Every day I see pet owners who have brought their pets to us, because they trust us to know what to do, and how to do it safely.
We have particularly appreciated that trust during the pandemic.
But who are the people looking after those pets?
As the vet, I make the decisions, perform the surgery and prescribe the medication. But what about for the rest of the day?
At our clinic, every admitted patient is in the charge of a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). Occasionally there is also a student veterinary nurse who is learning their profession under the RVN’s supervision as well. At some clinics there are no RVNs at all, but I prefer to have my patients nurses exclusively by qualified competent professionals.
It takes at least three years to train as an RVN. The student’s time is divided between working in a clinic, and studying theory at a college. There is a Degree in Veterinary Nursing which leads to the RVN qualification via higher education, or an alternate route via vocational training.
Every single aspect of the role is studied in theory, and then repeated in practice, under supervision until they can be signed off as competent.
Our students are taught how to fulfil a nursing plan, take blood samples and run them in our laboratory, take and analyse skin and urine samples, take radiographs, and nurse patients before, during and after anaesthesia.
It’s the RVNs at the bedside, assessing pain scores, managing water and calorie intake and ensuring patients get the right medications that I have prescribed, at the right times.
We have eight RVNs working in our team, six of whom trained at the practice and stayed on after qualification. We usually have around three trainees, one in each year of their training, each under the supervision of a different specially trained mentor RVN.
They are amazing people who work tirelessly to ensure their patients get the very best nursing care whilst they are with us.
So, if your pet needs to spend a day in hospital, you can feel confident that although you cannot be by their bedside the whole time, their RVN will be.