Over 300 RVNs have completed CVS’ Surgical Schedule 3 Course

23rd Feb, 2024

  • Career Development

Course upskills nurses to undertake minor surgical procedures, in the past conducted by a vet

Over 300 RVNs have now completed CVS’ recently launched Surgical Schedule 3[i] Course, as part of the group’s advocation of the upskilling nurses in its first opinion practices - and giving nurses the opportunity to be the best nurse they can be.

The comprehensive CVS Surgical Schedule 3 training programme offers nurses the ability to step up in first opinion small animal practices. It is designed for both newly qualified and experienced nurses, and those nurses looking to upskill and take a step up in their career.

The course is designed to help nurses to develop their skills and knowledge, so that they can accomplish a varied range of minor surgical procedures. The aim is that nurse colleagues will be competent and confident enough to start to take on some of the surgical procedures, which in the past would have been conducted by a vet.

The wide-ranging CVS Surgical Schedule 3 course covers wound management and making decisions on dressings, drain management, how to complete biopsies and fine needle samples, how to complete a number of suture patterns, and how to remove cutaneous masses and complete other surgeries under schedule 3 legislation.

On completion of the course, CVS nurses will be able to recognise what nurses can complete under schedule 3 legislation, identify the correct dressing for each stage of wound healing, identify the equipment and correct technique for a range of biopsies, complete a number of different suture patterns, and remove cutaneous masses and complete other surgeries under schedule 3 legislation.

The tailored CPD course has been developed by the learning, education and development (LED) team at CVS. It includes 8 hours of practical skills training on cadavers as well as 2 hours of online training, covering suture selection and legislation. Each nurse has a skills checklist to inform their ongoing training needs and is encouraged to have regular, informal meetings with a local mentor – who is able to support their learning. The next Surgical Schedule 3 Course is scheduled for 21st March 2024.

Karen Learmonth, LED Nursing Lead at CVS said:

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“I am excited about the opportunity that Surgical Schedule 3 provides for nurses within CVS to further their skills and knowledge. Advocating nurses’ involvement in Schedule 3 procedures supports improved patient care and provides nurses with rewarding careers. 

It’s fantastic to see so many nurses completing the course to date. And we’ll further develop nurse utilisation in 2024, where we’ll rollout both ultrasound and lab skills training. We hope this will encourage nurses to utilise all aspects of their role in line with Schedule 3 guidelines.”

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 Fran Wood, RVN at Albavet - Rogers, Brock & Barker said:

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“I have been loving doing surgery and felt the course was the best CPD I have ever been on! It has given me the confidence to complete stitch ups, tail amputations and many other procedures.”  

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CVS has prioritised important areas for improving nurse progression and utilisation - in the consulting room and with schedule 3 delegated surgical procedures. In small animal, it encourages nurses to achieve utilisation of 90% or above. Recent training for nurses has resulted in 33% becoming competent in undertaking nurse consultations. A key element to successful nurse utilisation is vets who pledge to support nurses to achieve this work within practice. Here, the group has also published guidelines to provide clarity around effective delegation under schedule 3.

CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices, referral centres and sites in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. In the last five years the company has invested nearly £80 million in its sites, facilities and equipment, in addition to industry leading training and support, to give the best possible care to animals. For more information about careers with CVS Group, visit www.careerswithcvs.co.uk 

[1] Under Schedule 3 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act, only registered veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses have the privilege to perform certain procedures in veterinary practice, as delegated to them by veterinary surgeon colleagues employed in the same practice. Schedule 3 surgical procedures could include: stitch ups, dental scale and polish, radiography, minor benign skin mass removals, tail and toe amputations, and aural haematomas. Advice on Schedule 3 - Professionals (rcvs.org.uk)