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Royal Charter FAQ for veterinary nurses

The new Royal Charter came into effect on 17 February 2015. Those veterinary nurses who remained on the List became registered veterinary nurses (RVNs).

Here are some frequently asked questions about how the new Charter impacts listed veterinary nurses and what they will be expected to do as RVNs.

Why do we have a new Royal Charter?

The College, supported by the British Veterinary Association (BVA), British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) and others, has been working towards a new Royal Charter for several years. The Charter provides many of the rules by which we operate. The new Charter is designed to modernise the College, clearly state our purpose, and underpin the regulation of veterinary nurses. We undertook extensive consultation on the new Charter in 2013, including writing to every listed veterinary nurse to explain the proposals and ask for their comments.

 

When did the new charter come into effect?

The new Charter came into effect on 17 February 2015. All veterinary nurses were written to in order to remind them of what the changes would involve.

 

What difference will the new Charter make to me?

The new Charter also means that, along with all other listed veterinary nurses, you will become a registered veterinary nurse and entitled to use the postnominals RVN. 

 

Can I choose not to become a registered veterinary nurse?

No, although you can ask to be removed from the Register but then you will not be able to carry out Schedule 3 reserved tasks.

 

RVNs are expected to undertake 45 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) over a rolling three-year period (an average of 15 hours every year). Won’t this be expensive?

What constitutes CPD is dependent on the individual’s own learning needs and therefore encompasses a wide range of activities – it is not just formal courses. For instance, up to five hours can be undocumented studies and CPD can also include in-house training or free webinars. Regardless, completion of CPD is an important part of any formal profession and is a requirement of the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses. You can view a detailed FAQ on our CPD requirements.

 

When must I start my CPD?

We will ask you whether you are undertaking CPD every year at your annual registration renewal. You will need to have completed 45 hours of CPD by the third anniversary of your being added to the Register. As stated above, we will write to inform you once you have been registered.

 

Will there be a ‘non-practising’ VN Register?

No. While veterinary surgeons have a non-practising register, this is difficult to police and confusing for the public; therefore, the Veterinary Nurses Council (VN Council) decided not to introduce one. 

 

Will veterinary nurses who do not stay on the Register ‘lose’ their qualification?

No, VN qualifications are for life and will not expire. 

 

Will I have to pay to transfer to the new Register and will the annual renewal fee increase?

No – there will be no transfer fee and the annual renewal fee for the Register is the same as for the List (currently £61).

 

Will I be required to purchase a new RVN badge?

No, it has always been up to transferring veterinary nurses whether they chose to purchase an RVN badge, although we would recommend it as a way of identifying yourself to clients as a fully qualified and registered professional.

 

Do RVNs require indemnity insurance?

Registered veterinary nurses must ensure that all their professional activities are covered by professional indemnity insurance or equivalent arrangements. As we understand it, veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses are often covered by the insurance at their practice. By way of example, the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS) has stated that from 2014 personal criminal and disciplinary cover for RVNs is included within the practice’s VDS policy provided they are included on the practice’s RVN list.

 

Will I be responsible for my own professional conduct?

Yes, you will responsible for abiding by the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses and its supporting guidance once you become a registered veterinary nurse.

 

Must I inform you if I have any criminal convictions?

Yes, you will be asked to declare any convictions, cautions or adverse findings when you renew your registration in September 2015. For further guidance about these declarations you can ring our dedicated convictions advice line on 07818 113 056 (open Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm) or email disclosure@rcvs.org.uk.

 

The new Charter will mean that VNs could have their right to undertake Schedule 3 tasks taken away if they are removed from the Register following a disciplinary hearing. Why is this necessary?

Under the new Charter the current Register and List will effectively be merged into a single Register. An RVN found guilty of serious professional misconduct could be removed from the Register and, as such, they would be prohibited from undertaking Schedule 3 reserved tasks. This is similar to the sanctions applicable to veterinary surgeons. It is not appropriate for any professional to continue to practise if they have been moved from their professional register for disciplinary reasons.

 

Will the new Charter protect the title of ‘veterinary nurse’?

The new Charter will not protect the title, but strengthening the way we regulate veterinary nurses is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, it may lend weight to the arguments for statutory protection of title. It is a priority of VN Council and the College as a whole to work towards the statutory protection of the VN title, and we will continue to lobby for this.

 

Why not have a separate regulatory body for veterinary nurses?

We have been closely involved in the development of the veterinary nursing profession and are the natural regulatory home for the profession. Furthermore, the Veterinary Surgeons Act recognises us as the regulator of veterinary nursing by restricting Schedule 3 activities to those veterinary nurses who are on the Register held by the College.

The proposals have the backing of the BVA and BVNA, and were developed out of the work of our VN Council over the last three years. VN Council was unanimous that the profession should be regulated by the RCVS; this supports the idea of VNs being a vital part of the veterinary team and their close working relationship with vets.

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