The vital role of veterinary nurses.
30th May 2018
This month is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month and we’re taking the opportunity to let our clients know more about what it is that veterinary nurses (VNs) actually do. Vet nursing as a profession has made some exciting leaps forward in recent years, seeing VNs being given more responsibility than ever before. Veterinary surgeons retain accountability for the care of the individual patient, however VNs who are registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), and who can therefore call themselves Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN), are held accountable for their own actions.
The route to qualification as an RVN is a lengthy one, taking two, three or four years and requiring a great deal of self-application. The result is a workforce of VNs who truly see themselves as professionals, and who study, work and conduct themselves as such. The role of a VN within the veterinary practice is ever more vital in the provision of best standards of patient care and the day-to-day running of the practice as a business.
As in any industry, the value of an empathetic, knowledgeable and effective manager is invaluable. There are a few ways in which VNs can follow this line of career development. The skills required to manage a team of nurses aren’t necessarily taught at university or college, and the day-to-day organisation of patient care and procedures within a veterinary practice is often an intense exercise in logistics. So our head nurse does a fantastic job of motivating and supporting our team to ensure that the care we provide is carried out by a workforce of happy and empathetic VNs. Another senior supportive role amongst the nursing team is the clinical coach. Clinical coaches help promote the growth and development of new VNs by teaching and assessing student nurses under the guidelines of the RCVS. What results is the development of highly trained VNs who we have great confidence in.
Actual patient care given by our nurses is hugely varied and VNs have a lot of knowledge in a lot of areas. Theatre nursing includes setting up for and scrubbing into surgical procedures. So if your patient comes to us for a complicated operation, you can rest assured that they are in good hands with the operating vet and their trusty VN side-kick. At the head end, there will always be a VN monitoring the anaesthetic too. Under the supervision of the vet, they help interpret key signs of anaesthetic depth, deciphering a complex picture of a range of patient parameters that they monitor (blood pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide blood concentrations and ECG just to name a few). This is a highly skilled process and one which our nurses are adept at.
Our nurses also run many tests within our laboratory - from blood tests to viewing and identifying urine crystals or cells through a microscope. They can position patients for radiographs with precision, so that our vets can assess and diagnose conditions. Much of their working day is spent caring for in-patients - calculating drug doses, medicating patients via a variety of routes (by mouth, intramuscularly, into the vein for example), wound management and physiotherapy are just some of the ways in which they do this. Our nurses (and the whole team actually) are so empathetic that they are constantly thinking outside of the box to better the comfort levels and mental wellbeing of a patient. If your cat prefers to hide away, they will be provided with a box to do so. If your dog feels more at ease in the company of people, our nurses will spend as much time as possible with them. If your dog prefers to urinate on grass, they will find them the perfect spot to do so. Our nurses aim to make the stay of our patients as stress-free as possible.
Nurse clinics provide a great deal of job satisfaction to our VNs because it’s their chance to share their knowledge with pet owners. Our nurses are passionate about pet welfare and enjoy nothing more than creating a collaborative client relationship, in order to support them in caring for their pets. From post-operative checks, to vaccinations, weight clinics, diabetic clinics and puppy and kitten checks, you can rely on our team to take a real interest in your pet and provide accurate and impartial advice.
So you can see what a varied and important role vet nurses have to play in the running of a veterinary practice. It is increasingly unthinkable to consider running a veterinary business without their services. We hope you can join us in celebrating our nurses this Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, because they do such a fantastic job.