Warning – political blog.
Im so pleased to read the BVA/RCVS letter to the Prime Minister.
While the initial shock of the Brexit vote has dulled, we still face the uncertainty of what Article 50 and our PM’s negotiations mean in the longer term. While this affects every sector of our lives, the effects on our community of veterinary nurses could be catastrophic.
We are a small community. There aren’t enough of us. We know it, employers know it, the RCVS knows it. We need overseas nurses. Whether already qualified or planning to train here, we need these people. They are an asset to the UK and to the profession. We promote and improve animal welfare. To ensure we can continue to make an impact and promote our role, we need more veterinary nurses. While there is the bottleneck on student numbers because of the current training practice system, the input from overseas nurses is invaluable.
The numbers of veterinary nurses who qualified in their own country and can access the register with some further steps is quite high. While this does include our antipodean cousins, it also includes European-trained veterinary nurses.
Different levels of training is available for veterinary nurses across Europe. The UK scheme is seen as the standard to achieve, and many vet nurses have to do further training to enter the register. But they know it is worth it. Being on the register opens up amazing career opportunities, the ability to earn more money and access to living in the UK. It’s a social, economic and cultural opportunity.
Many agencies have been working together across Europe to improve veterinary nurse training. You may not have heard of it, but Vetnnet has been collating input from a number of agencies and has created a pan-European database of OSCE exams, therefore creating a standardised resource for European vet nurse educators.
It works with the Accreditation Committee for Veterinary Nurse Education to allow European veterinary nurse educators to access a verification system that can make moving between countries as a qualified professional much easier. It provides recognition to accredited courses.
It’s worth thinking about these systems. They may not be in place if we weren’t in the EU. If they weren’t in place, we would have fewer vet nurses in the UK. The shortage would be greater.
Input and experience
I love working alongside our overseas nurses. I love their input and experience. I love that they enjoy being here. As I’m in London I get to meet quite a few and I can see the benefit they bring and what they gain from being here. It is a win/win situation.
I can’t imagine the veterinary nursing community without them and I want to make sure UK vet nurses are aware of this new battlefront. You don’t need to break out the placards, just be there. Listen if people have worries. If they have suffered xenophobic behaviour, please support them.
We have enough to cope with in our veterinary careers. Let’s make sure Brexit is not something that breaks our community.