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Review of day one competences, skills and professional behaviours for veterinary nurses

Please note: this consultation has now closed.

We have launched a six-week consultation to seek feedback on a set of proposed new day one competences, day one skills (small animal and equine) and professionals behaviours required of newly-qualified veterinary nurses joining the RCVS Register.

Please use the follow drop-downs to read more of the background, download the PDF consultation document, and see how to respond.

What are day one requirements?

The RCVS Day One Competences, Skills and Professional Behaviours for Veterinary Nurses are the minimum essential requirements that all student veterinary nurses are expected to have met in order to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses.

The requirements incorporate knowledge, skills and behaviours and ensure they are safe and competent to practise on day one, as follows:

  • Day One Competences: the minimum essential competences we expect all student veterinary nurses to have met when they register.
  • Day One Skills Lists (small animal): the essential clinical skills, that veterinary nurses are expected to possess upon entering small animal clinical practice.
  • Day One Skills Lists (equine): the essential clinical skills, that veterinary nurses are expected to possess upon entering equine clinical practice.
  • Professional behaviours and attributes: the behaviours newly-qualified veterinary nurses are expected to demonstrate upon entering the profession.

Having utilised the current version of the requirements since 2016, the skills and competences for veterinary nurses are due for review in order to remain current and reflective of practice requirements.


The proposed new requirements have been developed over the past few years by a working group comprising RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council members, veterinary nurse educators, students, and small animal and equine veterinary nurses.

In November 2019 members of the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Team visited various Colleges across the UK and met with a range of student veterinary nurses, Clinical Supervisors, Internal and External Quality Assurers and Lecturers.

The next step in the consultation process was unfortunately delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, work was commenced again in April 2021.

A working group was created, with representation from both small animal and equine veterinary nurses, students, educators, and Clinical Supervisors. The group was chaired by Matthew Rendle, Chair of VN Council.

The working group initially reviewed feedback from the meetings held in November 2019 and agreed to some initial amendments.

Following this, a number of meetings were held during the summer of 2021 with veterinary nursing educators, allowing a first opportunity for those delivering and assessing the DOC/DOS/PB to consider their relevance, currency and usability.

The feedback from these sessions has been reviewed by the working group, who have now agreed to the proposals within this consultation.

Upon conclusion of the consultation, the responses will be reported to the working group, which will have a final opportunity to amend and agree the proposals, before being submitted to VN Council for consideration.

The aim is that VN Council will agree to the new version of the requirements in its February 2022 meeting.

Key changes

Some of the key changes in the new proposals include:

  • bolstered requirements for newly-qualified veterinary nurses to have a greater understanding of the key considerations when deciding what can be delegated to a veterinary nurse and when to accept such delegation;
  • an understanding on how to collaborate with the veterinary team on Quality Improvement (QI) activities; and,
  • a greater emphasis on making sure that VNs are looking after their health and wellbeing.

The new proposals have also clarified the wording of much of the guidance to make it easier to understand and removed a previous requirement for student veterinary nurses to have gained endoscopy experience.

Download the proposed new day one requirements

Who should respond?

We are keen to reflect the opinions of all those involved in the training of student veterinary nurses and welcome comments from all veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons, students and practice managers.

Whilst not every member of the professions will be actively training student veterinary nurses, upon completion of the day one requirements, registered veterinary nurses will undertake roles in many different areas of the veterinary sector industry, so it is important they are fully prepared for this.

The aim of this consultation is to provide an effective representation of what the professions desire from future RVNs.

How to respond

The consultation comprises a series of questions in an online survey.

For each competence/skill/behaviour, we ask whether you think it and its supporting guidance is current and relevant.

RCVS Day One Competences, Skills and Professional Behaviours for Veterinary Nurses - For consultation November 2021

If you disagree, or are not sure, we ask you to detail your reasoning.

You can choose to answer the questions in all of the sections, or you can use the drop-down menu to skip straight to a particular section.

Please note: the initial ‘About you’ questions are mandatory, but we do not ask you to identify yourself personally, so all responses are anonymous.

If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, however, please provide the name of that organisation.

Finally, because this is a fairly lengthy consultation and you cannot save your progress, we recommend you use the PDF consultation document to prepare your responses offline, and then copy/paste them into the online survey.

Complete the survey

The deadline for all responses is 5pm on Wednesday, 22 December 2021.