Nursing – Veterinary Community


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RVN raises money for Macmillan with sponsored walk

RVN raises money for Macmillan with sponsored walk

Nicola Tooth is walking 100km over November with her dog Nelson.  

Nicola Tooth, an RVN from Cave Veterinary Specialists, has undertaken a challenge to walk 100 kilometres with her dog over the month of November.

Along with her chocolate Labrador Nelson, Nicola is taking part in a walking challenge organised by UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

Nicola commented on the challenge: “I have a close relative who has survived breast cancer and I feel strongly about supporting the ongoing research to fight this terrible disease. 

“I do love outdoor walking and as long as we can manage at least 3.3k per day, we will be right on target to complete it in the 30 days. I’m pretty confident as that’s the sort of daily distance I normally do with Nelson.”

The challenge is even more difficult for Nicola, who has mild undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy of the spine, which is a form of arthritis which affects the vertebrae. 

“The challenge is to walk 100km with your dog in November and that suits both me and Nelson. Because of my spinal disease I am unable to do any hardcore exercise so this is an ideal challenge for me, something that was little and often throughout November,” Nicola said. 

“Nelson’s only seven months old so little and often exercise is perfect for him too because he’s still developing.”

Claire Lawrence, Cave's hospital director, added: “Everyone at Cave is super proud of Nicola and Nelson for undertaking this challenge for such a worthy cause.”

Donations to support Nicola's fundraiser can be made here

BVNA formally welcomes new president

BVNA formally welcomes new president

Alex Taylor RVN will lead the organisation for 2021/22.

Outgoing BVNA president Jo Oakden RVN handed over the reins to Alex Taylor RVN on Monday (4 October) at the BVNA Congress in Telford.
Speaking at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting, Jo reflected on her time as president, and outlined some of the various projects the BVNA has been working on throughout COVID-19.
In her outgoing speech, she said: “What a year it has been. It’s not been short of challenges, but I feel very proud to have been president of the BVNA. It’s not quite the year I expected when I became junior vice president in 2019, but it has not been a year wasted.
 “We’ve been involved in significant movements this last year, including the Legislation Working Party, the wrap up of the first part of the VN Futures Project, and building relationships with Defra and other stakeholders.

She added: "We’ve also got our new website up and running and the members portal, making, BVNA accessible to all of its members. We are, as quoting from our 2019 AGM, standing taller.”
Jo is stepping aside to become senior vice president and will be supported by Charlotte Pace RVN as junior vice president. 

"We need to get better at looking after ourselves"

Following the handover of the Chain of Office, incoming president Alex Taylor delivered her welcoming address in which she praised the profession for its hard work and dedication throughout the pandemic. 
 “There’s no denying it has been a difficult time for all of us when many of us have faced both personal and professional struggles like never before," she said. "And while we are hopefully over the worst of the pandemic, it has changed us all forever.
 “The camaraderie, kindness and support shown not only by work colleagues but by fellow veterinary professionals everywhere, has helped give me the strength I needed to know, that this is still indeed an amazing profession, full of the most caring, determined and professional people you will ever meet.”
Alex announced that her theme for her upcoming presidential year will be ‘building resilience’ and highlighted the importance of self-care and putting your own needs first to be happier, healthier and more productive in the workplace. 
“We as a profession need to get better at looking after ourselves, and never has this been more apparent than in the last 18 months,” she said. “As veterinary nurses, we are caring by nature, and we almost instinctively put the needs of our patients and others before our own. 

“Whilst this is admirable, it’s not always the right thing to do. It may sound like a cliché, but you really cannot pour from an empty cup. We must get better at looking after ourselves if we want a more healthy, productive and sustainable workforce.
 “Please be assured that the BVNA will be doing its best over the next 12 months to ensure that our members are given the knowledge and tools that they need to become more resilient, look after themselves, and succeed both as individuals and professionals.”
Alex concluded the AGM by announcing her chosen charity of the year as International Cat Care. 

BVNA Award winners revealed at Congress

BVNA Award winners revealed at Congress

The awards ceremony took place at the Congress Dinner Dance.

The winners for the BVNA Awards were announced at the BVNA Congress 2021 Dinner Dance on Saturday (2 October).

Jo Oakden, BVNA president, commented on the event: “What an awards ceremony we had at the BVNA Dinner Dance 2021. It was incredible to share some of the finalists videos - they were full of passion and inspiration.”

BVNA Impact Award
The BVNA Impact Award, given to a veterinary nurse who has gone above and beyond to support and teach others in practice, was awarded to Kirsty Cavill.

The award celebrates a veterinary nurse who has encouraged positive change, discussions or improved clinical standards. The recipient also must be a positive role model or influence in veterinary nursing to both the public and profession. 

VNJ Writer of the Year Award
Aneesa Malik was given the VNJ Writer of the Year Award, for articles which encouraged discussions, positive change or an improvement of clinical standards in practice.

Inspiring Environmental Change Award
The Inspiring Environmental Change Award is given to a veterinary nurse who is a 'green champion' for the profession, someone who has demonstrated commitment to helping the environment, both in or out of practice.

This award was presented to Sarah Coton.

#Supportmesupportyou Award
Flick Caldwell was presented with the #Supportmesupportyou Award, which celebrates a veterinary nurse who has paved the way for promoting mental health support and equality within the profession.

Jo congratulated the nominees and expressed her pride in the evening: “Congratulations to all of our nominees for the BVNA Awards, it really was truly a demonstration of veterinary nurses championing veterinary nurses.

“But an even bigger congratulations to our Awards Winners, for the BVNA Awards, but also the Hills Awards and the Blue Cross Vet Nurse of the year award. Be proud, I really am - to be part of such an amazing profession that has an amazing supportive community. Well done all!”

Knowing your worth as a veterinary nurse

Knowing your worth as a veterinary nurse

Fiona Andrew shares tips for cultivating a growth mindset at BVNA Congress.

Human sustainability is defined as 'the development of skills and human capacity to support the functions of an organisation'. So how can RVNs personally incorporate these concepts into their own lives and encourage others to do the same?

Speaking in the economic stream at BVNA Congress on Sunday (3 October), Fiona Andrew RVN discussed the importance of knowing your worth as a veterinary nurse and shared some tips for cultivating a growth mindset. Her take-home message was that, in order to create a successful, satisfying and sustainable career, the change must come from within.

Fiona began by looking at some of the famous models of motivation - including Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg's 'motivator and hygiene' theory - and how these models can be applied in the context of veterinary nursing. According to Maslow, humans need to meet their basic needs first (water, food, shelter, sleep) before they can even begin to think about psychological needs, such as relationships or career development.

One way veterinary nurses can help take care of their fundamental needs, said Fiona, is to use the HALT anagram. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired and acts as a timely reminder to take a break, eat something, chat to someone, or simply just switch off for a few moments before being pushed to breaking point. “The person that needs to take care of your basic needs is you,” she said. “As RVNs, we need to meet our basic human needs in order to be sustainable”.

Fiona then discussed the issue of asking for better remuneration and shared some helpful hints and tips for those who may not feel confident in asking for more money. Her main tips were to come well prepared to the meeting with facts and figures, to thank the person you're asking for their time, to do it at the right time, and to base the request on you and you alone. If this doesn't work, ask what you do need to do to get a better salary, ask for a development review and finally, when that review will take place.

Fiona also touched on some of the things that can make individuals feel more developed as RVNs, such as the practice having a clear career pathway. Having a framework in place that provides a clear progression route for veterinary nursing team members has benefits not just for wellbeing, but can also aid concerns surrounding recruitment and retention.

Fiona concluded her lecture by calling on veterinary nurses to challenge their thinking, and to consider how to integrate reflective practice into daily practice life, adding: “there is a fantastic industry out there for veterinary nurses, and never has there been a better time to develop your career!”

RVN gives talk on overseas work

RVN gives talk on overseas work

RVN gives talk on overseas work

Michaela Vinales discussed her time in South Africa at BVNA Congress.

Veterinary nurse Michaela Vinales gave delegates an inspiring talk on her time working as an RVN overseas on day two of the BVNA Congress (3 October) in Telford.

In a bid to encourage other veterinary nurses to take advantage of overseas opportunities, Michaela spoke about her time with Vets Go Wild in South Africa, and later, the three month internship she took there.

Initially introduced to working in South Africa through the Vets Go Wild scheme, Michaela was the only student veterinary nurse on her team, with everyone else being student veterinary surgeons, which she described as 'scary.' She commented: “This actually worked in my favour - us nurses are more practical than vets, so when I went out there, I knew a lot more than they did!”

As she explained, over the course of her time with Vets Go Wild, Michaela spent time dehorning rhinos, relocating animals, doing wound management, changing tracking collars, dissection work, and marine days.

After her time in South Africa, Michaela knew she wanted to return, but there were no opportunities for veterinary nurse internships. Eventually though, it was agreed that she could be the first veterinary nurse on the internship scheme she wanted to do, and in the summer she flew back out to start work.

Michaela shared anecdotes of her time doing the internship in South Africa, beginning by introducing delegates to Sausage, a sable antelope calf, who Michaela and her team hand reared.

Sausage was found alone at three weeks old, anorexic and covered in ticks – which had led her to become anaemic. Despite a long and intense recovery, Sausage pulled through, and went on to live at the reserve as a pet. 

Michaela also shared anecdotes of her work both with wild animals and doing domestic clinic work, highlighting the many differences in resources between the UK and South Africa. With a particularly harrowing explanation of her work with rhinos who had been killed or injured for poaching. 

Whilst doing the internship, Michaela undertook a project on ticks and tick borne diseases, and created valuable research which veterinary professionals in the area still use every day. 

After leaving the internship Michaela worked alongside a veterinary surgeon she had met during her placement, who had noticed her confidence, to set up a practice, which Michaela is now head nurse and practice manager at. She explained that ultimately, her time working overseas had given her the confidence to achieve her many accomplishments.

“My time in Africa gave me the confidence to become a head nurse and practice manager at 24.”

After discussing her time in South Africa, Michaela mentioned that she would like to go overseas again and work as an RVN in other countries, and encouraged delegates to “just do it” and undertake a similar opportunity if given the chance. 


Discussing the future of veterinary nursing

Discussing the future of veterinary nursing

Delegates review the outcomes of the VN Futures Interim report at BVNA Congress.

The VN Futures Board hosted a Fringe Event on Saturday (2 October) at the BVNA Congress in Telford to showcase the achievements of the project so far and to explore how far the VN Profession has already come.

VN Futures is a joint RCVS and BVNA project resulting from the Veterinary Futures Initiative. The project aims to encourage more people to join the profession, enhance the role of the veterinary nurse and offer more opportunities for career progression. 

It comes after the RCVS announced the publication of the VN Futures Interim Report 2021, which provides an overview of the project's achievements over the past five years and a summary of its initiatives.

Attended by delegates both in-person and online (via live stream), the Fringe Event took the form of a general discussion, with delegates given the chance to talk in small groups about the outcomes of the report and how their career has progressed since they graduated. 

On hand to talk to delegates were Jill Macdonald (VN Futures project manager), Alex Taylor (incoming BVNA president), Charlotte Pace (incoming BVNA junior vice president), Belinda Andrews-Jones (VN Council member), and Matthew Rendle (chair of VN Council). 

The range of topics and questions discussed included -

  • How can veterinary nurses encourage vets to delegate more?
  • What part of your training prepared you best for the role?
  • How can veterinary nurses raise public awareness of the VN role?
  • What environmental policies has your practice implemented, and what else can you do?
On raising awareness of the role of the VN, Matthew stressed that wearing a name badge and introducing yourself to clients as a veterinary nurse is key. Some delegates highlighted the importance of charging for a veterinary nurse's time (i.e. not running free nurse clinics) and marking this on the invoice as 'professional nurse time' to show that an RVN has provided treatment to a pet.

Some delegates felt that the image of the veterinary profession has been somewhat tarnished by reports in mainstream media, with one nurse stating 'the image of the profession is not in a good place publicly, let alone in the nursing profession.' 

How RVNs are depicted on practice websites and television can also be part of the problem, said another delegate. With the public only seeing images of vet nurses holding cute, fluffy animals and not monitoring anaesthetic or getting a blood sample, for example.

On environmental policies, one group of delegates said their practice had introduced recycling bins and signs to show what items can and cannot be recycled. Creating wildlife-friendly areas outside the practice, switching lights off when leaving rooms and having a dedicated PPE waste bin (so that PPE gets incinerated rather than ending up in landfill) were also mentioned.

Other points raised concerned the availability of eductaional handouts and ensuring that information is made available to clients online rather than in the traditional pamphlet form. One delegate raised the idea of putting a small team in charge of environmental policies at your practice, while another suggested schemes such as Terracycle to recycle PPE.

The session is the first of two VN Futures Fringe events happening at the BVNA Congress this weekend. On Sunday (3 October), delegates will convene again to discuss future projects for veterinary nursing and where efforts should be focussed. 

Finalists revealed for 2021 BVNA Awards

Finalists revealed for 2021 BVNA Awards

“Let’s shout about how great Veterinary Nurses are” - Jo Oakden, BVNA president. 

The BVNA has announced the 11 finalists for its 2021 BVNA Awards, with the winners to be revealed during the Association's annual congress on Saturday (2 October).

The BVNA Impact Award

The BVNA Impact Award is bestowed to a veterinary nurse who goes the extra mile to support and teach others in practice. It honours an individual who has been a force for positive change, encouraged discussions or improved clinical standards or has been a positive role model to the public and the profession.
The three finalists are Kirsty Cavill, Robyn Lowe and Natalie Fisk.

VNJ Writer of the Year Award 

This award recognises articles that have encouraged discussions, positive change or improved clinical standards in practice. 

The two finalists of this award are Aneesa Malik and Emma Foreman.

Inspiring Environmental Change

This award is for a veterinary nurse who is a green champion for the veterinary profession, either inside or outside of practice, and who can demonstrate what they have accomplished as a ‘green champion.' 

The three finalists are Sarah Coton, Kirsty Shepherd and Declan Jones.

#Supportmesupportyou Award

This award recognises an inspiring veterinary nurse who has paved the way for promoting mental health support and equality within the profession.

The three finalists are Flick Caldwell, Maisie Jeanes and Claire Lackenby.

"A boost needed in such a tough year"

“This is the second year of our new BVNA Awards,” commented BVNA President, Jo Oakden. “We had so many fantastic nominations last year, it really was a boost needed in such a tough year. 

“Following last year’s success, I am so excited to see the nominations for the four categories this year. We don't get many opportunities to shout about the amazing and inspiring work individuals do, but it makes such a big impact to give that individual recognition. Let’s shout about how great Veterinary Nurses are.”

VN Futures Interim Report published

VN Futures Interim Report published

Report outlines key achievements of the first five years of the project.

The RCVS has announced the publication of the VN Futures Interim Report 2021, which provides an overview of the project's achievements over the past five years and a summary of its initiatives.

Launched in 2016, VN Futures is a joint RCVS and BVNA project resulting from the Veterinary Futures Initiative. The project aims to highlight veterinary nursing as a career, encourage more people to join the profession, enhance the role of the veterinary nurse and offer more opportunities for career progression. 

This launch of the VN Futures Interim Report marks the culmination of the initial five-year phase of the project and makes several recommendations to continue the positive steps already taken to improve the profession.

Director of veterinary nursing, Julie Dugmore, commented: “This is just the first step of the project, and we will be developing a number of new projects over the coming months and years to support this incredible profession that I’m proud to be a part of.

“We would like to thank everyone who has been involved with the VN Futures project, from the initial VN Futures Action Group and the various VN Futures Working Groups to those individuals who have directly contributed content. We couldn’t have achieved as much as we have without your support. Thank you for all the time, expertise and enthusiasm you have given to the work of the project over the past five years”.

Key achievements

One activity delivered as a result of the VN Futures Project was the introduction of a School Ambassadors Development Programme. 

Launched in 2019 following feedback that many RVNs did not learn about the profession at school, the Schools programme aims to get children interested in the profession from an early age. The report outlines how activities like this are vital for ensuring veterinary nursing is a sustainable profession.

The report also covers the outcomes of the VN Futures goal of maximising veterinary nurse potential, creating new routes for post-registration qualifications and supporting the Legislative Working Party (LWP) proposed changes to introduce protections for the VN role.

The project found that many veterinary nurses were interested in meaningful career development and wanted to develop their skills in certain areas but did not always feel these were available. 

VN Futures addressed this by developing the framework for the new Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing in 2019, giving veterinary nurses the chance to study for a post-registration qualification at Level 6 or Level 7 in the discipline of their choice. 

Ideas for development

Another area highlighted by the report is the need to attract a diverse workforce. It states that 'incorporating as many different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives as possible into the profession can only benefit the team, pet owners and animal welfare.’ 

Among the ideas developed to address this include the launch of the Chronic Illness Campaign and the development of a dedicated group aimed at increasing diversity in the profession. 

Financial remunerations, lack of progression and the struggle to maintain a good work/life balance are just some of the challenges for the VN profession highlighted by the report.

"The culmination of years of hard work"

VN Futures project coordinator, Jill Macdonald, commented: “The VN Futures Interim Report is being released during a significant year for the profession. As well as celebrating the past achievements of the profession during our Diamond Jubilee celebrations, this year has shown us that we also have a lot to look forward to, as we reached 20,000 VNs on the Register and the first VN Practice Standards Scheme Assessor, Renay Rickard, was appointed. 

“The report is a culmination of years of hard work, putting in place measures to champion the veterinary nursing profession and safeguard it for the future. Through the introduction of initiatives like the School Ambassador Development Programme and the introduction of the CertAVN, to name but a few, we have put in place steps to inspire the next generation of veterinary nurses and support the training and development of people currently working in the profession."

Newly-qualified VNs to be welcomed virtually

Newly-qualified VNs to be welcomed virtually

The VNs will be formally welcomed at the RCVS VN Evening. 

Newly-qualified veterinary nurses will be welcomed to the profession at the RCVS VN Evening - taking place virtually this year.

Happening online on Thursday 21 October, the RCVS will formally welcome newly-qualified veterinary nurses to the profession, where attendees will take their professional declaration. 

Attendees will also listen to speeches from the Chair of VN Council, Matthew Rendle, and RCVS president Kate Richards. They will also hear more about the upcoming activities of the VN Futures initiative. 

Speaking on the virtual nature of the event this year, RCVS director of veterinary nursing, Julie Dugmore, commented: “We took the decision to make this VN Evening virtual, which is a choice we didn’t make lightly as we know how much attendees enjoy meeting other veterinary nurses from across the country in person. 

“However, we feel confident that this is the safest and most accessible format for the event, and attendees can be assured that the upcoming VN Evening will be as special and uplifting as always."

Alongside welcoming attendees, Matthew Rendle will be delivering the keynote speech of the event, discussing his career in exotic wildlife nursing. 

He will also discuss the changes to the profession since he qualified – including the new 2021 changes; the profession's Diamond Jubilee, the first year of 20,000 registered VNs, and the first VN appointed as a Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) Assessor. 

Julie Dugmore added: “VN Evening is always a highlight for my team and the wider veterinary nursing community, and we are really looking forward to welcoming the newly-qualified veterinary nurses to the profession. 

“This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of veterinary nursing, in a very special landmark year for the profession.” 

All veterinary nurses eligible to attend will be sent a link in an email to register for the event. Further details can be requested via email at and all members of the profession are invited to attend. 

Nominations open for Blue Cross vet nurse award

Nominations open for Blue Cross vet nurse award

The charity is searching for 2021's 'top veterinary nurse'. 

Do you know a veterinary nurse who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to care for pet and pet owners this year?

Nominations have opened for the Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse of the Year Award 2021, and all are encouraged to nominate their top veterinary nurse of the year. 

Blue Cross pet charity is asking animal lovers, pet owners and veterinary teams across the UK to consider nominating a veterinary nurse for the award. 

Recognising the dedication of veterinary nurses, and the support they give to both their veterinary teams, and to pets and pet owners, the award is given to a veterinary nurse who goes above and beyond to encourage responsible pet ownership and improve pet welfare in their community.

Blue Cross director of veterinary clinical services, David Catlow, said: “The veterinary profession faced difficult times for much of the past couple of years but vet nurses strove on to provide their usual professionalism, compassion and special care for pets and their owners. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to recognise their invaluable work and the incredible reassurances and support they offer pet owners and how they are dedicated to helping the welfare of the nation’s pets in their communities.”

The most recent winner of the Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse of the Year Award was Chloe Mackintosh, a veterinary nurse working at the RSPCA in Harmsworth, North London. Chloe was nominated for the award for her passion for and commitment to animal welfare. 

The award will be presented at the BVNA Congress, held in Telford on Saturday 2 October 2021. 

Nominations close on Monday 20 September 2021, and entries can be made via the nomination form on the Blue Cross website here

New officer team approved for BVNA

New officer team approved for BVNA

Alex Taylor RVN heads up the new officer team as president.

The BVNA Council has approved its new officer team for 2021/22.

Following a BVNA Council meeting on 10 July, the Council voted to approve the officer positions.

Alex Taylor RVN will take over Jo Oakden's role as BVNA president, and Jo Oakden RVN will then take over the role of senior vice president.

Charlotte Pace RVN will step into the role of junior vice president, while Lyndsay Hughes RVN and Craig Tessyman RVN will step into the roles of honorary secretary and honorary treasurer respectively.

Commenting on the new officer team, current BVNA president Jo Oakden said: “A BVNA Officer role is a busy role and requires extra time commitment to BVNA Council, it is where decisions with a shorter turn-around are made. I am hugely grateful to those officers who gave their time for this year, supporting me as president.

“I look forward to welcoming Charlotte, Lyndsay and Craig into their new roles, and working with them as I enter my Senior Vice President year.

“It is not long now until I hand over the BVNA Presidential reins to Alex Taylor, who will be a fantastic president, and has achieved a huge project in her JVP year with the chronic illness campaign. I look forward to supporting her in the presidential role in the upcoming year.”

The new officer team will be formally confirmed in the AGM at the 2021 BVNA Congress, which will run from 2 – 4 October at the Telford International Centre. 

Tickets for the Congress are available here

Vet nurse awarded 2021 Louise O'Dwyer Scholarship

Vet nurse awarded 2021 Louise O'Dwyer Scholarship

Jennifer Busby has been granted a free place on Improve International’s Nurse Certificate ECC programme.

The 2021 recipient of the Louise O’Dwyer Vet Nurse Scholarship, organised by vet CPD provider Improve International, has been announced as Jennifer Busby RVN.

Jennifer, an anaesthesia nurse at Dick White Referrals in Newmarket, has been awarded a free place on Improve International's Nurse certificate in Emergency and Critical Care (Ncert ECC) programme.

Louise O’Dwyer was a world-renowned and highly respected ECC veterinary nurse who sadly died in 2019. Louise lectured on Improve Internationals’ Ncert ECC programme, but also its other nursing courses and congresses across the globe. 

Commenting on her achievement, Jennifer Busby said: “I am thrilled and shocked to have been selected as the winner of the Louise O'Dwyer legacy scholarship.

“Louise has been a massive inspiration and role model to me throughout my career. When I started veterinary nursing, a lecture of hers was one of the first I attended and I felt empowered through her passion and knowledge to further my own career in a similar way. 

She continued: “I have been lucky enough to be able to follow my interests in veterinary nursing anaesthesia but have always had a passion for ECC. Receiving this scholarship will enable me to further my interest and training in this field. I want to thank her family, together with Improve International, for this amazing opportunity.”

Dr Charlotte French, head of curriculum and quality and UK country manager for Improve International, said: “We wanted to do something special to remember Louise O’Dwyer, who was such a talented and well-respected speaker on this course and within the profession. 

“This annual scholarship in her name enables a veterinary nurse, technician or paraprofessional the opportunity of a sponsored place on our NCert ECC Programme. We would like to thank Louise’s family for assisting us in selecting someone whom they feel she would have considered would truly benefit from this postgraduate training and qualification.”

BVNA launches hybrid congress 2021

BVNA launches hybrid congress 2021

Association is looking forward to welcoming veterinary nurses in-person and online.

Following Government announcements on the easing of all lockdown restrictions, the BVNA has revealed that its 2021 Congress will be going ahead as a hybrid event for the first time.

Taking place 2-4 October at the Telford International Centre, Shropshire, the Association says that it is looking forward to welcoming veterinary nurses both in-person and online.

Building on the success of its online This is Us 2020 event, which attracted more than 1,000 attendees, BVNA Congress 2021 will be live-streamed over the three days - including the keynote speakers, some of the fringe events and even a pub quiz night. 

The BVNA stresses that the health and safety of all delegates and attendees have been an integral part of the planning for the Congress, with COVID measures and the venue standards being in place.

Tickets have almost sold out for exhibition stands and organisers have already sold many day tickets. The event will see interactive and facilitated seminars, lectures and practical workshops.

Among the social events will include keep-fit and belly dancing sessions, plus speed networking to get to know new people and make new friends. Keynote speakers include Kate Humble, Ellie West and Megan Brashear and Professor Jane Hurst.

Delegates accessing the event from home can do so via the digital Congress Guide.

BVNA president Jo Oakden said: “We are really looking forward to getting back to a face to face event – it is long overdue. We need that opportunity to get together with our peers outside of day to day work and have a little fun whilst learning!

“BVNA has always appreciated and understood the ‘family’ feel of its congress, and we learnt a lot hosting an online event last year; understanding the fact that not everyone will be able to attend in person, we wanted to bridge that exclusivity of having to attend in person by creating this fantastic hybrid event.”

She added: “Our learning streams are packed, and what’s best is you don’t have to choose between one or the other as they are all being recorded, so you can choose what you attend live and what you catch up on later. We’ll hopefully see some of you at the amazing social events on Saturday and Sunday evening, where we will see our awards winners and get a chance to have some fun (and maybe a bit of dancing…)!”

BVNA CEO, Huw Jones, added: “We are delighted to launch our first hybrid Congress, building on the success of our previous events that brings the veterinary nursing community together and now reaching out to remote delegates nationally and internationally.

“We have a full and exciting programme that can be viewed in our Digital Congress Guide which combines learning, information and networking. The event proves an ideal opportunity to meet other veterinary nurses in a relaxed and friendly environment, and even have some fun.”

For more information about BVNA Congress and to book tickets, visit

BVNA launches campaign on chronic illness and conditions

BVNA launches campaign on chronic illness and conditions

The campaign aims to help improve working environments for affected VNs.

On 1 August 2021 the BVNA will launch its Chronic Illness Campaign (CIC), which intends to foster a better working environment for and understanding of veterinary nurses suffering from chronic illnesses and conditions.

The CIC comes after a BVNA survey found that 93 per cent of veterinary nurses with chronic illnesses and conditions feel guilty about not being able to carry out their role fully, making them less likely to take the necessary time off.

Also found by the survey was the fact that 83 per cent of veterinary nurses with chronic illnesses and conditions said that their work place does not have support protocols for them. 

Of the veterinary nurses with chronic illnesses and conditions, only 52 per cent felt supported by colleagues when needed, and only 40 per cent felt that their line manager had been helpful in situations where support was necessary. 

For the CIC, the BVNA is releasing podcasts, online information, and VNJ articles, alongside four free to attend webinars, which will take place over August and September.

Topics for the webinars are as follows; 'A VN Listening Group – a webinar to share the tools we use to help us live with chronic illness', taking place on 10 August, and 'Resilience for life with a chronic illness or condition', taking place on 19 August.

The other two webinar topics are 'Chronic illness and communicating what you need', scheduled to take place on 14 September, and 'Chronic illness, VNs and the Equality Act at Work', on 21 September. All webinars are scheduled to begin at 7.30pm on the allotted days.

Alex Taylor, who is the junior vice president of the BVNA, spearheads the campaign. She commented: “This campaign means a great deal to myself and the rest of the Council Members who are part of the BVNA chronic illness campaign task and finish group. 

“Every one of us has had to deal with our own challenges as working as a veterinary nurse with a chronic illness or condition - we know how it feels and we want to help and make a real difference to people’s lives.

“As well as offering support to affected nurses, we also wanted to reach out to their colleagues, line managers and employers. We felt that having empathetic, supportive and well-informed colleagues is a key part of helping those affected by chronic illness to thrive in the workplace.”

Nominations open for BVNA Awards 2021

Nominations open for BVNA Awards 2021

The BVNA is encouraging people to nominate and celebrate VNs.  

The 2021 BVNA Awards are now open for nominations, with the organisation urging people to get involved and celebrate veterinary nurses.

Jo Oakden, BVNA president, said about the awards: "We don't get many opportunities to shout about the amazing and inspiring work individuals do, but it makes such a big impact to give that individual recognition.

"So please take five minutes of your time to have a look at the categories and nominate someone that you feel deserves to be recognised. Let’s shout about how great veterinary nurses are.”

The award categories for this year are VNJ Writer of the Year Award, an award category celebrating veterinary nurses who have written inspiring articles, and the BVNA Impact Award, which celebrates those who teach and support in practice.

Also being awarded are the Inspiring Environmental Change Award, given to a veterinary nurse who champions environmentally friendly approaches to the profession, and the #SupportMeSupportYou Award, which celebrates the veterinary nurses who have promoted mental health and wellbeing support within the profession.

“This is the second year of our new BVNA Awards. We had so many fantastic nominations last year, it really was a boost needed in such a tough year. Following last years success, I am so excited to see the nominations for the 4 categories this year,” Jo Oakden added. 

Three finalists in each category will be invited to Congress on Saturday, 2 October, and will attend the Dinner Dance and Awards Ceremony.

Nominations close at noon on 31 August 2021, and can be made at

RCVS celebrates 60 years of veterinary nursing

RCVS celebrates 60 years of veterinary nursing

Series of VN Diamond Jubilee events, including podcasts and webinars, get underway.

This year marks 60 years since the launch of the first RCVS-accredited Animal Nursing Auxiliary training scheme, and the profession has come a long way in that time.

To celebrate the occasion, the RCVS is hosting a series of Diamond Jubilee events, including a webinar series, podcasts and an eBook looking at the history of veterinary nursing (VN). 

Not only that, but the RCVS is also celebrating a milestone, reaching 20,000 veterinary nurses on the Veterinary Nurses Register. 

VN Council chair Matthew Rendle said: “The veterinary nursing Diamond Jubilee celebrations are a fitting way of paying tribute to veterinary nursing – a profession that does so much for animal health and welfare.

“The celebrations will look back on all that has been achieved by the profession and give us an opportunity to engage with RVNs to come up with ideas for how we can continue to advance and develop our amazing profession.”

To pay tribute to those who have influenced veterinary nursing over the years, the celebrations will include a series of webinars covering the past, present and future of the profession. 

Among these will include a webinar exploring the highlights of the last ten years of veterinary nursing, hosted by VN Council member Jane Davidson, and a look at what career development opportunities have been made available for veterinary nurses hosted by Liz Cox, former chair of VN Council.

The celebrations will culminate in September with the launch of an eBook exploring all aspects of veterinary nursing, from the launch of the Animal Nursing Auxiliary training scheme to the new Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

Commenting on reaching the milestone of 20,000 VNs on the Register, Matthew added: “When the VN Register was launched in 2007 there were just over 7,000 members of our profession – the fact we have almost trebled in number since then shows just how far we have come in a short space of time as invaluable members of the veterinary team providing professional care for the nation’s animals.”

More information about the celebrations is available on the RCVS VN Diamond Jubilee webpage. Members of the profession wishing to participate can do so by sharing memories or pictures of veterinary nursing on social media using the hashtag #VNDiamonds