A fellow Vetsonline blogger, Will Easson, recently wrote a post about the potential impact of an increased number of vet grads, in which he kindly remembered veterinary nurses.
(Editor’s note: In his post “Recruitment and retention“, Will suggests that the increasing number of UK graduates searching for employment could result not just in a scarcity of jobs, but a lowering of benefits offered by employers, including remuneration.)
However, as vet salaries reduce, then surely VN salaries will too?
If the average vet salary is around £37k, then simple maths says that (if 2 nurses = 1 vet) 1 nurse = £18.5k. That’s a little above the average of £16,378 for a VN, as stated in the 2010 RCVS Survey of the Veterinary Professions.
The thing is, starting vet grad salaries are not much higher, so it may end up cheaper to employ new grads and incorporate “nursing” duties in their role. No need for us nurses at all? Practices could employ patient care assistants at minimum wage, then have new grads do a one year “internship” at minimal salary, taking on nursing duties as part of their training while they complete their PDP.
However, you must remember that nurse and vet duties and skills are different and complimentary.
For those who value their veterinary nurses (thanks Will!) then this structure is scary. However, if there is a shortage of nurses, it may be a structure we see in the future.
What do we want? MORE NURSES !
When do we want them? NOW !
I’ll paint the banners – who’s up for the march?