Practices are being encouraged to take part in a new census exploring the role of veterinary care assistants (VCA) and animal nursing assistants (ANA).
The initiative is being led by the Association of Veterinary Animal Care Assistants (ACAVA), and aims to explore the numbers of VCAs and ANAs working in practices, as well as potential barriers to their employment.
AVACA founder Kay Watson-Bray said: “With so much pressure on practices right now, the VCA role offers great potential to help manage workloads.
“But a picture is already emerging where the scope of the role varies widely between practices, and even the name of the role is inconsistent.
“We believe that VCAs work mainly in the areas of caring, cleaning, communication, and coordination, but that’s not currently quantified. And while some see being a VCA as a route into veterinary nursing, again we don’t understand how many primarily aspire to progress into another role or how many want to become excellent VCAs.
“We’d like to clearly identify what VCAs want and need to help them develop as veterinary professionals.”
The AVACA said the census will take around 10 minutes to complete, and it is encouraging practices to complete it collectively.
The initiative is also being sponsored by Purina Petcare, whose UK and Ireland scientific affairs manager, Libby Sheridan, described it as vital.
She said: “Practices need VCAs to help maintain high standards in animal care when everyone else is so busy.
“Coaxing a reluctant patient to eat again or ensuring the operating theatre is turned around quickly so it’s available for use after a long morning’s surgery, are time consuming tasks that can be hard to squeeze into the working day.
“And as RVNs take on further practice responsibilities, it’s clear, there is room for these highly trained support roles within the team.”
Credit to: New survey of VCA roles launches (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). New survey of VCA roles launches [online]
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