This consultation has now closed
RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council has approved a draft Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses for consultation.
The aim of the draft Code is to acknowledge that privileges and responsibilities go hand in hand and set out both the guiding principles and responsibilities relating to the professional conduct of veterinary nurses.
We are now keen to hear the views of the veterinary nursing profession, their employers and members of the public.
Working Party recommendations
In 2010, we established a Working Party to review the Guides to Professional Conduct for both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to ensure the content, format and presentation meet the current and foreseeable needs of the veterinary team and animal-owning public.
RCVS Council, VN Council and Advisory Committee all support the Working Party’s recommendation that the new Codes for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses should:
- be short, principles-based documents, using the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe’s Code of Conduct as the starting point;
- include a compulsory continuing professional development requirement and the RCVS Health Protocol, more on clinical competence and give prominence to relevant medicines issues;
- use consistent language to distinguish between what must be done and what is advised;
- be supported by additional advice on specific areas of veterinary practice or issues, for example, clinical governance; and,
- be available in electronic and hard copy, with links or references to any additional RCVS advice
The Subgroup tasked with preparing the draft Code for veterinary nurses has adopted a similar format to that of the draft Code for veterinary surgeons.
This a marked change in style and format from the existing Guide.
It introduces a declaration for veterinary nurses that underlines the primary importance of animal health and welfare:
"I PROMISE AND SOLEMNLY DECLARE that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care and that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to my clients, the public, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons."
The draft Code includes shorter principles-based sections and a five-point list outlining that “the overarching duty of veterinary nurses is to ensure the welfare of animals committed to their care and to fulfil their professional duties, by maintaining:
- Professional competence
- Honesty and integrity
- Independence and impartiality
- Client confidentiality and trust
- Professional accountability”
It also sets out 45 professional responsibilities for veterinary nurses in the six relationship areas of animals, clients, the profession, the veterinary team or business, the RCVS and the public.
Feedback from profession and public
The new Code was approved by VN Council in draft form to allow for online consultation with members of the veterinary nursing profession, the veterinary profession and the public.
We recognise that advice provided to veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses on professional conduct is fundamental to the way that veterinary services are provided to animals and the public, and consider that consultation should be undertaken at an early stage.
The feedback we receive from this consultation exercise will help our Working Party and the Subgroup to complete the drafting of the new Code for veterinary nurses, before seeking final approval from the VN Council and RCVS Council.
We would like to receive comments from members of the public and members of the profession on the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses.
It is important that the Code for veterinary nurses reflects the key issues that relate specifically to the role of veterinary nurses in practice.
Feedback from organisations such as veterinary nursing course providers will be particularly welcomed.
A specific issue that we would appreciate views on is the possibility of amalgamating the Codes for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.
Responses already received by the RCVS to the consultation on the veterinary surgeons’ Code are currently being considered and will also be used to help finalise the VN Code.
Deadline for comments
Please send your comments by email to Christopher Murdoch, Secretary to the Guide Review Working Party, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 21 October 2011.
Download the consultation paper and draft Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses from the 'Related documents' box, top right.
View the current RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses