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Recognise The Value Of Your Vet Nurses, Says BEVA

1 year ago

11th January, 2023 11h50


The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is encouraging vet practices to recognise and reward the invaluable assets of vet nurses, with a special focus on their talents and versatility in practice this year.

The initiative, which is in response to a recent survey of RVNs, is spearheaded by BEVA’s new VN committee and championed by BEVA President David Rendle. It aims to help RVNs find their full potential in practice which in turn will help practices increase efficiency.

A recent survey of RVNs by BEVA’s new nurse committee identified that one of the main problems facing equine nurses was a poor understanding within the profession and among clients of what nurses can do within their role. Respondents believed they could be given more responsibility and do more within their roles and that there was a lack of opportunity for progression.

“RVNs are a significant an asset to any equine practice,” said David Rendle. “They have invested a lot of time and effort to become highly skilled but in some instances their significant attributes are not being utilised to the full.

“Allowing RVNs to perform the clinical tasks that they are qualified to carry out under Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, will provide better job fulfilment and career development as well as free up veterinary surgeons to carry out other tasks, all increasing the efficiency of the veterinary team.

“I feel, and the RVN survey results would seem to confirm, that veterinary surgeons and practice managers do not appreciate how much veterinary nurses are allowed to do in equine practice. We all know veterinary nurses have the ability; look at what they do in small animal and human nursing, but we have felt unnecessarily constrained by Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and the associated RCVS guidelines. If you actually look at Schedule 3 it is clear that we can and should be letting our qualified equine nurses do far more. 

“There are so many things in equine practice that nurses do better than vets. In addition to performing clinical tasks they can add wider value; they are generally (or are perceived by clients to be!) more patient, empathetic and caring so we should utilise these skills and get nurses to take on some of the roles that take more time and require longer client interactions – discussing parasite control programmes,  running weight loss clinics, reviewing healthcare plans, making follow-up phone calls and visits to name just a few. Nurses can take a lot of pressure off vets and can add a significant revenue stream for the practice.” 

To help support career development for RVNs BEVA has lined the following initiatives this year:

In addition to launching the VN Committee last year to give nurses a direct voice within the association, BEVA has introduced a dedicated forum for BEVA nurse members to chat directly to each other via the BEVA Buddy app.

Marie Rippingale Chair of the BEVA Nurse Committee said: “Last year’s recruitment and retention survey revealed that 50% of nurse respondents were earning less than £25,000 per annum and 48% of nurses said they were likely to look for a new job in the next two years. When asked their top reasons for leaving, salary was the biggest reason, and common themes on what would help the retention of nurses included salary, work-life balance and career progression.

“The review of Schedule 3 is important so we can encourage delegation of tasks to RVNs. This will allow RVNs to demonstrate their value and worth, earning money for the practice and achieving job satisfaction at the same time. This will contribute positively towards the current retention crisis.”

A BEVA nurse membership gives those in nursing roles access to a range of CPD from discounted ticket prices for BEVA Congress through to online learning resources, online access to research in Equine Veterinary Education and lots more. Throughout January 2023 BEVA is running a recommend a member campaign for nurses. Current BEVA nurse members will be able to recommend BEVA membership to another nurse who isn’t currently a member and they will both receive £10 off their 2023 BEVA membership, which normally costs £54. 

To find out more about what equine veterinary nurses can do in practice visit


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