The advice describes how equine RVNs are permitted to work.
The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has provided new guidelines to better describe when equine registered veterinary nurses (eRVNs) are permitted to perform surgery.
The new advice is designed to better define the Veterinary Surgeons Act’s Schedule 3 amendment, which describes the circumstances in which an eRVN can give medical treatment or perform minor surgery.
The guidelines were launched earlier this month during a live webinar hosted by Marie Rippingale, the chair of the BEVA Equine Nurses Committee.
They were discussed at this year's BEVA Congress by panel including equine veterinary surgeons, equine veterinary nurses and RCVS representatives, who discussed the Schedule 3 amendments and the use of BEVA guidelines.
The guidelines were prompted by a survey from the BEVA, covering recruitment and retention in the industry, which discovered that a lack of understanding of Schedule 3 procedures, as well as a reluctance to pass appropriate procedures to eRVNs, may contribute to difficulties retaining them within the profession.
The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Schedule 3 Amendment) Order 2002 allows veterinary surgeons to direct registered or student veterinary nurses who they employ to provide medical treatment or perform minor surgery which does not involve entry into a body cavity.
The exemption permits an RVN to carry out medical treatment or minor surgery under their employer’s direction on animals in their care, providing that the directing veterinary surgeon is satisfied that they are suitably qualified and trained.
Student veterinary nurses who have carried out medical treatment or minor surgery as part of their training can carry out treatment under the same circumstances, providing they are supervised by a veterinary surgeon or RVN. When carrying out minor surgery, this supervision must be direct, continuous and personal.
The BEVA has also published definitions of the key terms included in the Schedule 3 Amendment.
• ‘Direction’ means that the veterinary surgeon instructs the veterinary nurse or student veterinary nurse as to the tasks to be performed, but is not necessarily present
• ‘Supervision’ means that the veterinary surgeon or registered veterinary nurse is present on the premises and able to respond to a request for assistance if needed
• ‘Direct, continuous and personal supervision’ means that the veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse is present and is giving the student veterinary nurse his/her undivided personal attention.
Marie Rippingale said: “We hope BEVA’s Schedule 3 guidelines will help with the delegation of Schedule 3 procedures to eRVNs, enabling them to have more fulfilling clinical careers, which will contribute positively to retention.
“We also hope the guidelines will help reduce the workload of equine veterinary surgeons, improving their wellbeing and positively affecting retention. Overall, we hope the use of the guidelines will lead to improved welfare for equine patients.”
There is more information about the guidance on the BEVA website.
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