What’s in a name? Quite a lot, if a new bill submitted to Parliament is anything to go by.
The bill, put forward by Lord Trees, himself a veterinary surgeon, seeks to make ‘Veterinary Nurse’ a protected title, one that can only be used by someone who has been properly trained and registered, and it has been welcomed by the profession as underlining the vital role of nurses in veterinary practice.
Back in 1963, when a veterinary nursing qualification was first introduced, the term ‘Nurse’ was itself a protected title, so the successful candidates were known as Registered Animal Nursing Auxiliaries, or RANAs.
Although many vets welcomed the move, some were suspicious, and those early nurses had a less significant role than they do today.
Even so, the training they received was comprehensive.
I can remember as a student comparing my stack of lecture notes with those of a student nurse and it was hard to say who had the most!
Now, of course, it is difficult to imagine life without our qualified nurses (VNs).
They are the backbone of the practice, providing much of the hand-on care of our patients and keeping the vets on their toes.
They even run their own clinics, providing clients with practical advice on how to maintain their pets’ health and manage on-going medical conditions.
Their training is as rigorous as ever, and involves a lot of practical experience, so I am really proud that our practice acts as an official Training Practice for nursing students.
Our own VNs spend a lot of time teaching students practical skills and providing written feedback on their progress, which will contribute towards their eventual qualifications.
It’s an investment we think is well worthwhile.
And as for VN? Well, we think it stands for Very Necessary!
• Peter Brown, of Northdale Veterinary Practice, writes the Herald & Gazette’s Vet’s View column. A local man, whose family history can be traced back to the 1700s in Worthing, Peter took over the practice 26 years ago. What was a one-man operation is now a thriving six-vet practice.