Getting confident with Schedule 3

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Ask many veterinary professionals, especially vets, what they understand by Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons’ Act (1966) and they will probably mumble something about it relates to ‘surgery not entering body cavities’. Schedule 3 is however the legislation that underpins the ability of Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) to work to their full potential as part of a vet-led team. Many veterinary practices fail to fully value and utilise their RVN staff by not training, encouraging and supporting them to undertake Schedule 3 tasks. This results in a lack of job satisfaction and career progression. Appropriate post-graduate training, both in-house and more formally, builds RVN competence and confidence. There is no doubt that veterinary surgeons need to acknowledge the skills of RVNs and communicate these more effectively to clients. RVNs working to their strengths and abilities, especially via protocol-driven systems within practices, can bring benefits to the whole team, patients and clients. As the RCVS Legislation Working Party considers enhancing the RVN role, there has never been a better time for the whole practice team to become more confident with Schedule 3.

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