The RCVS has produced a checklist poster for use in practice to help veterinary surgeons remember the things they need to consider when delegating work to veterinary nurses under Schedule 3.

Under Schedule 3, vets can delegate medical treatment and minor surgery (not involving entry into a body cavity) to registered veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses under certain circumstances.

However, following an RCVS survey of the profession to gauge how well both vets and vet nurses understood the provisions of Schedule 3, the College says it was clear that both groups, but especially vets, could benefit from additional guidance and greater clarity.

Following the publication of the survey report, the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Schedule 3 Working Party made a number of recommendations, including the production of a number of case studies (available via www.rcvs.org.uk/schedule3) and a reference poster to help veterinary surgeons in making decisions on delegation in practice. 

An A3/A4 poster setting out the principles of delegation has now been prepared and will be printed and posted to all UK veterinary practice premises this autumn.

Ian Holloway, RCVS Director of Communications, who helped develop the poster with the RCVS Standards Committee and the College’s Standards & Advice Team, said: "It was clear from the survey results that we could do more to help vets and vet nurses understand and remember the principles of delegation under Schedule 3, so hopefully our six-point checklist, using the memorable mnemonic 'SUPERB', will do just that.

"If the poster can be placed in a prominent position in the practice setting, we hope it will become a handy, everyday reference tool for all veterinary professionals, and help vets remember the six questions they need to consider before delegating work to their VN colleagues. 

SUPERB stands for:

  • Specific procedure – is the procedure medical treatment or minor surgery not involving entry into a body cavity?

  • Under care – is the animal under your care?

  • Person – can you delegate to this person?

  • Experience – does the RVN/SVN feel capable, and have sufficient competence and expertise?

  • Risks – have you considered the risks specific to this case?

  • Be there – are you available to direct or supervise as necessary?

Only if you, as a vet, can answer 'yes' to all six questions, can you delegate the job to an RVN or SVN.

The poster will also available to download from www.rcvs.org.uk/schedule3 where further resources about delegation are available, including links to the relevant chapter of the supporting guidance to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and the Schedule 3 case studies.

I think anything which gives veterinary surgeons confidence to delegate more to veterinary nurses is to be warmly welcomed. But what do you think? Do you think this poster would encourage your vets to delegate more, less, or the same? Discuss here


Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vet nurses.