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Appropriate use of post-nominals

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Ratification Date: 01 Aug 2010

Position statement

The use of post-nominals is encouraged when appropriate. Usage should follow the general rules and guidelines as dictated by convention and appropriate resources such as the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

It is recommended that the following specific guidelines be followed for the use of veterinary post-nominals. Inappropriate use is discouraged especially when it is potentially misleading.

Background

The use of post-nominals is becoming increasingly complex. Examining bodies such as the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists award the higher qualifications of Member and Fellow of the ANZCVS.

Commonly practitioners returning from practising in the UK maintain their membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and use the post-nominal MRCVS when practising in Australia. At best this is a confusing inappropriate use of post-nominals in the wrong jurisdiction. At worst, it could be a deliberate attempt to mislead the public that a similar qualification has been achieved to the MANZCVS which is only gained through examination.

Overseas post-nominals must only be used when they are a result of a qualification, not membership of an overseas association i.e. post-nominals are not used outside their appropriate jurisdiction e.g. Dr Brown BVSc in Australia but not Dr Brown BVSc MRCVS (except if practising in the UK).

The exception to this would be if the veterinarian has achieved the MRCVS through examination as this would entitle the legitimate use of the post-nominal in Australia.

Veterinarians increasingly need guidance on the use of the many post-nominals that are now available.

Guidelines

The following are the guidelines for the use of veterinary post nominals.

The correct order for use of post nominals is

  • Commonwealth honours and awards
  • University degrees both pre- and post-graduate
  • Appointments such as JP
  • Memberships of associations

For example:

  • J Smith DVM, PhD but not Dr J Smith DVM, PhD.

The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists guidelines in relation to the use of post-nominals at July 2011 are:

  1. A veterinarian who has passed examinations and been admitted to Membership of the College shall be entitled to use the letters MANZCVS after his/her name, with the appropriate subject added in brackets eg MANZCVS (Radiology).
  2. A veterinarian who has passed more than one membership examination shall be entitled to using MANZCVS only once, after which the subjects must be listed alphabetically eg MANZCVS (Anaesthesia, Radiology, Small Animal Medicine).
  3. A veterinarian who has passed examinations and been admitted to Fellowship of the College in the same subject as Membership, shall be entitled to use only the letters FANZCVS after his/her name, with the appropriate subject added in brackets eg FANZCVS (Animal Behaviour).
  4. Only when a veterinarian has passed examinations for Membership and Fellowship in different subjects, shall he/she be entitled to list both the membership and fellowship qualifications. In this situation subject names must be added eg MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine), FANZCVS (Dermatology).
  5. Members or Fellows of the College who become unfinancial or who resign from the College are no longer permitted to append postnominals referring to College qualifications.
  6. A list of accepted abbreviations for College subjects is to be provided through consultation with chapters.

Date of ratification by AVA Board: August, 2010 (College guidelines updated July, 2011).(Updated Jan 2014) (Background updated May 2017 to remove use of CMAVA which is no longer valid).