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Major review of veterinary nursing qualifications

17 June 2009

We have embarked upon the most major review of our veterinary nursing qualifications for many years, in order to meet the timetable for Ofqual’s implementation of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) in summer 2010.

The new QCF aims to provide a more user-friendly and flexible system. Under the new arrangements, all qualifications will carry a ‘value’ in terms of their level and the volume of learning involved.

It’s a similar system to that used in higher education for a number of years.

The new national awards framework means that NVQs as such will disappear and the process of review opens up the whole qualification structure, allowing for the creation of a more flexible system to suit better the needs of the veterinary nursing profession and employers.

“Future options include potentially placing more of the responsibility for education and basic skills on the colleges, leaving practices to concentrate on providing quality mentorship and work experience, with less emphasis on assessment,” according to Head of Veterinary Nursing, Libby Earle.

“Consideration will also be given to providing part of VN training and education within full-time further education, which is possible now that the lower age limit for VN students has been dropped.”

The College is keen to hear the views of those involved with the delivery of training and employers of qualified nurses.

A consultation letter has been sent to those involved and topics on wNVQshich views are sought include the range and level of knowledge and skills delivered by the current awards, the impact of training on employers of student VNs, meeting the increased demand for qualified VNs, and providing VNs for mixed or equine practices.

Over the summer, evidence-gathering meetings will be held at the RCVS to explore the issues in more depth.

Anyone who has not been sent a formal consultation letter and who would like to contribute is very welcome to submit their views.

Please visit for the consultation papers. Comments should be submitted by 30 June 2009.

The review of the RCVS awards will take place alongside Lantra’s review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for VNs: the NOS describe what a person needs to do, know and understand in their job to carry out their role in a consistent and competent way.

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