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    Veterinary Nursing Placements

    Training Practice Queries

    How can we help you today?

    We have never been a Training Practice before - what do we need to do?

    Clinical placement is an essential and integral part of our courses. Working in the practice environment allows students to develop their clinical skills as a veterinary nurse, and essential ‘life’ skills for working as a professional as part of a team in the public domain. We have adopted the RCVS on-line Nursing Progress Log (NPL) as our clinical tool. Throughout their time in clinical placement, students will work towards completion of this to demonstrate competence in the day one skills and competencies. This learning and development needs to be supported by a suitable clinical coach (RVN or MRCVS) in practice.

    Any veterinary practice that wishes to train veterinary nurses must become an RCVS approved Training Practice, (TP) or Auxiliary Training Practice, (aTP). The difference between the two is that a TP meets all the required standards for training veterinary nurses and an aTP only partially meets the required standards. In such cases, it might be necessary to link with another practice to allow your student to gain experience in the areas that you cannot provide.

    To become a TP/aTP you need to affiliate to a veterinary nurse course provider who then take on responsibility for the quality assurance of student training. They become your primary affiliated centre and will usually undertake annual visits to ensure that health and safety, staffing, caseload, facilities and resources all meet the required TP standards. We’d love for you to affiliate to Harper Adams University!

    If you want to offer placements to other students from different course providers you can still do this – you are not tied to your primary affiliated centre (unless you have signed a contract stating this), you simply have a secondary relationship with any other course providers.

    It is worth noting at this point in time, that if you are going to have several students from several different course providers, you will likely need to be visited by each provider as the RCVS state that each course provider must quality assure its own student(s). 
    Training Practice standards are determined by the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Council, and as such, course providers have to audit practices against these to achieve TP or aTP status. If you already have RCVS Practice Standards for General Practice status, you will likely already have everything in place in order to become an RCVS approved TP/aTP.

    A checklist of what is required to achieve TP status including clinical coach requirements, caseload, facilities and resources can be found in Supporting documents at the bottom of this page.

    The TP approval visit is carried out by one of our highly experienced RVNs in the clinical placement team. They’ll be able to provide you with help and guidance every step of the way and following the approval visit, we aim for it to be the same member of our team who supports the practice in the future.

    The practice will need a designated RCVS signatory (this is usually the Practice Principal, a Practice Partner or Clinical Director) to take overall responsibility for being a TP, and sign the Memorandum of Agreement which sets out what the practice can expect from Harper Adams University and what in turn the University expects of the TP.

    Once you are approved as a TP, you’ll be issued with a TP number and approval date from the RCVS. Harper Adams University will also provide you with a Training Practice certificate you can display in your practice. Annual re-approval visits are required and if you have a Harper Adams student veterinary nurse, we’ll also maintain regular communication and periodically visit to quality assure their training and provide support and guidance. Please see the section on ‘the role of the clinical placement team’ for further detail on how we support our practices.

    Harper Adams University does not charge practices for the initial approval visit or for any visits where you have one of our students (or in the unlikely event that you wanted one of our students and we could not provide you with one). We only charge for the annual re-approval of affiliated practices that have not had one of our students in the prior twelve month period (June-June) . As of 2024, this fee will be £250 annually.

    Please contact either Suzanne Edwards or Caroline Bromley if you’d like to talk about this further and/or book a TP approval visit.

    We are already a Training Practice affiliated to another course provider, but want to affiliate to Harper Adams University – what do we do?

    If you wish to affiliate to Harper Adams University, please e-mail either Suzanne Edwards or Caroline Bromley and we can arrange for one of our team to visit the practice and undertake an approval visit. Unfortunately, we can’t simply transfer you to us without doing a visit... but we don’t charge for this visit.

    Do we have to affiliate to Harper Adams University if we want to offer one of your students a placement?

    No.

    If you are already affiliated to another course provider, you do NOT need to transfer to Harper Adams University (unless you want to).  If you wish to offer clinical placement to one of our student veterinary nurses, we simply contact your affiliated course provider and check they have no objections to the placement progressing.

    If we haven’t worked with your practice before, or in the last 12-18 months, a member of our placement team will arrange to come and do a pre-placement visit before the student starts. This allows opportunity to chat to the clinical coach and to also undertake the required health and safety checks.

    Current FAQs

    FAQ: Is it correct that we need to advise clients that student veterinary nurses will be involved in the care of their pets and give them the option to opt out of this?

    Yes, this is correct.

    Standard 1.4 of the RCVS Standards Framework for Veterinary Nurse Education and Training states: ‘Ensure clients have the opportunity to give, and if required withdraw, their informed consent to students being involved in the care of their animals.’

    Training Practices are approaching this in various ways including:

    • Displaying posters in their waiting and consultation rooms – a poster template is available (see documents)
    • Adding statements to their consent forms
    • Adding this information to practice TVs in waiting rooms

    The RCVS have not specified how this standard should be achieved, so this can be determined by each individual Training Practice. However, we as a course provider have been advised that we need to ensure that whatever method is being used is effective.

    FAQ: I understand that in the new framework, Training Practices are required to allocate some time for student veterinary nurses to log on their clinical tool during working hours. How much time should we allocate?

    This FAQ relates to following standard 3.8 within the RCVS Standards Framework for Veterinary Nursing Education and Training: ‘Ensure all students are allocated, and can make use of supported learning time included blending learning and recording of completion of RCVS Day One Skills for Veterinary Nursing when in practice.’

    Previous expectation was that students completing the Nursing Progress Log, (NPL) as part of their training would log all their experiences in their own time. If a practice provided time for this to be done during the working day/week, or for time to study, this was great, but was not deemed to be compulsory.

    As you can see from the above, the updated VN standards now state that a training practice is obliged to provide students with supported learning time to allow recording of experiences on their NPL.

    Our interpretation of this, is that training practices should provide SOME time during the working week to allow recording of experiences. We would still be expecting students to be logging at home as well.

    As a common-sense approach, we would recommend that practices look to provide time for students to log their experiences during quieter periods or when the practice has a higher volume of staff present. It is the decision of the practice as to whether they aim to allocate a specific time for this, or whether time is taken ad hoc depending on how busy the practice is.

    As the RCVS have quite rightly not dictated the amount of time that should be available to students, it is left to each individual practice to make this decision.

    In making this decision, we would recommend discussion with individual students and consideration of the following:

    • The weekly hours the student is working, e.g. full time or part time
    • Is the student also trying to hold down a part time hob to support their finances outside of their clinical placement?
    • Does the student have any learning difficulties which impact on the time it takes them to record their experiences?

    Our team are always on hand to provide further support, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    FAQ: Section 7, Skill 3 – Maintain appropriate records to include withdrawal periods. We are a small animal practice, how do we achieve this?

    Guidance for this skill states:

    • To include medicines records, Controlled drugs (CDs), withdrawal periods and hospital charts.

    We are expecting to see a number of queries relating to ‘withdrawal periods’, as in our experience, these are rarely seen in small animal practice. It is possible that some practices might have naturally occurring evidence where clients have poultry/domestic fowl or rabbits that are used in the food chain.

    We would recommend setting your student the task of researching withdrawal periods, to include the types of animals that these are applicable to and the records that need to be kept. Competence can then be assessed via a professional discussion.

    The RCVS have confirmed that professional discussion is an acceptable method for this skill where no naturally occurring evidence is available

    Supporting documents

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