The recently formed VN Futures Diversity, Inclusion and Widening Participation Working Group (DIWP) held their inaugural meeting on 9 November 2021. 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 group’s initial aim is to recruit role models to help drive change within the veterinary nursing profession through education, building awareness and inspiring people from all backgrounds to consider a career in veterinary nursing.

The group is looking for role models who can share the experiences and challenges they’ve had throughout their career and how they overcame any hurdles. The group are looking for representatives from a variety of diverse backgrounds who can engage in open conversations and show others in the VN profession that they are not alone.

If you have any interest in the work of the group or feel that you could be part of it in any way, please reach out to

Group membership

  • Jo Oakden BVNA Senior Vice President (Chair)
  • Alex Taylor – BVNA President & VNF Board Member
  • Lacey Pitcher – BVNA Council
  • Jack Pye – BVNA Council
  • Samantha Payne – BVNA Council & RCVS DIG Representative
  • Bertie Holgate – BVNA Council
  • Kim Rathbone – BVNA Council
  • Becky Winter – BVNA Council
  • Jade Brindley – BVNA Student Council Member
  • Nikki Ruedisueli – BVNA Head of L&D & VNF Non-Exec Board member
  • Jill Macdonald – RCVS & VNF Project Lead
  • Georgina Sharman – RVN

Jo Oakden (pictured), BVNA Senior Vice President, commented:

“I am really excited to finally get this group up and running. It comes after the close of the first phase of the VN Futures project and the release of the interim report. It is vital that the topic of diversity and inclusion within the Veterinary Nursing profession is made a priority.

We need to drive a culture change in our profession and show that vet nursing is accessible to people from a multitude of backgrounds, as well as continuing to support those already in our profession.

I think our first campaign to gather role models is key, as to feel part of a profession you need to see others that you can relate to already in the profession. A role model isn’t perfect, but a role model is inspiring and can support people that may face challenges when they join a vet nursing team. I am really enthused for what this group will bring, and I’m thrilled to be working with such an amazing group membership.”

Jill Macdonald, VN Futures Project Lead, commented:

“There are so many important reasons to diversify our workforce and I am really excited to be a part of this group. We know that there is a lack of diversity within the VN profession, and we need to attract more people to the profession from different backgrounds and with a variety of experiences. This will help us to bring a broader range of perspectives into our work, strengthen teams, and ultimately benefit the welfare of animals and the experience of their owners.

We need to provide an example for young people who often cannot see themselves doing veterinary work because they do not have role models to look up to. This will be the first area that we address.

It is not a simple solution of course and there are many aspects of diversity that we need to consider while also ensuring that support is available for people from diverse backgrounds already working within our profession.

The work of this group will also provide us with 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.”

Josephine Oakden