Paraveterinary workers in Ireland
Paraveterinary workers in Ireland, including veterinary nurses, assist veterinary physicians, or carry out animal health procedures autonomously. Paraveterinary workers in Ireland are represented by the Irish Veterinary Nursing Association (IVNA) since 2002, and prior to this were represented by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) from the 1960s.
Veterinary nursing became a regulated profession in the State from January 2008 under the Veterinary Practice Act 2005. The title ‘veterinary nurse’ can only be used by those registered with the Veterinary Council. Post-nominal letters used in Ireland are RVN (Registered Veterinary Nurse). A provisional register was created for the purpose of allowing experienced staff working in veterinary practices the opportunity to achieve formal education and qualification. Provisional registration confers the same rights and responsibilities as those on the Register enjoy except that those with provisional registration must have reached the standard required for entry to the Register by the 31 December 2012. Therefore, from January 2008 no individual can legally perform veterinary nursing duties unless listed on the Register or is currently undertaking a course of formal education approved by the Veterinary Council (Ann Marie Byrne, RVN, IVNA Chairperson, 10 mar 2009).
To date, there are five programmes of study which qualify one to become a veterinary nurse in Ireland, each being sanctioned by the Veterinary Council of Ireland: the 2-year diploma course at St. John's Central College in Cork, the 3-year ordinary Bachelor of Science degrees in Athlone, Dundalk and Letterkenny Institutes of Technology and the 4-year higher (honours level) Bachelor of Science degree at University College Dublin.