Veterinary nurses caught forging the signatures of practice principals on their records of training will now have to provide professional references before being allowed to register.
Veterinary nurses caught forging the signatures of practice principals on their records of training will now have to provide professional references before being allowed to register, under new rules from the RCVS VN Council.
According to the college, which registers around 790 new veterinary nurses each year, it is picking up at least one forged record each week.
However, the college holds a specimen copy of every head of centre and training practice principal’s signature and it always checks records of training prior to registering a new veterinary nurse.
If there is any doubt as to validity, the college checks with employers and heads of centre personally.
In the past, if a signature was found not be genuine, the college would ask for other evidence of the period of training and, if this was satisfactory, would register the nurse while giving a written warning regarding falsifying documents.
VN Council has agreed that, from now on, such nurses will also be required to provide professional references (from their employer and centre) as to their integrity before their registration can be considered.
A record of the matter will be kept on file by the college and may be taken into consideration in relation to any future complaint regarding the nurse’s conduct. The nurse’s employer may also take disciplinary action. Attempting to gain a qualification fraudulently is also a criminal offence, taken very seriously by both the RCVS and other regulators, such as Ofqual.
Libby Earle, head of the RCVS veterinary nursing department, said: “Usually, the students concerned have left a practice without getting their record completed and resort to creativity for the necessary practice principal’s signature, or they just simply can’t be bothered to ask the right person to sign the form.
“This is worrying, as registered veterinary nurses will be trusted by their employers to keep accurate case records, pharmacy stocks, controlled drugs registers etc. There is also a major issue of public trust: professionals are expected to be honest and yet these nurses’ first act on qualification is to forge evidence for their registration.”