There are just a few days left for veterinary surgeons, vet nurses and academics to comment on the standard and content of VN qualifications and training.

Examination board and awarding organisation Central Qualifications (CQ) is conducting a consultation to help it ensure graduating students have the knowledge, competence and day one skills needed.

The deadline for comments is November 30, so if you would like to submit your views visit to download a consultation form.

You can also write to VN Consultation, Central Qualifications, Elmtree Business Park, Elmswell IP30 9HR or email

Respondents are being asked, for example, how prepared for work newly qualified nurses are and whether there is any difference between vocationally trained veterinary nurses and those with veterinary nursing degrees.

The content of the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing course comes under the spotlight, with questions on the relevance of subjects on the syllabus and whether some skills are missing.

CQ has more than 450 VNs in training at 13 centres and says the feedback received will be used to maintain the quality of training as well as set the standards for CQ’s postgraduate qualifications. It emphasised there was no suggestion of any problems or concerns with the current system.

CQ quality assurance manager Denise Burke said: “Our focus is on creating qualifications that meet the needs of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions.

“As a specialist organisation with experienced vets and veterinary nurses as part of the team we recognise there is a need for regular reviews of the qualifications offered to ensure our graduates have all the core skills needed to provide high standards of care for clients and their animals.

“We value the views of everyone – those working with nurses, as nurses at all levels and those within the industry. We would encourage all those interested in the future of veterinary nurse training and employment to participate.”

Other areas covered in the consultation include:

  • standards of examinations and assessments
  • duration of training programmes
  • practical competencies and day one skills required by employers
  • training practice and placement location requirements
  • the role of step-up qualifications
  • routes of entry to veterinary nursing
  • advanced/postgraduate qualifications and further training options for VNs
  • pathways for existing non-qualified nursing assistants
  • accessibility of training;
  • and employability.

Mrs Burke said as a result of previous consultations, CQ introduced two step-up qualifications – DipVNA and DipAN – so veterinary nursing assistants could also receive structured training and could progress on to the CQ DipVN.

“These qualifications also ensure all veterinary practices can now participate in training the next generation of veterinary nurses,” she said.

The consultation will also provide information for CQ’s development of advanced qualifications.

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