Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing

One of the key findings of the initial research stages of the VN Futures project was that veterinary nurses were looking for meaningful paths for career development, with the possibility of further developing their skills and experience in specific areas of practice.

The task of looking at how this could be practically delivered was given to the VN Futures Post-Registration Qualification Working Group which, in response, developed the framework for a new Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (or CertAVN). The CertAVN framework was  approved by the RCVS Veterinary Nurse Education Committee and RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council in 2019.

The CertAVN, which replaces the previous Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing, is an advanced professional qualification awarded by the RCVS, and is currently delivered by two providers, with further providers going through the approval process.

Veterinary nurse operating equipment to monitor a dog

The qualification aims to encourage registered veterinary nurses who wish to take their education in a specific area of veterinary nursing practice further, with an opportunity to study a level 6 or 7 qualification. It is expected that many Higher Education Institutions will want to offer the qualification and we hope that, in time, this will cover  a wide range of discipline areas.

When there are sufficient RCVS-accredited CertAVN programmes in a wide variety of subject areas, we hope this will help registered veterinary nurses to continue to realise their full potential, develop their skills and expertise, and be the member of the veterinary team that they wish to be. This does not diminish the DipAVN qualification, but rather adds to it, allowing those nurses who have already taken their first steps along the path of further expertise to keep going and striving for deeper knowledge and understanding in their chosen areas. The qualification meets the needs of veterinary nurses wishing to develop their skills now, while  also providing a future aspiration for veterinary nurses by offering a clearer path for progression than there has previously been.

The CertAVN is all part of a package of work being carried out by the VN Futures project which aim to ensure the veterinary nursing profession is evolving to higher levels of autonomy and responsibility, for example, with clearer delegation of Schedule 3 activities and more veterinary teams collaborating fully to best utilise the skills they have at their disposal.

Achieving the status of Registered Veterinary Nurse is an enormous achievement, but as nurses go through their career and start to ask ‘how can I develop my career?’ the CertAVN may help to provide some answers.

Veterinary nurse handling a snake