Owning the title of veterinary nurse

02 September 2022
2 mins read
Volume 13 · Issue 7

What is a professional title, and why is it important? These are critical questions that have been central to our evolving identity as veterinary nurses. Our evolution as veterinary professionals spans decades, but from the early 1960s we began an important shift in our identity when we started claiming the title of nurse. This shift was shaped by a fundamental recognition of our similarity in role to human nursing. This recognition cannot be understated as a pivotal turning point, and a continued driver for professional evolution of the veterinary nursing profession. It both beneficial for veterinary nurses and a challenge, simultaneously offering a world of opportunities following human nursing but also challenging us to carve out our own path. I believe it is this duality that is presently holding us back.

Are we nurses, or are we a profession using the title yet not embracing everything that it means to be a nurse? One key point that distinguishes us from human nursing is history and education. We are still in our youth with barely 50 years' experience using the formal title of nurse to describe us. If we compare our timeline to human nursing, we can see that at this age human nurses were starting to contribute to their scientific body of knowledge about the profession itself. This, more than anything helped to evolve identity in human nursing, and it is precisely what we are missing. We simply lack the vast numbers of post graduate veterinary nurses who are publishing about our profession. I believe this is because we haven't yet realised that post graduate qualifications aren't just for industry to create nurse practitioners, they are also essential for advancing our profession, and our identity.

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