The VN Futures Diversity, Inclusion and Widening Participation Working Group (DIWP) held their inaugural meeting on 9 November 2021. The group is led by the BVNA as part of the VN Futures Project.

The aim of the group’s work is to actively address diversity and inclusivity, specifically within the veterinary nursing profession, and consider the support needed by those from diverse backgrounds who are already working within the profession. The group will work with the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG) who launched their strategy in 2021.

The work of this group will also provide guidance to feed into the School Ambassadors Scheme and help future VN ambassadors to deliver information on a career in veterinary nursing to people from all backgrounds.

2022-2023 DIWP Campaigns

The DIWP Working Group will be running a series of campaigns over 2023. Each campaign will focus on a specific topic to raise awareness and give support where needed, and to also encourage more diversity and inclusivity within the veterinary nursing profession itself.

  • Alex Taylor – BVNA Senior Vice President (Chair)
  • Charlotte Pace – BVNA President
  • Jill Macdonald – VN Futures Project Lead
  • Nikki Ruedisueli – VNJ Editor in Chief & VNF Non-Executive Board Member
  • Craig Tessyman – BVNA Honorary Secretary
  • Becky Winters – BVNA Council Member and Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead
  • Kim Rathbone – BVNA Council Member
  • Lacey Pitcher – BVNA Council Member
  • Nikki McLeod – BVNA Council Member
  • Macauly Gatenby – Student BVNA Council Member
  • Bronwyn Bailey – Student BVNA Council Member
  • Georgina Sharman – RVN
  • Kimberley Boparai – RVN
Two vets with a ginger cat in practice
Veterinary nurse graduates at RCVS VN Day at London Zoo

Campaign 1 – Entering the profession later in life/career change into veterinary nursing – two blogs written by BVNA Council Members who changed careers into veterinary nursing and a discussion panel webinar on changing careers and the diversity of the veterinary nursing role.

Campaign 2 – Equity and Inclusion for those who are deaf or hard of hearing – creating blogs and other resources to raise awareness, explain allyship, and to provide information about transcript accessibility for meetings and CPD or events.

Campaign 3 – Guidance on religious clothing for employers, veterinary nurses, and colleges or universities to support those wearing religious clothing in practice and show how the wearing of religious clothing can be effectively aligned with practice policies.

Campaign 4 – Menopause awareness through education and provision of symptom information – discussion panel on how the menopause can affect veterinary nurses and signposting to support through blogs, website and social media. Explore how work colleagues and managers can broach the subject and provide appropriate support.

Campaign 5 – Create awareness about the benefits of flexible working and how it can improve work-life balance, job satisfaction and aid with retention of veterinary nurses – discussion panel and further online supportive material to be provided.

The DIWP Working Group have also been working with and supporting BVLGBT+ and will continue to do so over the next year. This will include sharing blogs, signposting members to BVLGBT+ for advice and support (including student veterinary nurses), and supporting Pride month. More information about BVLGBT+ can be found on the BVLGBT+ website.

Past Campaigns

Role Model Campaign – the first campaign that the group worked on, in 2022, enlisted allies and role models to help drive change within the veterinary nursing profession through education, building awareness and providing aspirational content to inspire people from all backgrounds to consider a career in veterinary nursing. Representation and visibility are so important in opening the doorway to those who may be unsure whether veterinary nursing is a career option for them, so we wanted to create a platform to highlight that veterinary nursing as a viable career option for all.

The aim of the campaign was to share stories to inspire others into the profession, promote widening participation, and show current VNs from underrepresented backgrounds that they are not alone – something that is essential for opening-up conversations, addressing challenges and, ultimately, driving a change in working culture.

You can view the blogs, interviews and podcasts from the DIWP role models on the BVNA website.
Data relating to ethnicity and gender for SVNs and RVNs
Group RVNs 2020 SVNs 2020
White 82% 95%
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) 2% 4%
Unknown 16% 1%
Male 2.65% 4.25%
Female 97.3% 95.1%
Unspecified 0.05% 0.65%