Members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council have elected Matthew Rendle RVN as its Chair, the first male veterinary nurse to hold the position.

Matthew has been an elected member of VN Council since 2016 and was re-elected this year. He was chosen to be Chair by his peers at a meeting of VN Council on Wednesday 17 June 2020, meaning that he will head up the Council, which makes decisions relating to the regulation, education and registration of veterinary nurses.

The role of Chair also has ceremonial aspects such as welcoming new veterinary nurses to the Register and taking them through their professional oaths, representing the RCVS and the veterinary nursing profession at various events and acting as an ambassador and spokesperson for the profession.

Speaking of his election as Chair of VN Council Matthew said: “I am very proud to be the first male veterinary nurse to hold the position of Chair of RCVS VN Council. In this position I will continue to work hard to support and progress the profession of the veterinary nurse.

“It is fundamental we give the general public, as well as our fellow veterinary professionals, a greater understanding of the excellent work we do. We have a positive impact on animal health and welfare, whatever the clinical environment or species. The lack of understanding of what veterinary nurses do is often cited as a chronic issue within my profession and it is something I plan to prioritise during my tenure as Chair of VN Council.”

Matthew has been a veterinary nurse since 1989 and, throughout his career, has had a focus on nursing exotic animals, particularly in the zoo setting, with experience of nursing everything from ‘ants to elephants’. He regularly lectures to veterinary nursing and veterinary surgeon undergraduates at the Royal Veterinary College as part of their core modules on topics such as herpetological husbandry, and some areas of zoo and wildlife diagnostic imaging and anaesthesia. He also lectures extensively on herpetology throughout Europe and America.

Joining Matthew will be Belinda Andrews-Jones RVN who was elected as Vice-Chair of VN Council. Belinda has worked in veterinary nursing for almost 30 years with a focus on emergency & critical care and is currently Director for Nursing at CVS, where she leads the more than 2,000 nurses in the group. Belinda has been an appointed member of VN Council since 2018.

In response to her new appointment, Belinda commented: “I am delighted to have been elected as Vice-Chair of VN Council by my fellow Council members. It is a huge honour and privilege to be contributing to the RCVS and the profession, in protecting and upholding the high standards of the UK veterinary nurse profession, while progressing the profession forward.

“I feel I can make a positive contribution to the already fantastic work that the college has achieved. I am passionate about progressing the profession forward and expanding the role of UK veterinary nurses.”

Both Matthew and Belinda will take up their appointments as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively at this year’s RCVS Annual General Meeting which takes place on Friday, 10 July 2020. On that day the RCVS will also be saying farewell to the current VN Council Chair Racheal Marshall who was not re-elected in this year’s VN Council election.

More information about this year’s AGM can be found at: www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-views/events/royal-college-day/