Hard-working nurses and nursing teams celebrated during difficult year
Veterinary nurses who have shown outstanding dedication and commitment to supporting pets and owners have been recognised as part of the annual Hill's Pet Nutrition Nurse Awards.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who entered our awards during this very ‘unusual’ year,” said Fi Marjoram, nurse programme coordinator at Hill's Pet Nutrition.
“It has been a challenging year for everyone, but as expected, the commitment and dedication shown by vet nurses around the country has not wavered and we are thrilled to give them the recognition they deserve.”
The finalists and winners in each category are as follows:
The Senior Support Nurse Award
Laura-Jean Hammersley of White Cross Vets, Coulby Newham – winner
Jane White of Abbey House Veterinary Hospital, Morely
Becky Smith of Wilton House Vets, Guisborough.
The Managing Weight with Excellence Award
The nursing team from Heathside Veterinary Surgery, Southampton – winners
Alex John of St James’ Vets, Swansea
Becky Smith of Wilton House, Guisborough.
Hill's Pet Nutrition also announced the Canine and Feline Slimmers of the Year, who undertook incredible weight loss journeys across 2020.
The winner in the canine category was Willow Mason from Guisborough. She entered the awards in 2019 and has lost 40 per cent of her start weight since then. Overall Willow went from 27.5kg to 16.5kg with the help of Becky Smith from Wilton House Vets.
The nursing team at Pennard Vets in Allington helped feline winner Timmy Howell to go from 14.4kg to a more manageable 6.9kg. Overall the cat has lost an amazing 48 per cent of his start weight.
For more details on how to apply for the 2021 awards, please speak to your local Hill’s Pet Nutrition territory manager.
Event will celebrate newly-qualified VNs with presentations from VN Golden Jubilee Award winners.
More than 70 veterinary nurses (VNs) are set to be welcomed to the profession later this month in a special virtual ceremony hosted by the RCVS.
Taking place on Thursday, 12 November at 7.30 pm, the event will open with an address by VN Council chair Matthew Rendle and RCVS President Mandisa Greene, after which Matthew will take all the veterinary nurses present through their professional declarations.
In addition to reading out the names of all the new registrants, Mr Rendle will read out the names of 10 RVNs who will be collecting their Diplomas in Advanced Veterinary Nursing. Special recognition will also be paid to Liverpool RVN Judith Montgomery for her long-standing contribution to the profession.
Matthew Rendle said: “This will be my first formal event as Chair of VN Council and it’s a great honour for me to be welcoming these newly trained veterinary nurses into our great profession and sharing with them my hopes and wishes for veterinary nurses and how they can play their part in its development and its future.”
The event will include two speeches from previous recipients of the Veterinary Nursing Golden Jubilee Award – the highest honour that can be bestowed on an RVN by the College. Jane Devaney, who won the award in 2019, will speak about the development of her career in veterinary nursing, while 2014 award-winner Hayley Walters will discuss her international career, which involved nursing bears rescued from China's bear bile trade.
Matthew added: “Our guest speakers Jane and Hayley also demonstrate just how diverse a career veterinary nursing can be and that it can encompass teaching, mentoring, international outreach and clinical practice and I hope those attending will be inspired to think about all the different paths their veterinary nursing qualification can take them down.”
The evening will conclude with an update on the VN Futures Initiative by RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing Julie Dugmore. Julie will outline the project, which aims to identify and address the challenges veterinary nursing is likely to face over the coming years, and explain how the newly-qualified nurses can get involved.
To watch the event live visit the RCVS website. A recording of the ceremony will be made available for those who are unable to attend.
Blogger and RSPCA vet nurse awarded for dedication to animal welfare
Pet charity Blue Cross has named veterinary nurse Chloe Mackintosh as its ‘Vet Nurse of the Year 2020’, for her commitment to animal welfare and passion for charity work.
As well as working full-time as a veterinary nurse at RSPCA in Harmsworth, North London, Chloe Mackintosh assists in a range of fundraising activities and also runs a blog titled ‘The Charity Vet Nurse’. She uses this platform to raise awareness of the profession and to encourage other veterinary nurses to consider a career in charity.
David Catlow, director of veterinary clinical services at Blue Cross said: “We are delighted to recognise the dedication and hard work Chloe puts into both her job and wider animal welfare.
“The Vet Nurse of the Year Award is to showcase those vet nurses who go above and beyond, and Chloe certainly meets this criteria. In what has been a really challenging year for all vet nurses across the UK, we congratulate Chloe on her much-deserved award.”
Miss Mackintosh was presented with her award during a virtual awards ceremony, held on Saturday 10 October as part of the BVNA’s This is Us event.
She said: “I was shocked to find out I had been nominated, and absolutely taken aback to find out in the same phone call I had won!
“It’s such an honour to win something of this stature as the Blue Cross is a charity I admire immensely. My passion and niche is charity work and I really mean it when I say this has made my year.”
Image (c) Blue Cross.
This is Us 2020 event recognises excellence in the profession
The three winners of this year’s BVNA Awards were announced during a virtual awards evening held as part of the association’s This is Us 2020 event, which celebrates excellence within the profession.
The awards evening was livestreamed on Saturday 10 October via the BVNA’s Facebook page, and directly to delegates through Zoom.
The evening began with a keynote speech from Dr Jane Goodhall DBE, before Jo Oakden, BVNA’s junior vice president, announced the award winners.
The BVNA award winners are:
- St Francis Award – for a nurse who has gone above and beyond for their team, their patients, and the profession as a whole over the past year. Awarded to Christine Robinson.
- Help in the Community Award – for a nurse who has gone the extra mile to help animal owners and their clinical teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Awarded to Bethany Scott.
- VNJ Writer of the Year Award - for the author of an article written in VNJ which has inspired positive change, discussion or has improved clinical standards in practice. Awarded to Courtney Scales.
Mrs Oakden says: ““It was fantastic to see all the worthy nominees and finalists for our new BVNA awards and Hills and Blue Cross awards.
“The high standards, dedication and resilience of our profession was demonstrated with all of our nominees and winners of the awards, showing they can adapt and overcome to be champions in our profession to help educate and inspire those within and outside of our profession.
“It was a huge honour to be able to present these awards and still keep the celebratory feel in these unusual times. A huge congratulations to all our winners.”
Images (c) BVNA.
New educational tool aims to boost vet nurses’ skills
A new online resource, aimed at both qualified and student veterinary nurses, has been released by the University of Edinburgh to mark Veterinary Nurses Day.
The resource, titled Veterinary Nursing Skills, covers the principles and practice of nursing companion animals in a clinical setting. It is provided by the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the university’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
Content included in the module will highlight how focusing on the interactions between nursing care, animal health and patient behaviour can improve patient welfare and clinical outcomes.
The university hopes that veterinary technicians and assistants will also benefit from the new material, which includes downloadable fact sheets, video tutorials and interactive quizzes.
Topics covered include:
- clinical skills
- animal handling and behaviour
- emergency and critical care
- animal welfare
- inpatient care.
Hayley Walters, the Royal (Dick) School’s welfare and anaesthesia nurse, said that the aim of the new resource was to provide support to veterinary nurses across the world who may not have access to the same professional training resources as others.
Ms Walters added: “Knowledge and compassionate veterinary nurses improve patient welfare, so we want to share some of our educational and animal welfare expertise with a global audience, this new resource will help to promote the role of the veterinary nurse as a para-professional who is an essential part of the veterinary team.”
For more information and to register for free, please visit the university’s website.
Winners to be announced during virtual event
The BVNA has announced the nine finalists for the annual BVNA Awards, with the winners to be announced during a virtual awards evening during the BVNA This is Us 2020 event.
The award categories and finalists are:
- St Francis Award, for a veterinary nurse who has demonstrated exemplary dedication to their team, their patients, and the profession over the past year. Finalists are Christine Robinson, Jade Kelly, and Lynsey Tindall
- Help in the Community Award, presented to nurses who have gone the extra mile to help animal owners and their clinical teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finalists are Beth Scott, Chloe Mai Burrows, and Carla Finzel
- VNJ Writer of the Year Award, for authors of articles written in VNJ which have inspired positive change, discussion or have improved clinical standards in practice. Finalists are Carol A Gray, Courtney Scales, and Ashleigh Thurston.
Jo Hinde, BVNA president says: “I am thrilled at the launch of BVNA’s new awards. We have an amazing opportunity to highlight the huge dedication, passion and inspiration veterinary nurses bring to the profession.
“It is always uplifting to celebrate and recognise those who have excelled, and all of our finalists are very deserving of the accolade.”
The awards evening begins at 6.30pm on Saturday 10 October and will be streamed live on the BVNA Facebook page, as well as to delegates via Zoom. World-renowned chimpanzee expert Dr Jane Goodall DBE is the keynote speaker for the event, and the awards presentations will follow.
Image (c) BVNA.
New categories to highlight excellence in the profession
The BVNA has announced the launch of three new awards to celebrate inspirational individuals in veterinary nursing as part of its virtual Awards Evening at the ‘This is Us’ online event.
The new awards that will be presented during the Awards Evening are:
- St Francis Award – for a nurse who has shown extraordinary dedication to their team, their patients, and the profession in the last 12 months
- Help in the Community Award – recognising nurses who have excelled in their efforts to help animal owners and their clinical teams during the COVID-19 pandemic
- VNJ Writer of the Year Award – for articles written in VNJ which have inspired positive change, discussion or have improved clinical standards in practice.
The ‘This is Us’ event takes place from 9 to 11 October and the virtual Awards Evening will be held on Saturday 10 October at 6.30pm. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the BVNA Facebook page and Zoom. Dr Jane Goodall will be the keynote speaker for the evening.
Jo Hinde, BVNA President says: “I am thrilled to be hosting this year’s award ceremony and urge everyone to join in by nominating and watching the ceremony live.
“We have chosen 3 brand new award categories that really highlight those individuals who are truly inspirational and as such, I am absolutely delighted that Dr Jane Goodall DME will be our guest speaker for the evening.
“She is the epitome of inspirational, compassion and kindness – all of which are values that veterinary nurses hold dear. This really is an event that’s not to be missed!”
For more information and to nominate please visit the BVNA website.
Image (c) Stuart Clarke.
Nominations are now open for the Blue Cross 'Veterinary Nurse of the Year' award which pays recognition to the UK's veterinary nurses and the invaluable support they provide to their teams, clients and pets.
The award is bestowed to a veterinary nurse who not only cares for sick and injured pets but has also gone the extra mile to improve pet welfare in their community. It will be presented virtually to the winner during the BVNA's 'This is Us' event on Saturday 10 October.
Last year's award was won by deputy head nurse Danielle Pountain from Pool House Veterinary Hospital in Lichfield. Danielle commented: “I was overwhelmed to receive the call that I had been selected as the Blue Cross Vet Nurse of the Year.
“It felt like an unbelievable honour to have been considered worthy for an award for doing a job I love to do and I felt like being recognised for my achievements and contribution to veterinary nurses, validated all of my hard work, enthusiasm and dedication. I am grateful to everyone for giving me such a great title and award.”
Anyone can make a nomination for veterinary nurse of the year, including pet owners and veterinary practices. David Catlow, Blue Cross director of veterinary clinical services, said:
“With vet practices across the UK having had to rethink how we deliver our services as a result of COVID, delivering only emergency and essential services for the duration of lockdown, it has been a particularly challenging year for the whole industry. Many vet nurses working in veterinary practice have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment going ‘above and beyond’ in these extraordinary times.”
The nomination form can be found the Blue Cross website at bluecross.org.uk/BVNA2020. Nominations close on Friday, 18 September 2020.
Winners nominated for going above and beyond their call of duty.
Five veterinary nurses working in an array of clinical settings have been announced as the winners of Animalcare’s Vet Nurse Heroes competition.
The competition, which took place during Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM) (May 2020), called on team members to nominate their nurse colleagues who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a flood of great entries, the winners of the competition have been announced as:
Claire Defries, VN programme leader at the College of Animal Welfare
Claire was praised for the support she gave to vet nurses in training during the lockdown, enabling third-year students to sit their final exams. Besides developing online training, virtually overnight, Claire was also commended for the pastoral support she has provided to students during the lockdown.
Ellie Tappenden, Albyn Veterinary Centre, Broxburn
Ellie’s nomination pays recognition to her work to create a local support network with other vets. During the lockdown, Ellie worked long shifts before delivering regular medicines and ensuring that her self-isolating clients were coping. She also organised a collection of spare PPE for the local hospital, all while managing her pain from a degenerative disease, Ehlers Danlos, which she fights daily.
Tammy Jarvis, RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre, March
Tammy gave exceptional support to all 105 patients at the RSPCA centre and the veterinary surgeon. With other staff furloughed, she took on additional duties, including maintenance and ground management, and recently started sewing face masks for her colleagues.
Bethany Lavill, Etwall Vets, Derby
Bethany was nominated for coming in after hours to check up on patients and for collecting animals from clients who are self-isolating. Nominators said that she had gone above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions and still asks what more she can do to help.
Shannon Mills, Leeds Colton Vets4Pets
Shannon willingly covered a range of roles throughout lockdown and recently nursed a critical care rabbit throughout the day while overseeing reception. She also passed her mock exam with flying colours during the lockdown, all despite a recent diagnosis of epilepsy.
The winners each received a gift box, filled to the brim with delicious food and drink.
“We wanted our competition to highlight the fantastic contribution vet nurses around the country are making to their colleagues, clients and patients – but the number and quality of entries hugely exceeded our expectations," commented Animalcare product manager, James Beaumont.
“At such a difficult time, the positivity, passion and care that each nomination exuded made reading them a moving experience and selecting only five as winners was no easy task. We thank all those who took the time to nominate their amazing colleagues and thank every vet nurse who was nominated for their extraordinary commitment and dedication.”
Image (C) Animalcare UK.
Rachel Liddell went out of her way to help her blind and deaf clients.
A veterinary nursing student from Ayrshire has been praised for going 'above and beyond' during the coronavirus pandemic by helping humans as well as animals.
Twenty-year-old Rachel Liddell is studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) while working at The Oaks Veterinary Centre in Saltcoats.
When a blind client had to have his guide dog put to sleep, Rachel – who was writing sympathy cards – realised that he wouldn't be able to read the card if she sent one.
Wanting the client to receive a card that was personal that he could read, Rachel contacted the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and asked if they could make a brail insert to send in a card.
Rachel also extended her kindness to a deaf client who brought his dog in for vaccinations. Upon realising the client was deaf, she typed out what she wanted to say to the owner on a sign language app. When she took the dog back to the car park, she then signed an overview of the consultation.
Vet Sarah Lamont, who works with Rachel at The Oaks, said: “We have a lot of talented nurses at our practice but there is something very special about Rachel. She is far beyond her years in terms of her nursing skills but also has a special quality about her that you cannot teach.
“She goes above and beyond for people and I have noticed this even more so as we have been going through the challenges of Covid-19. She has offered to deliver medication and food to people who are shielding and can’t get out, even if this means doing it in her free time. Nothing is a bother to her.”
Rachel, who has been unable to sit her final exams due to Covid-19, said: “I have always been passionate about helping animals and being part of the first line of care. Veterinary nursing is so rewarding and being able to nurse a patient back to full health and return it to its family is an amazing feeling.
“I have really enjoyed being in practice and feeling part of a very close team as well as learning something new every day to further my knowledge and help each and every patient.”
The results of the 2020 BVNA Council elections have been announced.
This year's election saw six new full Council members and one new student council member added to the BVNA Council. A total of 14 candidates stood for full membership, and the following members were elected:
- Lyndsay Hughes
- Charlotte Pace
- Lacey Pitcher
- Laura Richards
- Laura Rosewell
- Craig Tessyman
“2020 continues to be a year of curveballs and resulted in an interesting conundrum for our council elections,” commented BVNA president Jo Hinde. “For the first time in BVNA history, there was a tie for the final council seat!
“On Sat 11 July, during the main council meeting, the full council were presented with the Anonymized manifestos of the two tied candidates and each council member voted for their preferred candidate. This was an unprecedented situation for us and I’m very pleased that we were able to resolve the issue in a fair and timely manner.
She continued: “I would like to thank all of the 296 members for taking the time to vote and I am very much looking forward to meeting our newly elected council members soon.”
Katie Spackman, head of membership and events at BVNA added: “We’re delighted to see the number of nominations for the 2020 elections increase by 100 per cent from last year. During the online event ‘Meet the Candidates’ I was really impressed by the professionalism and the passion of each candidate and of the content of their manifestos.
“I look forward to working with the new council members to continue to build our reputation as the Voice of Veterinary Nursing.”
Matthew Rendle and Belinda Andrews-Jones will take up their places at this year’s RCVS Annual General Meeting.
The RCVS has announced that Matthew Rendle RVN will be the next chair of VN Council, becoming the first male veterinary nurse to hold the position.
Matthew was selected by his peers at a meeting of VN Council on Wednesday (17 June) and will be responsible for decisions relating to the regulation, education and registration of veterinary nurses. He will be joined by Belinda Andrews-Jones RVN who was elected as vice-chair of VN Council.
Commenting on his appointment, 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.”
Belinda added: “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.”
A veterinary nurse since 1989, Matthew's career has focussed on caring for exotic animals, particularly in the zoo setting. He delivers lectures at the Royal Veterinary College 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.
As chair of VN Council, Matthew will also welcome new veterinary nurses to the Register and take them through their professional oaths, represent the RCVS and the veterinary nursing profession at various events and act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the profession.
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.
The BVNA has announced a packed weekend of online activities to celebrate the organisation and the veterinary nursing profession as a whole.
'This is Us 2020' kicks off at lunchtime on Friday 9 October and features an exciting line-up of keynote speakers, special guests and interviews with key industry influencers. There will also be a special BVNA awards evening and delegates can participate in 'live' interactive workshops, quizzes, competitions and games.
The news follows the announcement that the 47th BVNA Congress will not be taking place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of BVNA members will be invited to attend for free, along with delegates from the wider veterinary community both in the UK and Internationally.
“I am so thrilled that we are providing an online event which invites all veterinary professionals to join us in celebrating the veterinary nursing profession,” commented BVA president Jo Hinde. “This unique weekend will be packed full of inspiration and fun – just what we need to lift our spirits during these difficult times.
“I know just how important our normal Congress is for the BVNA ‘family’ to get together with old friends and new and I really wanted to try to capture this party spirit to go hand in hand with providing some excellent interactive CPD, the chance to hear from some of our industries most revered individuals and of course the glittering Awards Night where we will be highlighting an array of amazing individuals that go above and beyond. So make sure you pop the date in your diary and I look forward to seeing you there!”
BVNA This Is Us 2020 takes place on 9 – 11 October.
Awarding organisation Central Qualifications has announced that it is preparing to safely resume Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) for veterinary nurses from the middle of July.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, and like all veterinary nurse educators, CQ had to stop running examinations in March.
In a press release, the Organisation said that it has since ‘invested heavily’ in making its Suffolk examination centre ‘as COVID-19 secure as possible’ by carrying out a full risk assessment and changing the layout of its environment.
The Ofqual-approved body added that it has already been in touch with centres whose candidates had an OSCE cancelled in March, giving them first refusal on the first OSCE taking place in Mid-July.
“We are pleased to announce that we have been able to create a safe and secure environment at our examination centre in Suffolk which takes into account social distancing and the health and welfare of candidates, examiners and the quality assurance team,” commented CQ director, Jacqui Garrett.
“We have looked into the aspect of providing OSCEs in a secure way that minimises contact and ensures that social distancing advice is adhered to. We have refreshed our risk assessment for the OSCE in light of recent government advice, identifying protective measures and ensuring that all health and safety compliance checks are undertaken before the first OSCE session.”
She added: “We are delighted to be offering the first OSCEs in the current climate and to be giving our student veterinary nurses the chance to complete the final steps in their path towards qualification.”
“Every single entry was brilliant and really highlighted just #whatVNsdo!”
The winners of the 16th annual Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM) have been revealed.
VNAM takes place throughout May every year to highlight the importance of the veterinary nurse in practice and the provision of responsible pet ownership to the public.
Owing to COVID-19, this year's event took place virtually. Normally veterinary nurses create displays in their reception areas and go out into their communities to explain what their job entails.
This year, participants were asked to design a poster 'showing the role of the veterinary nurse' and to record a short educational video that helps pet owners care for their pets. The public was also asked to get involved by taking a picture of their pet and completing the sentence “I love my vet nurse because...”
All of the winning posters, comments and photos are live on the BVNA website and VNAM Facebook page. The educational videos can also be viewed on the BVNA's YouTube channel.
“We have had a huge amount of entries into this year’s competitions and all have been to a very high standard. It has been a pleasure, as always, to lead the judging panel and announce this year’s fabulous winners and runners up,” said BVNA president Jo Hinde.
“I am exceptionally pleased with how well veterinary nurses have embraced the 'digital poster' competition and every single entry was brilliant and really highlighted just #whatVNsdo! The response to our information video category was equally as good and have helped provide a wide range of factual, informative and engaging top tips to pet owners around the world.
“But the most popular category by far was the owner’s competition. We had over 130 entries from dedicated pet owners who wanted to express their thanks to their Veterinary Nurse for caring for their pets.
“It’s heart-warming to read all the entries and see just how much impact Vet Nurses can have on both the pet and owner’s welfare. Thank you all for taking part and helping to make #VNAM2020 a huge success.”
The British Veterinary Association (BVNA) has announced that the 47th BVNA Congress will not be taking place this year.
The announcement follows concerns raised in recent weeks by BVNA members, exhibitors and speakers about health and safety if they attended the event. Other said that their employers were not allowing them to travel to external events until after Christmas.
In a statement posted on its website, BVNA said that the final decision was founded on uncertainty facing large-scale events due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, as well as the health risks to BVNA members, speakers, staff and public.
But it is not all bad news. Congress organisers are planning a virtual event in celebration of both the BVNA and the veterinary nursing profession! More details are expected to be announced soon, but the programme is already set to include first-class keynote speakers, interactive workshops, live interviews, virtual networking and event social quizzes.
“This is the first time that the BVNA have not been able to hold our congress and it was an exceptionally sad decision to have to make, however, it is vital that we play our part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and put public safety first,” commented BVNA president, Jo Hinde.
“However, we cannot let the occasion pass without marking it hence offering a weekend that celebrates all things vet nurse! Our congress has always been about more than just high-quality CPD; it’s where the BVNA family get together with friends – old and new.”
She continued: “We understand just how isolated and exhausted the veterinary community are feeling right now, and how this has negatively affected individual’s mental health. As such, we want to provide an online space to facilitate those catch-ups, hear from inspiring speakers and most of all…have fun!
“I am very excited about the new event and hope vet nurses and the wider veterinary community can join us for what promises to be a fabulous time."