCVS veterinary nursing director Julie Dugmore told the session: “We hope that by the end of the year, we will have a whole melting pot of things to look at.”

Delegates also heard that research was currently examining the potential of developing a specific veterinary nurse prescriber role, with the hope that some of its findings could be published this year, as well as an advanced GP general practitioner status to align with broader work on the development of clinical career pathways.

Meanwhile, hopes that new veterinary sector legislation will help to expand the work that VNs can do, as well as providing final formal protection for the title of veterinary nurse, continue to endure.

Mrs Dugmore argued the passage of new laws would herald an exciting new chapter for the profession, while the college’s new “under care” rules also allow nurses to do more in certain situations, including emergences.

Although the panel acknowledged there was a continuing need to raise the profession’s public profile, Northwest Veterinary Specialists’ head internal medicine nurse, Sophie McMurrough, said nurses now have a “louder voice” in the sector than ever before.


Mrs McMurrough said: “It’s a very empowering time to be an RVN. We now have a voice as an RVN that we didn’t always have.

“We are a very important part of the team. We are our own profession. We have our own skill set and we shouldn’t be afraid to use them.”

Registration for the Northern Ireland workshop is now open.

Meanwhile, further questions about the project can be emailed to


Credit to:  Call for VNs to have say over their profession’s future (Vet Times)

Vet Times. (2023).  Call for VNs to have say over their profession’s future [online]

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