Five reasons why practices need to value their veterinary nurses
May is Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month, shining the spotlight on what veterinary nurses do and raising the profile of the profession. RVNs and SVNs are integral to the practice every month of the year, and here are five reasons why vet practices need to value them:
1. Contribution to practice revenue — recent data from Vet Viewer shows that 71% of veterinary nurse consults are provided free, compared to 21% of vet consults. This suggests practices are not making the most of their nurses in terms of their ability to generate income. Looking to the future, charging for these consults to appropriately value the time and expertise of skilled RVNs could form an important change to business models to help veterinary practices bounce back.
2. The value of increasing vet nurse consultations — it's not just about charging suitably for nurse time, but also increasing the number of consults with RVNs. The Vet Viewer data shows that just 6.5% of consultations are currently provided by vet nurses who are performing only around a third of all nail clip and dressing change appointments. If more consults were offered with veterinary nurses, where appropriate, this could free up veterinary surgeon time to deal with more complex cases. In the current climate, offering vet nurse teleconsults for triage and advice could become essential.
3. Develop practice expertise — supporting further learning of RVNs is important when it comes to developing practice specialisms. Vet nurses can take advanced nursing qualifications across a range of areas including care of exotic species, anaesthesia, and emergency and critical care. This investment enables practices to offer experienced and specialist services, and to charge accordingly.
4. Variety and versatility of skills — veterinary nurses perform a huge myriad of roles within vet practice. These include clinical nursing skills such as phlebotomy, radiology, assisting with anaesthesia, administering treatments and giving intravenous fluids. However, nurses are also heavily involved in admin, practice management, client care, in-patient care, stocking medicines, infection control measures, bereavement counselling and more. A vet nurse is a jack of all trades, and can save practices a significant sum by being versatile enough to carry out all of these jobs.
5. Mentorship — registered veterinary nurses perform an essential role in training up new members of the profession, both SVNs and also new graduate vets. The support of an experienced RVN in the development and learning of other staff members is a priceless asset to a vet practice.