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The Stage one RVNPIC

Aim: To guide the decision-making process of the Stage one VNPIC as they decide whether to conclude an investigation into a registered veterinary nurse (RVN) or to refer a case to the Stage 2 RVN Preliminary Investigation Committee.

The Stage on RVNPIC is generally composed of three members of the Stage two Committee; one veterinary nurse, one veterinary surgeon and one lay member; or two veterinary nurses and one lay member. The Stage one RVNPIC is assisted by a Case Manager (who may be legally qualified) who will carry out the investigations.

The Stage one RVNPIC will make decisions when sufficient information about the concerns raised has been obtained.

The Stage one RVNPIC may direct that the Case Manager:

  1. Obtain information:
    1. from the person raising the concerns;
    2. from the RVN about whom concerns have been raised;
    3. from others at the veterinary practice, such as the RVN’s employers or other veterinary colleagues, or members of staff where the RVN works.
    4. from anyone who may have witnessed or have knowledge about any of the concerns raised; and/or,
  2. obtain clinical records relating to any treatment carried out;
  3. Instruct the College’s Veterinary Investigators to visit the RVN(s) involved; visit the person raising the concerns or anyone else who may have knowledge about the incidents, and to report back to them.

The Stage one RVNPIC will balance:

  1. Protection of the public from the risk of practice by RVNs who for any reason (whether competence, integrity or health) are unfit to practise; and the maintenance of standards;
  2. maintaining the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the profession; and the legitimate expectation of the public that concerns of a serious nature will be fully and fairly investigated;
  3. the need for legitimate safeguards for the RVN, who as a professional person may be considered particularly vulnerable to, and damaged by, unwarranted charges against him/her.

The Stage one RVNPIC must decide whether it has sufficient information to conclude that there is not a realistic prospect of establishing that what the RVN has done, or not done, has fallen far short of that expected of an RVN and could affect his/her fitness to practise, ie serious professional misconduct.

Members of the Stage one RVNPIC are obliged to consider the merits and facts of each individual case and to exercise their own judgement in making decisions. However, this should be exercised within the framework of the statutory legislation and the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Veterinary Nurses.