One Health and Veterinary Nursing

Think of One Health and the immediate response is to consider concepts such as antibiotic resistance, global epidemics and rabies control. While all relevant and important aspects of One Health, the VN Futures group has established that One Health means very different things to UK Veterinary Nurses.

One of the most surprising elements of the VN Futures work was learning One Health was a key focus for the future of the profession. Time and time again the subject came up with nurses in practice, in education and in industry.

VNs have unique skillsets that offer themselves readily to One Health. Taking the time to communicate with owners and develop effective therapeutic relationships with both owners and animals can contribute to wider issues such as antibiotic stewardship through improve education. There are also much more subtle elements such as supporting the chronic care of pets to ensure that both owner and animal are comfortable, healthy and able to enjoy the well-established benefits of the human-animal bond.

Veterinary nursing and One Health isn’t about internationally recognised big issues, its smaller, community focused projects that can make all the difference. It’s the acknowledgement that pets can be therapeutic and may support human centred healthcare. It’s the link between addressing pet health and having an incidental improvement on the owner’s health, consider a gentle exercise plan for an overweight animal and by association an increased exercise plan for the overweight owner.

Finally, it’s the realisation that human centred nursing, the environment and veterinary nursing should be considered as an interlinked triad. The inter professional learning potential is huge and the time is right to begin to formalise our One Health links, allowing Veterinary Nurses to develop robust One Health projects within their scope of practice to the benefit of humans, animals, the environment and indeed the profession itself.

Helen Ballantyne PG Dip BSc (Hons) RN RVN BVNA representative of the UK One Health Coordination Group (UKOHCG)

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