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Future-focused programme for the RCVS at BSAVA Congress

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is hosting a suite of future-focused presentations at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress next month. These presentations will cover topics from the future of veterinary education and veterinary nursing, to telemedicine, leadership and mental wellbeing within the profession.

The BSAVA Congress runs from Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th April. The exhibition is in Arena Birmingham (running 4-6 April) and the lectures are in the ICC (running 4-7 April).

e RCVS will be hosting presentations on day one of the BSAVA Congress. The day will begin at 08.30 with a split-session presentation from Professor Stephen May, RCVS Senior Vice-President, and Amanda Boag, RCVS President.

Professor Stephen May will present a talk entitled ‘Graduate Outcomes review – looking to the future’, which will cover the Graduate Outcomes consultation launched by the RCVS last year.  

Amanda Boag will then present a talk entitled ‘Leadership for all with the Edward Jenner Leadership Programme’ in the second half of this split-session.

The programme comprises two online courses with a final assessment and is supported by an innovative audio drama, ‘Glenvern’, which faithfully portrays the leadership challenges vets encounter in daily practice. All the learning materials are free to access, although there is a small charge for those wishing to undertake the final assessment.

This session will then be followed by three presentations from the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative, launched in 2015, which aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team.

The first of the MMI presentations, entitled ‘Disclosure’ and scheduled to run from 09.25 to 10.10, will be presented by Darren Humphrey, Lead Clinician at March on Stress, a psychological health consultancy charity that delivers Vetlife’sHealth Support Programme. Darren will focus on the issues around ‘disclosing’ to a line manager that you are suffering from a mental health condition, along with addressing wider issues associated with mental health such as stigma and discrimination. The remaining two MMI sessions will focus on &Me Live, with Part 1 running from 11.05 to 11.50 and Part 2 running from 12.00 to 12.45.

&Me Live is a joint anti-stigma initiative, run in partnership with the Doctors’ Support Network, that aims to encourage senior people within healthcare professions to come forward with their personal mental health stories, to demonstrate that mental health issues do not exclude people from achieving leading roles in healthcare. The last stream of sessions for the day will focus on VN Futures, a joint RCVS and British Veterinary Nursing Association initiative formed at the beginning of the 2016 in parallel with the Vet Futures project, to help the veterinary nursing profession prepare for its future.

Laura Black RVN, will begin these sessions with a talk entitled ‘A VN’s guide to wellbeing’, running from 14.05 to 14.50. Black’s presentation will focus on what veterinary nurses can do to improve not only their wellbeing, but also that of their colleagues. Liz Cox, Senior Vice-Chair for RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council and RCVS Council Member, will present the second VN Futures presentation, entitled ‘VN’s guide to Practice Standards Scheme’, which will run from 15.00 to 15.45.

The third VN Futures talk, entitled ‘A VN’s guide to Schedule 3 and Delegation’, will be presented by Julie Dugmore, RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing, from 15.50 to 16.35. This session will examine Schedule 3 and its role in the profession today, particularly given the 2015 granting of the RCVS Royal Charter in which veterinary nurses became recognised as professionals in their own right. 

Susan Howarth, Chair of the VN Education Committee and VN Council member, will present the final VN Futures presentation, entitled ‘A VN’s guide to Advanced Practitioner Status’, from 16.40 to 17.25. Susan will focus on the development of the RCVS post-registration framework for RVNs, which has been devised to allow access to advanced veterinary nursing qualifications from all registerable veterinary nurse qualifications.

Meanwhile, in Hall 7 on Friday, 5 April at 08.30, RCVS Director of Communications Ian Holloway will join a panel discussion entitled ‘Effective consultation: how to make clients your best marketing tool’ and, later that day at 16.50, Chair of RCVS Standards Committee Kate Richards will speak in the Big Issues debate entitled ‘Telemedicine: patient care in the digital world’.

Throughout Congress, RCVS Council members and staff will be on stand number J14 where delegates can find out about a range of RCVS activities and be in with a chance of winning a £100 National Book Token by playing a ‘Full House!’ game involving multiple choice questions on a variety of RCVS projects and activities.

For the full agenda for BSAVA Congress visit

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