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Standard 1 - Learning culture

VN Students


The learning culture prioritises the safety of people, including clients, students and educators, and animals enabling the values of the Code of Professional Conduct to be upheld.

Education and training are valued and promoted in all learning environments, with diversity and inclusion at the forefront.


Accredited education institutions, together with centres and training practices, must:

  1. demonstrate that the safety of people and animals is a primary consideration in all learning environments.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Health and safety policy
    2. Clinical and delivery site audits
    3. Staff induction policy
    4. Standard Operating Procedures
    5. Risk assessments
    6. Safety policy
    7. Safeguarding policies and procedures
    8. Student inductions
    9. Policy for onsite animals
    10. Fire safety protocol
    11. RPA reports
    12. Compliance with IRR 2017


    There should be robust H&S policies in place for AEIs/Delivery sites/TPs/aTPs and appropriate risk assessments for both theory and clinical environments.

    Staff and students should undertake a comprehensive induction process including e-safety and online communications.

    TPs/aTPs should adhere to Schedule 3 when allocating students to rotas, including out of hours, to ensure that they are always supervised by an RVN or MRCVS (UK Practising).

    A detailed safeguarding policy is required with appropriately trained safeguarding officers available.

    TP/aTP approval paperwork and subsequent annual monitoring paperwork should be fit for purpose to support student nurse training and the implementation of risk/support rating depending on the findings at each review. Sufficient actions/recommendations should be implemented by the delivery site and regularly monitored for completion and compliance.

  2. prioritise the wellbeing of people.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Peer reviews

    2. Continued Professional Development (CPD) documents/ policies

    3. Staff Inductions

    4. Staff reviews

    5. Nominated staff member for wellbeing

    6. Pastoral support

    7. Staff Code of Conduct

    8. Wellbeing policy

    9. Wellbeing displays (physical and online)

    10. Wellbeing initiatives

    11. Mental Health First Aider Training

    12. Mental health support procedures


    Regular staff appraisals should be completed and documented with appropriate channels followed in terms of additional training and/or support required.

    Wellbeing resources should be available to students and staff to promote mental health and wellbeing. This could include online resources, a drop-in centre, support groups and a designated wellbeing officer.

    Staff and student charters must be in place and fit for purpose.

    Teaching and Learning Observations (TALO) should be carried out regularly for all teaching staff and suitable paperwork completed to demonstrate that the RCVS CoPC has been embedded within the learning environment. 

  3. ensure that facilities and physical resources, including those used for clinical learning, comply with all relevant legislation including UK animal care and welfare standards.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Training practice (TP) /Auxiliary Training Practices (aTP) lists with risk assessments

    2. VMD Registration

    3. Policy for storage and disposal of POM-VS

    4. Standard Operating Procedures

    5. Policy for onsite animals

    6. Facility audits

    7. List of locations where qualifications are delivered

    8. Schedule of quality monitoring activity

    9. Inventory of clinical equipment and consumables

    10. Student feedback


    Clinical learning environments should be fit for purpose with a range of equipment and supplies available to enable students to undertake practical sessions and prepare for practical assessments.

    An inventory of equipment and supplies should be kept up to date, along with risk assessments for the area and relevant equipment.

    TP/aTP approval and annual monitoring paperwork contains references to regular auditing of servicing of equipment documentation, health & safety policies, risk assessments and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

    POM-V guidelines must be adhered to with appropriate guidance in place for storage and use to ensure clarity to all staff, students and examiners. Where POM-Vs are delivered to a premises, or where they are being stored on site overnight, the premises must be registered with the VMD.

  4. ensure clients have the opportunity to give, and if required withdraw, their informed consent to students being involved in the care of their animals.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Standard Operating Procedures
    2. Poster regarding consent

    3. Consent guidance within pre-operative paperwork

    4. Website content

    5. Consent forms
    6. TP/aTP approval forms


    To ensure client consent is addressed and clients are aware that they have the right to withdraw consent at any time, practices need to ensure that this is well publicised.

    This could be covered with a dedicated section for student involvement on a consent form, using a poster about consent in the reception/waiting area/consult room, or another means that can be clearly evidenced i.e., an SOP.

  5. promote client, public and animal safety and welfare and maintaining confidentiality.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Job descriptions
    2. Staff reviews
    3. Student feedback
    4. Lesson observations
    5. General Data Protection Regulation policy
    6. Student observations
    7. TP/aTP approval forms
    8. TP/aTP risk assessments

    9. Social Media policy


    Job descriptions should be tailored to different roles within the teaching team rather than a generic one.

    The opportunity for students and staff to complete online GDPR training should be considered to demonstrate that this has been embedded within all aspects of the programme.

    GDPR policy is current and reviewed regularly.

    GDPR/Data Protection is detailed within TP/aTP visit paperwork.

  6. ensure students and educators understand how to raise concerns or complaints and are encouraged and supported to do so in line with local and national policies without fear of adverse consequences.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Minutes of student meetings
    2. Minutes of student representative meetings
    3. Staff and student handbooks
    4. Induction policy and timetables for students and staff
    5. Complaints procedure
    6. Whistle Blowing Policy
    7. Social Media Policy
    8. Safeguarding Policy
    9. Wellbeing Policy


    The complaints procedure should be well documented within the Student Handbook, Programme Handbook and Placement Handbook.

    Student induction processes/materials should refer to the complaints/concerns policies so that students are aware from the outset.

    There should be a whistleblowing process in place so that students can notify educators/stakeholders in confidence and without fear of adverse consequences.

    The AEI/delivery site should be able to evidence how student/staff feedback is utilised to make changes i.e., meeting minutes, course consultation.

    Robust safeguarding measures should be in place to ensure the protection of vulnerable learners and adults.

  7. ensure any concerns or complaints are investigated and dealt with effectively, ensuring the wellbeing of people and animals is prioritised.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Complaints review board
    2. Complaints procedure
    3. Fitness to Practise Policy
    4. Safeguarding Policy
    5. Wellbeing Policy


    The AEI/delivery site should be able to demonstrate that the complaints procedure is implemented and followed according to the policy.

    Fitness to Practise Policy is available to all students from the outset of their programme and is embedded within lectures, tutorials and clinical practice.

    Complaints and feedback policies are adhered to, and all relevant parties are kept well informed throughout.

  8. ensure mistakes and incidents are fully investigated and learning reflections and actions are recorded and disseminated.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Minutes of meetings
    2. Clinical audit reports
    3. Complaints procedure
    4. Disciplinary Policy
    5. Risk assessment and policy reviews
    6. Accident records

    7. Evidence of outcomes/actions and dissemination


    Relevant complaints and performance policies for both the AEI and delivery site to be current and fit for purpose with regular reviews. The wording must be carefully considered to reflect a no blame culture.

    Meeting minutes, reports and outcomes should be disseminated to relevant parties in line with the policies and in a timely manner.

  9. ensure students are supported and supervised in being open and honest in accordance with the RCVS Codes of Professional Conduct.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Fitness to practise procedure
    2. Student feedback
    3. Module/unit handbook
    4. Lesson plans referencing RCVS CoPC
    5. Lesson observation feedback
    6. Day One Skills Recording Tool
    7. Learning logs
    8. Reflective diaries
    9. Tutorial records

    10. Learner reviews

    11. Student handbook

    12. Placement handbook


    Students’ professional behaviour should be monitored and encouraged in both clinical and theory environments. This can be implemented through the Day One Skills (DOS) recording tool or by separate means in a placement clinical tool or classroom behavioural tool.

    Programme and Placement Handbooks should refer to, and embed, the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct (CoPC).

    Teaching and Learning Observations (TALO) should be carried out regularly for all teaching staff and suitable paperwork completed to demonstrate that the RCVS CoPC has been embedded within the learning environment.

  10. ensure the learning culture is fair, impartial, transparent, fosters good relations between individuals and diverse groups, and is compliant with equalities and human rights legislation.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Lesson observations records
    2. Staff training records
    3. CPD records
    4. Self-Assessment Reports
    5. Student feedback
    6. External examiner reports
    7. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
    8. Reasonable adjustment policy

    9. Conflict of interest forms for OSCEs

    10. Complaints procedure


    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) policy to be fit for purpose and reviewed annually.

    TALO reports to evidence how ED&I is embedded within the classroom environment.

    Recruitment policy to ensure that underrepresented groups/individuals have the same access and opportunities as others.

    The AEI/Delivery Site should ensure there is a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) policy in place and that it is disseminated to all educators.

    Students should be provided with the opportunity to work with their peers in theory and clinical settings as well as being given to opportunity to peer review.

    There should be a good relationship in place between the AEI and Delivery Site that fosters inter-professional collaboration and allows for the sharing of ideas and work.

  11. advance equality of opportunity through effective use of information and data.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Self-Assessment Reports
    2. External examiner reports
    3. Student feedback
    4. Stakeholder feedback
    5. Minutes of staff and/or student meetings
    6. National student survey data
    7. Office for Students data, access and participation plans


    Completion and evaluation of Self-Assessment Reports (SARs).

    External Examiner (EE) reports are reviewed and suggestions/actions implemented to improve programme delivery and equality of opportunity.

    Regular stakeholder and feedback surveys/reports to be carried out and the information gathered used to effect change where required and feasible.

    Minutes of both staff and student meetings to be collated and disseminated to relevant persons.

    Active involvement with regulatory bodies to ensure the correct data is received/provided and good access for all learners is maintained. 

  12. work to promote inter-professional education and inter-professional practice and support opportunities for research collaboration.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Programme level intended learning outcomes
    2. Module/unit handbooks
    3. Secondment policy and timetables
    4. Guest (expert) speaker timetables
    5. Research Committee meetings
    6. Expert witness documentation

    7. Group project work


    Evidence of regular CPD for staff with role specific courses/training being completed where applicable.

    Members of the VN team are given the opportunity to be involved in research papers/projects, collaborate with external organisations and foster relationships between other academic teams.

    The use of Guest Speakers for module/unit specific content and delivery.

    The AEI and Delivery Site demonstrate good inter-professional communication and ongoing review of modules/units, assessments and clinical environments.

  13. promote evidenced-based improvement in education and veterinary nursing practise.

    This may be evidenced through:

    1. Research committee meetings
    2. Programme level intended learning outcomes
    3. Module/unit handbooks
    4. CPD policy
    5. Secondment Policy and timetables
    6. Guest (expert) speaker timetables
    7. Journal clubs
    8. Clinical audits
    9. Clinical governance
    10. Quality improvement policies and procedures


    Evidence guest speaker within Scheme of Work (SOW) and timetable.

    Ensure learning outcomes for modules/units are current and level appropriate.

    Ensure there is sufficient CPD allowance for staff to encourage advancement of knowledge and training relevant to their role.

    Module/unit content is regularly reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose and teaching current practices.