With the introduction of the register for veterinary nurses – just one of many steps we have taken in our mission to be a recognised profession – came compulsory CPD.

Reflective practice is key, says Jane.

Despite this, we’re still not completing CPD to the level of our human counterparts.

While we work on a three-year cycle, allowing us to spread our hours across this time period, human nurses – within the same period – must renew their registration and revalidate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

This involves a number of factors, including practice feedback. It also requires them to develop their reflective practice and write about this process.

Attendance is not enough

In light of the recent RCVS survey on CPD changes, we are heading into a world where just turning up to CPD is not enough. Improving our status and bettering patient care can only be done by relating CPD to practice – and evidence of your reflection can help this.

I’ve worked in practices that require staff to share what they learned on CPD, either through a lunchtime talk or by emailing a summary of the information to colleagues for future discussion. This is really helpful and you can learn a lot from this.

I’ve also worked in a practice where the vets met regularly to discuss cases and review protocols – rather like a morbidity and mortality meeting, but covering all cases that are of interest, providing a learning opportunity. I really want to see clubs like this for vet nurses.

Join the club

A club can start with as few as two VNs and just one article – eventually, it will grow to more of both.

See, while we do talk about cases during handover and when we review care plans, we need to fulfil further CPD requirements, and a more formal approach to this reflection is required.

Journal clubs, I think, are one possible solution, and I’d like to see these popping up all over the country.

But what is a journal club? Well, it’s a regular meeting of professionals who choose and critique a paper, providing the opportunity to discuss and review it. This can help with promoting and applying research into our everyday clinical practice.

Even better are the journal clubs by Skype. You can have up to 25 people in a group Skype for free, so individuals who don’t live close to the usual CPD venues can still join in.

Let’s use modern technology to create new vet nursing communities!

Why do we need journal clubs?

Journal clubs are great way to keep up to date with new research. They promote best practice and have been shown to improve patient care standards.

While “normal” in human care, with clubs usually centred around a department or unit, the concept will be new to many VNs. However, as many of us work in small practices, we can also use clubs for inter-practice networking and support.

Public speaking.
Journal clubs can help other life skills too, such as public speaking.

A journal club also will teach you new skills essential for lifelong learning, such as research skills, selecting and critiquing a paper, presenting and public speaking.

If you need convincing further, you should read this blog, called: “Why start a nursing journal club?

Time to reflect

Journal clubs are key to evidence-based veterinary medicine and will become standard CPD in the future. Importantly, they provide a space and time for reflection – an important aspect of continuing professional development.

So what can you do? Choose a paper, find some fellow RVNs and arrange to meet (admittedly, there is a bit more to it than that, but it’s a start, at least).

Also, keep your eyes peeled for some upcoming journal club plans – I’m organising some with the BVNA.

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