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RCVS Day 2021 speeches: VN Council Chair Matthew Rendle

Matthew Rendle speaking at the 2021 RCVS Annual General Meeting on 9 July 2021Thank you Lizzie and welcome to my fellow members of RCVS and VN Councils and those of you watching from home.

I just wanted to say a few words about what an important year this is for my profession and tell you a bit about what is happening.

As some of you may have read, this year is the VN profession’s Diamond Jubilee, meaning that we are 60 years young!

We have come a long way since the first RCVS-accredited Auxiliary Nursing Assistant course in 1961 including having, thankfully, a much better name.

We are going to use this special year to not only celebrate how far we have come, but take stock of where we are now, and look to a future full of possibilities.

This special year will also be a year of firsts.

It will be the first year that we award our new Certificates in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

It will be the first year that veterinary nurses are able to apply to become Practice Standards Scheme Assessors.

It should be the first year that we reach 20,000 veterinary nurses on the RCVS Register which, put another way, means we can finally fill the O2 Arena.

All things being well, we will also be introducing the Advanced Veterinary Nurse status.

Like the Advanced Practitioner status for vets, this will mean that veterinary nurses who have done extra education, training and CPD in a designated area of practice will be able to get the recognition they truly deserve for their time and effort.

There will be a lot of different activities going on throughout this special year, including a series of three webinars on the past, present and future of veterinary nursing.

We will also be putting out a series of podcasts, each of which has a different host talking about an area of veterinary nursing they are passionate about.

For my own first podcast I interviewed Jean Turner who – I don’t think she’ll mind me saying – has been a member of the profession for a good chunk of the last 60 years.

She’s a real professional hero of mine and I had a fascinating conversation with her about what has changed, what hasn’t changed and what really needs to change!

Speaking to Jean reminded me that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.

Where we are as a profession is down to those who came before us and we owe it to them, and future generations of veterinary nurses, to make sure we are always progressing and improving.

This amazing journey will be shown in a special Diamond Jubilee eBook that we will be publishing later this year. It’s definitely something to look forward to!

Talking of things to look forward to. Thanks to RCVS Council voting to accept the recommendations of the Legislation Working Party, veterinary nursing has a bright future ahead of it.

In any future legislation there will be that important protection of the veterinary nurse title for which we have campaigned for many years.

There will be enhancement of the veterinary nursing role in many areas including anaesthesia.

There will be a separation of delegation and employment, meaning that veterinary nurses will be better placed to fulfil their potential in the interests of animal health and welfare.

I still sometimes hear my veterinary nursing colleagues refer to themselves as ‘just a veterinary nurse’.

Whenever I hear it said, I challenge it.

With the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year I think we will be making a very big challenge to that mindset and it will remind all veterinary nurses that we are brilliant professionals, with a long and proud history and that we are a force for good in society.

Thank you.

July 2021