UK vets are putting extra pressure on themselves by failing to make the best use of the skills and experience of their veterinary nursing teams, according to business consultancy Onswitch.

OnSwitch’s research found just 4% of vets referred clients to RVNs for flea and worm advice, while the same amount referred for weight guidance.

The company recorded 100 veterinary consultations to see how frequently opportunities arose to refer cases to the nursing team and how often they were taken up.


The results revealed 4% of vets referred clients to RVNs for flea and worm advice, while 4% referred for weight guidance.

None referred cases to dental, long-term medication or senior advice clinics, despite RVNs with those competences being available in practice.

RVN knowledge and time is, therefore, being underused in the UK, said Onswitch. This is despite the fact practices that make RVN referrals and recommendations report a range of benefits, including bonding clients to practice and increased footfall.


Mrs Lambert said if vets engaged with and used the skills in the RVN pool more, it would free up caseload time for them to look at more complex cases while RVNs attended postoperative, pain or weight management cases.

However, she said the low rate of referral did not mean the practitioners were bad, just that it was not in the front of their mind to think how their colleagues could assist them.

She said: “What we are trying to get vets to think about is the fact patient outcome is managed best when the primary care team works together.”

RVN Lisa Winter tackled the issue at BVNA Congress in her lecture, “Making the most of the nursing team in practice”. She said: “Everything within practice is a team effort and it is difficult to build that ethos in practice, but it is important because it is best for patients and clients.”

  • Read the full story, including further reaction, in the 24 October issue of Veterinary Times.
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