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ACOVENE Presents Its New Veterinary Nurse Education Standards and Competencies to FECAVA Council


The Accreditation Committee of Veterinary Nurse Education (ACOVENE) board member, Professor Zoe Polizopoulou, recently presented significant updates to the Council members of the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA). She detailed ACOVENE's newly adopted Accreditation Standards for Veterinary Nurse Education Programs and the pivotal shift to Outcome-Based Competencies for Veterinary Nursing.

FECAVA, representing over 25,000 companion animal veterinarians in 39 European countries, is a key community for Europe's veterinary professionals. FECAVA was instrumental in founding ACOVENE in 2007.

ACOVENE’s accreditation process involves collaboration among veterinary practitioners, practicing veterinary nurses, and educators. This collective effort ensures high educational standards, covering eleven critical areas from institutional accreditation to curriculum and assessment strategies.

Scheduled for implementation in 2024, the fourth edition introduces significant updates aimed at enhancing the quality and relevance of veterinary nurse education. These updates prioritize the health and wellbeing of both people and animals, foster a culture of empowerment and safety, and strengthen stakeholder involvement throughout the educational process.

Key amendments include integrating evidence-based nursing practices and professional behaviours into the standards, ensuring education aligns with the evolving needs of the profession. The new standards also emphasize inclusivity, providing support and adjustments to best practices. Additionally, the updated accreditation policies focus on evidence-based evaluation and improvement strategies, ensuring programs continually evolve to meet the changing demands of veterinary nursing practice.

In a forward-thinking move, ACOVENE is transitioning from traditional skills lists to outcome-based competencies, ensuring veterinary nursing education remains relevant and adaptable. The approved third edition of the Dossier of Competencies reflects this evolution, providing a dynamic framework for professional development.

Veterinary nurses are increasingly significant members of the veterinary team in Europe. While each country has its systems for education and training, a standardized approach helps registration bodies and veterinary employers facilitate the movement of qualified veterinary nurses between European states. ACOVENE sets standards for veterinary nurse education and stipulates the minimum curriculum content for an accredited program.

"I received a lot of interest and positive feedback on the new standards and competencies," said Professor Polizopoulou. " These developments signify a significant step forward in veterinary nurse education. By focusing on outcome-based competencies, ACOVENE ensures veterinary nurses are well-trained and adaptable to the rapidly changing landscape of veterinary medicine.”

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