Returning to Work as an RVN

BVNA member, Minnie, wrote to us saying…

“Hi, I thought I’d just get in touch as I’m guessing I’m not the only RVN in this situation.

After taking a career break, after 17 years of nursing, to pursue other things, now I’m looking at returning to vet nursing. I’ve been looking for part time jobs and have emailed practices for work experience……”

She went on to say;

  “Mature VN’s can offer a lot to a practice and it would be nice to see them visibly supported and given advice via the BVNA website.

I’d love to hear from other RVN returners to find out how they got back into practice and gained their confidence. I’m feeling a little bit lonely and nervous trying to break back into the profession. Any advice would be welcome and success stories from other RVN’s.“

Returning to the veterinary industry can seem like a daunting process, and this blog covers tips on how to get back into veterinary nursing and the requirements from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to get back onto the Register.  If you have a story of returning to work as a Veterinary Nurse that you’d like to share with us, get in touch bvna@bvna.co.uk.

BVNA’s Top Tips for Returning to Work

●       Find a supportive practice to have some trial days or shadowing days

●       Take it each day at a time and use the trial days as a way to see where you have knowledge/experience gaps are so you can work on them

●       Carry a notebook to write anything down for quick reference or make cheat sheets

After time away from the veterinary industry, sometimes the passion of being a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) is still a part of many of us - so this poses the question, how does an RVN get back into practice after a number of years away?

Seeing practice again

No matter if you’ve been away from veterinary nursing for 1 year or 10, doing trial days and shadowing days is a great way to get familiar with the role again - it is just like riding a bicycle, you never really forget how to do it. Many of the fundamentals of veterinary nursing do not change and you’ll be surprised with how much knowledge is actually engrained.

Some of the things that do change in practice are usually the products and services offered; vaccination protocols, flea and worming treatments, and the drug names - but these are all small things which will take only a matter of days to refresh as you use them.

Some group practices offer refreshers for nurses returning to work, with tailored programmes designed to meet individual development needs. You will have to decide if you want to follow this path and research which group offers the support you are looking for.

You can also use the RCVS Day One Skills as a checklist on what you may need to focus on when returning back to practice.

The RCVS Register

●       If you have maintained your annual registration with the RCVS and have been away from veterinary nursing for less than 5 years then you are able to be employed again as an RVN without the need for retraining or completing supervised practice.

●       If you have been away from veterinary nursing for less than 5 years but you voluntarily y removed yourself from the Register or let the annual renewal fee lapse, then you will need to apply to get back on the Register which is £93-£127 (including the annual fee) depending on what time of the year you apply in.

●       If you have been off the Register for over 5 years, a Period of Supervised Practice (PSP) must be undertaken (paid or unpaid) in an approved practice. You must register with the RCVS and pay a fee of £89 to enroll for the PSP. It takes 17 weeks of full- time work (or 595 hours if working part time) in one year, working alongside an experienced RVN or veterinarian to update knowledge and to gain confidence in practical skills to work as an RVN again. Much like an SVN, you work under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon and complete a clinical skills self- evaluation log before being signed off.

While there is no formal exam at the end of the PSP, by rejoining to Register you will be bound by the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses where you declare and ensure your competency as an RVN.

Getting up to speed with the new CPD Policy

New in 2020, the RCVS has introduced a CPD policy where RVNs must complete 15 hours a year and record it on the new 1CPD app (there is a web version too). This is a change from the old Professional Development Record which is no longer accessible, but has carried over anything previously logged.

The RCVS allows up to 10 logged hours from 2019 to be carried over to help with the transition - “This will apply once, in 2020 only, and is only applicable to vets and VNs who have been CPD-compliant from 2017 to 2019 and have a surplus number of hours to carry over” says Arlo Guthrie from the VetNurse.co.uk platform.

Where to find up-to-date CPD

●       The BVNA CPD portal

●       The Webinar Vet

●       The Idexx Learning Centre

●       The Dechra Academy

●       The Vet Times archives

What about Keeping In Touch days?

If you are away on Maternity Leave, then the government supports 10 days during this period where you can return to work, called “Keeping In Touch” days, or KIT days. These days should be mutually agreed on by the RVN and the practice, and they should be paid.

So, what are you waiting for?

Contact some local practices, make yourself a development plan and take that exciting leap back into the industry!

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