RVC's Graduate Diploma

RVC's Graduate Diploma

Last updated 13 November 2012

SINCE being established, in 2008, the RVC's Graduate Diploma in Professional and Clinical Veterinary Nursing has helped vet nurses further their knowledge, sharpen clinical skills and gain confidence to progress within their careers.

The Graduate Diploma is an innovative distance learning course, delivered via an interactive online mode. It is completed part-time over a period of between 20 and 36 months.

Seven VNs working at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals have completed the Graduate Diploma and four are currently undertaking it. During the course some students have been published in a peer review journal and some of the participants have gone on to teach nurses.

One such person, Catherine Wager, qualified as a VN in 2008 and started the programme two years later while working at the Animal Health Trust. Since gaining her diploma she has become a lecturer and course director on VN programmes at the College of West Anglia.

Outlining why she joined the course and what she enjoyed about it, Catherine said: “I undertook the GradDip course because, having been qualified for two years it was apparent how much more there was to know about veterinary nursing than what you learn to gain your RVN qualification. I wanted to further my knowledge to improve my practice. I was also already keen to coach students and to lecture, for which I knew I needed to expand my knowledge.

“There were many things I particularly enjoyed about the course.  Attending the initial study week, and really feeling like a 'proper' student of the RVC, despite distance learning, was really motivating. The quality of the course material and the expertise of the lecturers was also consistently amazing.”

She added: “The qualification has taught me so many skills and opened so many doors for me. I've been published in an international peer-reviewed journal, invited to speak at British Veterinary Nursing Association congress, hold a position on a clinical research ethics committee, gained a job as a lecturer and now have hopes to complete an MSc. None of these things would have been possible without the GradDip.”

In 2011, while on the RVC course, Catherine had an article published in The Veterinary Nurse, entitled 'A critical reflection of implementing a nursing care plan for two hospitalized patients' (The Veterinary Nurse 2(6): 328-332).