BVNA & RCVS Joint Initiative VNFutures Launch VN focused Diversity Group

The recently formed VN Futures Diversity, Inclusion and Widening Participation Working Group (DIWP) held their inaugural meeting on 9th November 2021. The aim of the group’s work is to actively address diversity and inclusivity, specifically within the veterinary nursing profession, and consider the support needed by those from diverse backgrounds who are already within the profession.

The group aims to enlist allies and role models to help drive change within the veterinary nursing profession through education, building awareness and offering aspiration to those from all backgrounds on a career in veterinary nursing. We will work with the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group (RCVS DIG) who launched their strategy earlier in 2021; and other allies and parties who are striving for the same goal. This will help to ensure that messages are consistent and that we are all working in alignment with finding solutions for widening participation into the profession.

The groups initial aims are to recruit role models. They are looking for representatives from a variety of diverse backgrounds to share their journey and any challenges and how they were overcome. We want to share your story to inspire others into the profession and widen participation, as well as showing others in the VN profession that they are not alone – open-up conversations, address those challenges and change the culture of the veterinary profession.

If you have any interest in the work of the group or feel that you could be part of it in any way, please reach out to and get in touch.

Group membership

Jo Oakden BVNA Senior Vice President (Chair)

Alex Taylor – BVNA President & VNF Board Member

Lacey Pitcher – BVNA Council

Jack Pye – BVNA Council

Samantha Payne – BVNA Council & RCVS DIG Representative

Bertie Holgate – BVNA Council

Kim Rathbone – BVNA Council

Becky Winter – BVNA Council

Jade Brindley – BVNA Student Council Member

Nikki Ruedisueli – BVNA Head of L&D & VNF Non-Exec Board member

Jill Macdonald – RCVS & VNF Project Manager

Georgina Sharman – RVN

Quote from Jo Oakden BVNA Senior Vice President

‘I am really excited to finally get this group up and running, it has been in the pipeline for a while, and the time is right. It comes with the close of VNFutures Part 1 and the release of the interim report; and this topic being discussed within the Veterinary Nursing profession couldn’t be more needed.

We have focused before on encouraging more males into the profession, but with a rise in RVN’s on the register to 20k nurses in 2021, this is the right time to open-up this conversation and widen participation. We also need to drive a culture change in our profession, that we are accessible to those from a multitude of background’s. As well as supporting those already in our profession.

I think our first campaign to gather role models is key. To feel part of a profession you need to see others that you can relate too in the profession. A role model isn’t perfect, but a role model is inspiring, and can support others that may face challenges and inspire many more into the profession. I am really enthused for what this group will bring, with such an amazing group membership.’

Quote from Jill Macdonald, VNFutures Project manager

‘There are so many important reasons to diversify our workforce and I am really excited to be a part of this group. We know that there is a lack of diversity within the VN profession, and we need to attract more people to the profession from different backgrounds and with a variety of experiences. This will help us to provide a broader range of perspectives into our work, strengthen teams, and ultimately benefit the welfare of animals and the experience of their owners.

We need to provide an example for young people who often cannot see themselves doing veterinary work, because they do not have role models to look up to. This will be the first area that we address.

It is not a simple solution of course and there are many aspects of diversity that we need to consider; also ensure that support is available for people from diverse backgrounds within our profession.

The work of this group will also provide us with guidance to feed into the School Ambassadors Scheme; and help future VN ambassadors to deliver information on a career in veterinary nursing to people from all backgrounds.’

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