VNs looking to themselves for change

Daniel is Operations Manager at Dick White Referrals and a practising RVN. Daniel began his career as a Saturday receptionist at a small clinic and became a veterinary nurse in 2007, moving on to become Head Nurse at a large 24-hour veterinary hospital in East London.

Daniel holds the A1/V1 Clinical Coach qualifications, Level 3 in British Sign Language and is currently completing a Chartered Management Institute Level 7 qualification in Strategic Leadership. Daniel works across HR, strategy and development, facilities management, health and safety and leadership.

Daniel Hogan

Daniel Hogan

My current role is Operations Manager at Dick White Referrals. Starting my career as a veterinary nurse in a variety of roles, and moving to senior management positions, I have always been passionate about the profession and my role within it, but felt that the nursing profession was under-valued and lacked recognition for the important roles RVNs play. I also believed that this attitude towards RVNs restricted our full potential.

Having not previously been engaged with the RCVS and other professional organisations, I felt it was time to play a more proactive role in influencing the future of our profession and joined the Vet Futures and VN Futures projects. Immediately it was clear that a large amount of work had already been started, but there was still a substantial task ahead of us.

Both Action Groups contained a fantastic mix of professionals from an array of backgrounds with a variety of experience, but the real challenge was capturing everybody’s thoughts and ideas and placing them within the context of a working document; a challenge I hope we have met.

It was fantastic to see that everyone shared the same passion for the profession and, more promisingly, that the veterinary nursing profession could address its own issues separately.

VN Futures hosted several evening meetings to meet RVNs from around the country to obtain feedback about their priorities for the future and discuss what were felt to be the biggest issues in the profession. The response was incredible and covered a range of practical, current and future issues. More importantly, we discussed where we wanted our profession to be!

Initially I was apprehensive that the ambitions were too big and not manageable and I had a genuine concern that it was the same issues being addressed by the same organisations. We have, however, engaged with people from across the entire veterinary and veterinary nursing professions and, crucially, those outside the veterinary world.

Many in the VN profession are unhappy and we would be naive to assume everything is perfect. Whether it is low salaries, poor working conditions, lack of training opportunities, disappointing progression routes, absence of support from the employer, or a lack of recognition for the work that we do, we now have an opportunity to make a change.

So I truly believe that both the Vet and VN Futures plans will modernise and develop our professions for the better and, importantly, that we will achieve this within a credible timeframe.

I urge everyone who works in the veterinary team to engage with the action plans. This is our profession and our opportunity to contribute to its future.

  1. Jill Macdonald
    Jill Macdonald says:

    Thanks for the article/blog Daniel.

    I think the question that most VNs would ask is ‘how do we engage with the action plans?’ I am a VN of many (!) years, have a passion for the future of Veterinary Nursing, and am very familiar with the VN Futures project, however even I am not sure how I can best engage with the action plans and DO something to make a difference.

    What can/could be done to make this more ‘accessible’ to vet nurses? Are there some distinct, smaller projects that nurses can become involved with?

    In my mind, many nurses look at the aims of the project and think ‘I can’t make a difference’, or ‘change can only happen if my practice/bosses engage with it’. For example the paragraph that begins ‘Many in the VN profession are unhappy …’ – on the surface these all appear to be issues that can only be addressed by management and by change in the fundamental structure of the profession, and therefore are frustrating to VNs, which may result in distancing them from the work of the project.

    I feel that they need to be given access to tools to help them see how they can engage with the aims.


  2. Meg Oakey
    Meg Oakey says:

    As a response to the question of ‘how to make action plans more accessible to vet nurses’, would sectioning out areas across the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland into smaller, more localised districts and having a representative for each district take responsibility for hosting focus/listening groups or just generally being a port of contact on a quarterly basis be a start? If it were able to be classed as CPD, it could be an incentive for vet nurses to attend and have their say… just a thought! 😀


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