There are several advantages in becoming a training practice for veterinary nurses, including being able to offer a higher standard of support to your clients. Their animals are important to them, whether they are pets or livestock, and the type of enthusiasm frequently shown by young veterinary nursing trainees will generally give them a good opinion of your practice.
By becoming a veterinary nurse training practice (TP), your business will benefit in a number of ways other than just from the enthusiasm of your trainee. A major benefit to you is that his or her presence will provide an incentive for the other vets and nurses in your practice to keep up to date with modern veterinary developments in order to be able to pass on that knowledge to the trainee.
You will also benefit from the work the trainee carries out, although doing this does not come free. There are charges associated, not only in terms of the time you have to devote to the training and the payment paid to the trainee, but also in assessment costs. In order to understand this a bit better, let’s discuss what is involved in becoming a veterinary nurse training practice.
There are two ways for veterinary nurses to be provided with training. One is vocational, whereby the nurse is employed as a student within a practice. The nurse must be paid at least the minimum wage, and your practice would provide the supervision needed for the trainee to gain a National Vocational Qualification.
The second method is as an undergraduate. This route also involves practice experience and assessment, and the nurse in this case can be paid or unpaid. Your practice can be involved in each of these together if you wish, though it must first become RCVS approved. This involves making an application to a Veterinary Nurse Approved Centre (VNAC) to become an associate training practice. To do this, you must first complete an application form, and when that is approved you will receive a visit to assess your practice
For a veterinary practice to be approved, it must meet certain criteria, such as possessing a proper operating theatre, a consultation area, a preparation area, boarding kennels and basic laboratory and radiographic diagnostic equipment. You must also carry out a range of veterinary work so that the trainee gains experience with a good selection of animal types and procedures.
The staff in an approved veterinary nurse training practice should be sufficiently qualified and capable of training the student, and the VNAC prefer that to be a listed veterinary nurse. However, it is still possible to be accepted if the staff is of high enough a skill level as to be able to teach the trainee to a high standard.
Teaching and Assessments
Assessment of the progress of your student must be carried out by a member of your staff who is a qualified veterinary surgeon or listed/registered veterinary nurse holding an A1 qualification or D32/33, and must attend assessor meetings thrice annually. If not so qualified, then the assessor has to complete a suitable course within a year.
Your student will be monitored throughout by the RCVS, who will also carry out visits to a selection of associate practices each year to make sure that teaching is progressing satisfactorily. The RCVS also set regular examinations of students at the completion of levels 2 and 3 to ensure that a standard level of competence and knowledge is reached by each student.
The costs for which your practice will be responsible include, in addition to payments to the trainee, the cost of any training necessary for your assessor and of the assessment or verification visits made by the Veterinary Nursing Approved Centre. You will also be asked to contribute towards your student’s college enrolment and examination fees.
Is it Worthwhile?
Considering all that is involved, do the advantages of becoming a veterinary nurse training practice make it worthwhile doing? The answer is a definite yes, because not only do all veterinary nurses have to be trained properly, but they are also an essential resource for your practice and offer the additional benefit of presenting a more professional image to the practice.
Your clients will be impressed by finding enthusiastic, young veterinary nurses working with you and word soon gets around that yours is the practice to visit. The costs for this are not high, but always keep in mind that while your practice almost certainly will benefit, becoming an associate training practice is intended to benefit the trainee nurses and not specifically your practice.
Nevertheless, it is a benefit, as any veterinary practice will testify, and the advantages of becoming a veterinary nurse training practice far outweigh any associated cost in time or money.