Agreement reached between AVBC & VNCA to work together to achieve nationally consistent regulation and title protection for veterinary nurses.
Nationally consistent regulation and title protection of veterinary nurses and technicians is a step closer to the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) and the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA) reaching an agreement to work together to progress these issues at a collaborative workshop in Melbourne.
Participants included AVBC’s executive, Council and standards committee members, veterinary nursing member association representatives and stakeholders from across Australia and New Zealand – including registrars from all eight Australian state and territory veterinary board jurisdictions.
Outside of Western Australia, there is no regulation or statutory code of conduct for veterinary nursing and no requirement to maintain currency and fitness to practise. There is also no title protection for veterinary nurses and technicians.
Discussions from the workshop identified the need for a pathway for recognition of the roles whilst acknowledging the challenges of the existing differences in state and territory legislation in Australia. The discussion also recognised the need to develop a pathway to registration for those working long-term in the industry with no formal skills or qualifications.
Representatives from the Veterinary Practice Board of Western Australia shared their experiences with veterinary nurse registration. They described the overwhelming support from veterinarians in that state for the registration of veterinary nurses, noting improvements in veterinary practice efficiencies and animal welfare standards directly as a result of veterinary nurse registration and title protection in WA.
“The Western Australia veterinary legislation has demonstrated that title protection of veterinary nurses has positive outcomes for all members of the veterinary team, and this model should serve as an example to our jurisdictions of what can be achieved,” said AVBC Council Member and WA Practice Board Chair Dr Tony Leeflang.
At the workshop, Gary Fitzgerald, VNCA President observed that the “invaluable contributions as vet nurses and technologists are not only highly valued but also fostered and championed as we strive towards professionalism in our field.”
The workshop, convened by AVBC, addressed the issues raised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) that Australia and New Zealand are lagging behind global standards by not regulating and protecting the title of veterinary nurses and veterinary technicians.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is in place between the AVBC and the VNCA to continue progressing this important work to implement title protection and develop a pathway towards national registration of veterinary nurses and veterinary technicians.
- The Australian Veterinary Nurse and Technician (AVNAT) Registration Scheme, launched in 2019 by the VNCA, is the national voluntary registration scheme for veterinary nurses and veterinary technicians involved in clinical, management or academic areas.
- Title protection refers to the process of putting in place legislation that prevents people from using a title unless they are appropriately qualified and registered.
- The Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) has three core functions:
- to provide a forum for discussion, advice and cooperation among the veterinary boards in Australia and New Zealand;
- to encourage the standardisation and quality assurance of veterinary services to the community; and
- to assure and promote uniform educational standards through the accreditation of veterinary schools, the Australasian Veterinary Examination, the assessment of veterinary qualifications for migration and the assessment of specialist qualifications.