This Free Veterinary CPD Podcast is produced by the Vet Nurse Times. Andrea Jeffery, a member of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council, discusses the recent developments around Schedule 3.
Schedule 3 is an exemption to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, which allows student or registered veterinary nurses to carry out certain procedures under the direction of a vet.
Proposed changes to Schedule 3 in 2020 could mean a significant expansion in the clinical work that veterinary nurses are legally allowed to do.
An RCVS survey in May and June 2020 found widespread uncertainty amongst veterinary nurses over Schedule 3. They also found that several procedures were being carried out illegally including cat castrations and anaesthesia induction by increment. Building pressure on the RCVS has led them to reconsider and clarify exactly what veterinary nurses are entitled to do. Andrea Jeffery explains that Veterinary nurses do not want to become ‘mini vets’. Instead they want to advance their own area of expertise, which is veterinary nursing, in order to develop a true career path within the profession.
Many veterinary nurses already have advanced qualifications in various areas including anaesthesia but current legislation prevents these skills from being fully utilised. Veterinary nurses should be able to best support clients and their pets to their full capacity which up until now has often been a challenge. Changes to Schedule 3 should better enable veterinary nurses to have a career for life which might serve as a much needed retention tool.