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Feedback sought on new draft VN Code of Professional Conduct

22 July 2011

Draft Code of Professional Conduct of Veterinary Nurses

We are seeking feedback from veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and members of the public on a new draft Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses.

The new draft Code, which would replace the existing RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, has been produced by a Working Party set up by our Advisory Committee to review the Guides for both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

It is the benchmark for professional conduct against which registered veterinary nurses will be measured in any hearings on serious professional misconduct held by the recently-introduced VN Disciplinary Committee.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that guidance to the profession, and the public, is clear, for example, using consistent language to distinguish between what must be done and what is advised.

The new Code is a short, principles-based document, using the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe’s Code of Conduct as the starting point.

It will be supported by additional advice on specific areas of veterinary practice or issues, for example, clinical governance.

The consultation follows an earlier one for a new draft Code for veterinary surgeons that closed at the end of June: the new Code for veterinary nurses follows the format and style of that for veterinary surgeons.

Comments made during the veterinary surgeon consultation will be taken account of alongside comments made during this new consultation.

For the first time, the draft proposes that veterinary nurses make a declaration on joining the VN Register, which underlines the primary importance of animal health and welfare:

"I PROMISE AND SOLEMNLY DECLARE that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care and that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to my clients, the public, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons."

Comments on the proposed draft are invited from the veterinary nursing profession, the veterinary profession and the public, particularly on the issue of whether the Codes for veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons ought to be combined.

“It is 50 years since the start of the veterinary nursing profession and the changes proposed in the Code reflect the development of our professional role over this time,” says Andrea Jeffery, RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council member who led the group tasked with developing the new Code.

“This new Code is a simplified document that focuses on key principles and which will be supported by more detailed guidance.

"Although it follows the format of the draft Code for veterinary surgeons, it is important that we recognise our unique position as veterinary nurses,” she adds.

Comments should be sent by email to Christopher Murdoch, Secretary to the Guides Review Working Party, at by Friday, 21 October 2011.

View the consultation

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