Following the announcement a few weeks ago from BVNA cancelling Congress 2020, today they announced they are organising a completely different event altogether!
BVNA This Is Us 2020 takes place on 9 – 11 October and is a weekend celebration of veterinary nursing and the BVNA. The online event will be inspiring and entertaining with lots of engagement and fun activities for participants.
Starting on Friday lunchtime, the weekend highlights include:
· inspirational keynote speakers
· special guest speakers
· interviews with key industry influencers
· ‘live’ interactive workshops
· BVNA Awards Evening
This celebration will be attended by literally thousands of BVNA members who will be invited to attend for free, as well as delegates from the wider veterinary
Jo Hinde, BVNA President says
“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.
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 we 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.”
BVNA will announce more details over the next few weeks and registration will open early August.
Bringing the world’s veterinary community together for cats!
The ISFM International Feline Congress is the world’s first free virtual feline congress for vets, veterinary nurses and technicians, which will deliver over 30 hours of high quality CPD at no cost to attendees. Registration is open from June 10th, and the Congress begins on Saturday August 8th for 3 days of lectures and interactive events, with the content remaining available on-demand until September 11th.
This online event is the latest in a long stream of innovations from the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), and its parent charity International Cat Care (iCatCare), in distributing high quality information on feline medicine and welfare to as wide an audience as possible. The topics covered have been carefully chosen to represent the current areas of practical interest for veterinary professionals, and span from ethics and behaviour to critical care and pain assessment.
Over sixty years ago, when the charity was founded, an obvious way to push feline medicine forward as a discipline was making the literature available and accessible to those who wanted to learn more. This was done through a physical lending library of papers, which despite the huge amount of labour, was essential in spreading knowledge. As technology has advanced, so too have the ways in which the charity conveys information, and this state-of the art virtual event is testament to its forward-thinking approach.
ISFM is synonymous with high standard CPD. Its events are praised for their subject matter, social atmosphere and value as a networking opportunity for veterinary professionals. Due to COVID 19, the annual European Congress was cancelled, but rather than scrapping the lectures and events that so many people look forward to, the virtual congress has been developed with support from our partners to offer even greater international reach. It’s free to access for ISFM members and non-members alike, and as it’s an online event, those who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to attend an ISFM congress can join with a community of veterinary professionals from across the world who share a commitment to improving cat care.
There will be two separate lecture streams, one for vets and one for veterinary nurses and technicians, alongside several sponsor-led symposiums, live question and answer sessions, and a virtual exhibition hall. In recognition of attendance, CPD certificates will be available to download from the platform.
In the nurse and technician stream, pain assessment and anaesthesia will be covered by Professor Steagall, Associate Professor of Anaesthesia and Analgesia at the University of Montreal. Lisa Moses, Specialist in Internal Medicine at MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center, will discuss behaviour in geriatric cat, and Anne Fawcett, European Specialist in Animal Welfare, Science, Ethics and Law at Sydney University, will look at ethical dilemmas specific to veterinary nurses and technicians. Additionally, there will be two emergency and critical care lectures given by Laura Rosewell and Lindsey Dodd who are Vet Technician Specialists in Internal Medicine and ECC respectively. Alongside theses lectures there will be multiple other speakers covering behaviour, neurology, dentistry, cytology, respiratory medicine, orthopaedics, endocrinology and nutrition, reflecting the diverse and important role of veterinary nurses and technicians in clinics.
It’s thanks to the generosity of our partners, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ceva, Hill’s, Purina, Idexx and Royal Canin, that ISFM can provide this congress entirely for free, and this reflects solidarity with, and support for, the veterinary community in this difficult time which is wholeheartedly supported by ISFM.
See below for links to the congress page where the event programme, speaker information, and instructions for how to register are available.
The International Cat Care vision: A world in which each cat’s life experience will be as good as it can be. This will be because people will better understand cats’ individual needs and perspective, and will feel confident to act in the best interests of each cat and its welfare.
The International Cat Care mission: “To enable people to understand cats’ individual needs and perspective better, so that they can act in the best interests of each cat and its welfare.
For more information, please visit icatcare.org or facebook.com/icatcare
Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) usually undertake 15 hours per year of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to fulfill the requirements of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons [RCVS] register. However, because of Covid-19 RCVS has reduced it to 11 hours this year. It is our responsibility to maintain and develop knowledge and skills that are relevant to our professional practice and competence.
And excitingly, we have found some high-quality free CPD for you to listen to, watch and read - all from the comfort of your home or workplace. The CPD providers cover everything from webinars to podcasts, and also short management and communication skills courses! Check them out below.
The Boehringer Academy
Boehringer Ingelheim has their own online academy that is free and easy to register with. It offers unlimited access to hundreds of hours of webinars, short videos, podcasts, quizzes and quick reference charts and documents.
By registering with the Boehringer Academy, you will have access to all of these educational resources, and it will track the CPD hours you have done and provide you with downloadable CPD certificates. There are also chances to win prizes when you complete CPD!
There is something for everyone no matter what your experience is or interests are, or your role in practice. They cover everything from small animals, equine and farm, as well as veterinary management, executive coaching and wellbeing topics.
Take a look here: www.boehringer-academy.co.uk
The Open University; OpenLearn
OpenLearn is a completely free learning platform which has over 900 short courses that range from studying for 1 hour, up to 100 hours! For those RVNs who are in a management role, or for those who want to step up into a more senior role, there are a number of courses available which can help you understand more about team communication and mentoring.
These are some of the ones we have found for you:
â Exploring career mentoring and coaching - this introductory course is taught over 24 hours and covers; what mentors and career coaches do, understand the skills and characteristics required to be effective in these roles and then how to become a mentor or coach when you’re ready.
â Difference and challenge in teams - this introductory course is taught over only 2 hours and covers; where challenges and differences are within the team, and how to embrace the different individuals in your team to make it benefit and strengthen your business.
â Effective communication in the workplace - this introductory course is taught over 24 hours and covers; how to communicate in the workplace and how to consider how your communication is being perceived by your colleagues. It looks at both verbal and non-verbal communication, different scenarios, and sets you up to reflect your actions and set goals.
You will earn “Statement of Participation” awards and badges which will track your progress and can be uploaded as evidence of learning for CPD or on your CV.
Take a look at all their other courses here: www.open.edu/openlearn
Vet Times CPD
The Vet Times has a webinar platform that offers short courses to everyone in the workplace - veterinary nurses, students, receptionists and also managers. They are given by a number of different industry CPD providers.
Here are some of the free webinars on offer:
â Vets Now provides one hour webinars on “Respiratory emergencies” and “When stress gets too much”
â VBS Direct has a one hour webinar on “Laser Therapy - Setting up Laser Therapy clinics in your Practice” and one on an Introduction to “Regenerative Medicine”, as well as “Premium Animal Supplements”
Take a look at all their webinar courses here, and keyword search “free”: https://cpd.vettimes.co.uk/courses/webinar
So what are you waiting for? With so much on offer, take advantage of all this free CPD now! Don’t forget to record everything you do through the RCVS CPD app or website “1CPD”.
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a 20% decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the UK economy. With the Government and RCVS Covid-19 guidelines advising veterinary practices to provide only emergency or essential medical treatment; the amount of products sold and services usually performed on a daily basis, came to a grinding halt.
As the work stopped and the cash flow decreased, many veterinary practices had to furlough their staff to protect them from being made redundant. Originally, the government furlough scheme was only running until the end of June but it has now been extended to October 2020, and from July you can also return to work part-time while being on furlough.
But how long will it take veterinary practices to get back on their feet again? And this poses the question - can you still be made redundant and what is the process?
Support from the BVNA
Join us for a webinar on Navigating Redundancy on Wednesday 15 July at 7pm. You can register here for free. Email your questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Question for Redundancy webinar.
In the meantime, here is some general information about redundancy.
Can I be made Redundant?
The short answer is yes. At any point during the furlough scheme or even when it ends, employees can be made redundant. Even if employees were not furloughed during Covid-19, they can be made redundant at any time.
If there is a redundancy clause in your contract, then you are entitled to redundancy pay which is calculated on your normal salary. Employees are only entitled to statutory redundancy pay if they have been employed for two or more years.
The Redundancy Process
1. Employees should check their contact to see what the contractual redundancy policy is, as the employer will need to follow this.
2. If your employer is considering making anyone redundant, there needs to be a statement from them explaining their position and informing employees that there is a risk of being made redundant.
3. There needs to be a consultation between the employer and the employees. This may be done individually if the business is quite small, or it might be with Employee Representatives or a Union in a larger business. A ‘reasonable’ time frame should be allowed for this and it will vary - usually if there are 20-99 employees affected, then the consultation period is 30 days. It is often less than 30 days if there is a smaller number of employees.
4. A redundancy consultation must be reasonable, and employees may have ideas to be considered that could negate the need for redundancy which should be considered.
5. Employers will often use a ‘pool’ of potentially affected employees to select which employees are to be made redundant. This won’t be necessary if only one person is doing the role that is being considered to be made redundant, or if the group of employees affected is clear (if the whole practice is closing for example). The selection criteria should be specific, measurable, and based on tasks and responsibilities undertaken. This process and the selection criteria to be used should be shared with all the affected employees.
6. At the end of this process, the employees selected to be made redundant should receive a letter informing them of this and confirming how much money they will receive. If any holiday has been accrued but not taken by the date of termination, then this must be paid and the employee will be entitled to either a notice period which they will work, or ‘pay in lieu of notice’, or ‘garden leave’.
7. Even if other members of the team have been made redundant, if you haven’t been selected for redundancy, then this should be confirmed in a letter.
An employee should be treated fairly throughout the redundancy process and have their employee rights met at every stage. Some rights include:
â An employer may or may not accept voluntary redundancies, but this needs to be decided on at the beginning of the process.
â Any employee who is made redundant has the right to appeal against the decision and the timeline for this must be in their letter.
â If an employee is selected for redundancy but wishes to stay, the employer should check to see if there are any roles within the veterinary practice or business and make it possible for the employee to apply for them. An employee can trial a job for four weeks and if it is not suitable, then this should not affect their statutory redundancy pay.
â Time off is permitted during the notice period to look for alternative work, but this may be on reduced pay.
â Employees on maternity leave have some protection, and their maternity leave must not be a reason for a redundancy. The redundancy consultation must still be arranged, once again, if there are other suitable roles in the veterinary practice then these should be offered.
Support with Redundancy
Everyone involved in the redundancy process is likely to be affected by this in some way. Other employees who are not selected for redundancy can still feel guilty and often colleagues who are leaving the organisation are friends of those who are remaining.
An employer may be able to help and support those employees being made redundant – contacts with other employers, references, C.V. help or access to these services if they cannot provide them directly themselves.
Some organisations which can help both employers and employees during the redundancy process are:
â Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
â British Veterinary Association
Were you considering submitting your research project or case reflection into Research Bites at BVNA Congress 2020? The good news is that, as BVNA will be delivering a virtual celebration of veterinary nursing this year, we have decided that Research Bites will be moving online too!
Research Bites is a popular element of each annual BVNA Congress, allowing participants to share their research, knowledge and experiences with the wider veterinary nursing community, in a friendly, constructive and inviting atmosphere. We’re really passionate about encouraging RVNs and SVNs to further the evidence base available to the profession, and even though Research Bites will be taking a slightly different format this year, we are still inviting abstract submissions and the event will still take place.
The deadline for abstract submissions has also been extended until Friday 10th July 2020.
Virtual Research Bites – What’s New?
All successful applicants will be required to produce a poster which presents their research or case study, which now will be “on display” online to attendees of BVNA’s virtual celebration of veterinary nursing. However, to replace the presentation delivered in person during BVNA Congress, candidates will now have the option to pre-record a short webinar-style presentation instead. Presentations will then be reviewed during an interactive Virtual Research Bites session, inviting discussion and Q&A from attendees. There will also still be prizes available to candidates for Best Poster and Best Presentation.
This therefore provides candidates with yet another opportunity to expand on their skill set, whilst still creating a fantastic resource to be able to spread knowledge amongst the veterinary nursing community. Further details of the Virtual Research Bites event will be released in due course as we work towards finalising plans for BVNA’s online celebration.
Why take part?
Virtual Research Bites provides candidates with a great opportunity to develop their writing and presenting skills, and being shortlisted to showcase your work is a great addition to your CV.
Talitha Johnson, winner of 2019’s Best Poster prize, says:
“I highly encourage anyone who has taken the time to carry out their research project to then submit them for the Research Bites event. It is a very educational event, and everyone should take pride in sharing their research with everyone. Whether you just show off your scientific poster or present it too, it is a great experience and definitely one I would recommend!”
Thanks to the event’s increasing popularity, this year we introduced two brand new categories – meaning whether you are an SVN or RVN, and whether you have/are working towards a diploma or degree, all have the opportunity to get involved. The submission categories are:
· Research projects (e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation)
· Student veterinary nurse case reflection
· Registered veterinary nurse case reflection
How do I get involved?
Please note that due to the current circumstances, we have made the decision to extend the submission deadline for abstracts. Some of this information has therefore changed from the details previously published, and we’ll continue to update you as we finalise details of the Virtual Research Bites event.
Key dates are as follows:
· Friday 10th July 2020 – Deadline for abstract submissions
· Friday 7th August 2020 – Notification of whether your abstract has been accepted for presentation
· Friday 18th September 2020 – Deadline for the submission of successful candidates’ posters (and pre-recorded presentation, if applicable)
Further details of the date/time of Virtual Research Bites 2020 will be released in due course, and you will be notified of when and how you will be able to see your poster “on display”. While presentations will be pre-recorded, all candidates will be invited to attend the Virtual Research Bites event live to take part in the Q&A discussion.
We see this as a really exciting opportunity to spread some positivity by highlighting the contributions SVNs and RVNs are continuing to make to the profession. We’ll provide additional information as soon as we can, but if you should have any queries in the meantime please contact Charlotte Bullard (BVNA Education Manager) at email@example.com. More information can also be found via our Virtual Research Bites page here.
Good luck, and we look forward to reading your submissions!
Veterinary professionals continue their brave effort to provide health care to patients in need during the COVID-19 pandemic despite the risks involved to themselves and their families. Unavoidable measures are continually being implemented by the government, the RCVS (along with professional associations) and by practice management teams to keep both staff and clients safe. The effects of such measures on patients and their behaviour when visiting practices has unlikely to have been considered, this is unfortunately due to the urgent time frame in which the profession has had to adapt. Visiting the veterinary setting for some patients is unfortunately already a negative experience, one which veterinary professionals already recognise and try to minimise. Part one of this blog will review how patient behaviour is affected with the newly added personal protective equipment (PPE) and implemented measures, part two will then look into how the patients experience can be made a more positive one.
Implemented changes and the effects they have on patients
The specific changes that are likely to have an effect on patient behaviour when visiting the veterinary setting include: social distancing, the increased use of PPE, the increased use of hand sanitisers and high strength disinfectants and the use of practice equipment rather than the patient's own familiar items.
Social distancing was implemented by the government at the start of the pandemic and is undertaken in the veterinary setting where possible, when dealing with clients it usually occurs in two situations. The first being when canine patients are examined at a distance with their owners present in an open outdoor space. Human behaviour displayed by both veterinary staff and clients are potentially altered during this type of consultation, ‘normal’ behavioural habits may not be displayed as a result of being cautious around others and the fear of catching the disease, sustained fields of vision and imposing postures are also potentially adopted when concentrating on assessing the patient. Dogs are likely to misunderstand this altered human behaviour (Miklosi, 2015). Owners will additionally be stressed with being at the vets during this difficult time, dogs are extremely receptive to their owners emotions and often mirror them (Rozenbaum, 2020). The second situation occurs when examining feline and canine patients without the owner present in a consultation room. ‘Normal’ human behaviour is likely to be altered again in the same way, with similar emotional responses, without owner presence and reassurance these could be heightened. Cats are often allowed to free roam in consultation rooms to help them feel more comfortable and relaxed within their environment (Atkinson, 2018), due to risks associated with spread of disease they are now unable to do so. Lack of owner presence in consultation may also lead to missed information regarding the patient, clients are often prompted by the evolving process of examinations and often inform staff of useful information and potential fears or phobias a patient may have. Patients could therefore be put into situations that would normally be avoided and therefore react accordingly.
Face masks have been advised by the government for use by the public in crowded places, although they have not yet been advised for use within the workplace most veterinary practices are using them as an extra step in PPE to protect their staff (See figure 1). Dogs have evolved alongside humans and benefit from being able to read facial expressions (Racca et al., 2012), evidence is lacking on whether cats are able to do the same as they did not evolve to live in such complex social groups (Fridlund, 2014), however this is something that should not be disregarded until further evidence is found. Studies have found that dogs will differentiate between human emotional facial expressions which in turn could play a major role in social interactions (Racca et al., 2012). This is therefore a major factor to consider when veterinary staff are covering their faces with masks. Sung (2020), raises an important consideration with pets lacking ability to read facial expressions due to the use of masks - pets may place more emphasis on human eye contact, something that is usually deemed threatening to them (Overall, 2013). Both dogs and cats could also react to face masks and other PPE items that have been put in place (face shields, aprons and gloves) due to them being novel stimuli, King et al., (2003) states that novel stimuli can induce fear in dogs which was later proved in their study, with dogs displaying heart rate changes and a slow/cautious approach to the stimuli. Cats are likely to behave in a similar way. In addition, animals that are already fearful of visiting the veterinary setting are more sensitive to their environment which veterinary staff unfortunately often witness. Noise sensitivity is something that is strongly linked to this and should be considered when wearing aprons and gloves, especially if putting them on or changing them in the presence of the patient due to the noise they create.
Figure 1 - Examples of face covering PPE being used in veterinary practices.
The use of hand sanitiser and high strength disinfectants within all areas of veterinary practice have been dramatically increased to help prevent the spread of disease. Visiting the vets for some patients can be scary with the strange smells associated with the setting (Overall, 2013). Dogs and cats have a much greater number of olfactory receptors than humans, with dogs having 220 million and cats having 150-200 million, compared to the 5 million which humans possess (Howell and Feyrecilde, 2018). They are therefore more sensitive to this change. It is well known that humans trigger emotional memories from smell (Zucco et al., 2014) this is likely to be the same for both feline and canine patients when visiting.
Practice equipment is now regularly being used when handling or transporting feline patients to and from consultations where the owner is not present rather than using the clients own item. It is recommended to use the patient's own cat carrier with the top section removed when examining them during consultations, especially if they are fearful or unsure of the veterinary setting (Overall, 2013; Rodan and Heath, 2015). Carriers and their contents may act as fomites (BSAVA, 2020) and risk spread of the disease and should therefore not be used. This is problematic when dealing with cats as their carriers contain: familiar smells from home (International Cat Care, 2018; Rodan and Heath, 2015), their facial pheromones that they have secreted and rubbed against items previously and synthetic F3 pheromones (i.e. Feliway) (International Cat Care, 2018) which have potentially been used by their proactive owners. Unfortunately these will no longer be available to them which are useful in helping them feel more at ease in unsettling times.
The implemented changes discussed could cause the patients to become nervous, fearful, anxious or stressed. These emotional states have components that interrelate with one another, often manifesting due to each other, i.e. prolonged fear can induce stress and/or anxiety (Stellato et al., 2017). They are therefore communicated in similar ways with varying degrees of behaviour. The emotional states in turn cause fight, flight, freeze or fidget responses (Tilley and Smith, 2016), they communicate these with a variety of signals which include their tail being down or tucked between their legs, ears back, eyes wide with dilated pupils, shaking, rigid or immobile bodys (Horwitz et al., 2002), stare or focus on an object (Low Stress Handling, 2017), yawning, lip licking, panting, aggressive threats (offensive or defensive) (Tilley and Smith, 2016), piloerection (Shaw and Martin, 2015), lowered posture (cowering), avoidance, hiding, tail movements, paw lifting (Stellato et al., 2017), hypervigilance, pacing, refuse food (Dr Sophia Yin, 2017), learned helplessness, noise sensitivity, sweaty paws, vocalisation (growl/bark/whine/hiss), urination and defaecation (Positively Victoria Stillwell, unknown). In addition cats will also lie on their sides flicking their tails, suddenly and/or excessively groom and ready themselves to jump (Low Stress Handling, 2017). The level of emotion and associated behaviours/signals that the patient will display will vary as a result of individual confidence levels, previous training, life experiences and socialisation, due to these factors some of the measures implemented may only cause minor negative events for the patient with lesser noticeable emotional displays of behaviour whereas others may cause major negative events with more obvious behaviours. The number of measures implemented in the same visit at any one time will also have a bearing, minor negative events can build up collectively acting as building blocks which can in turn cause a major negative event if the patient's threshold is reached causing behaviours/signals to escalate. The behaviours displayed in response to their emotional state will influence social interactions (Stellato et al., 2017) therefore making it harder for the veterinary surgeon to assess and examine them during the consultations which is detrimental during this time, urgent and emergency cases are time critical, and face to face contact should be minimised between clients, animals and veterinarians to reduce the risk of spread of disease.
The patient's experience can be made a more positive one when visiting the veterinary setting despite the newly implemented guidelines and PPE discussed. Part 2 of this blog will look into what can be undertaken by veterinary professionals and clients to achieve this goal.
Anthony Turner RVN, BSc (hons.) Applied Animal Behaviour and Training.
Anthony is a night RVN at Northwest Veterinary Specialists. He qualified in 2018 at an independent general practice where he had been working for four years. He also has a BSc (hons.) degree in applied animal behaviour and training which is a special interest of his. He has gained experience in this area from working at the RSPCA, running his own dogbehaviour and training company and from his time in general practice where he also ranbehaviour and training consults, often taking on referrals from other local practices too.
Each year the Kennel Club Charitable Trust kindly donates a fund of £6,000 for it's members in order to enhance their knowledge and career.
This year the deadline for these bursaries has been extended to 30 June and are open to Students and RVNs.
As a part of its Leadership initiative, the RCVS is running a series of free webinars for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to address the challenges of leading and working with colleagues and clients through the coronavirus pandemic.
The hour-long sessions are a collaboration with the Tavistock Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that applies social science methodologies to contemporary issues and problems, and will be led by experts in the field of organisational development and change. Each session will provide members with an opportunity to think about the wide-ranging effects the pandemic has had on our lives and our workplaces. In particular, the sessions will address themes such as the impact of being furloughed; returning to work and living one’s life in conditions of ongoing uncertainty; and working through change.
The four webinars, which will be hosted weekly, should be of interest to everyone in the veterinary team as they adapt to the changed circumstances and needs of clients, colleagues and staff. Tackling a specific theme each week, each of which builds upon the last, listeners will be provided with advice, guidance and coaching to enable them to grow their understanding and confidence so that they feel better placed to negotiate, lead, or support others, during these uncertain times.
Oliver Glackin, RCVS Leadership initiatives Manager, commented: “What was just a few weeks ago unprecedented has now become our new normal. We have entered a period of uncertainty and turbulence which will bring significant changes – if it has not already done so to our personal and professional lives. To help make sense of this at an individual, group and organisational level, I’m really pleased to have been able to join forces with the Tavistock Institute which has a long track-record of helping guide people and businesses through periods of upheaval.
“Veterinary professionals are known for their adaptability, resourcefulness and creativity and these sessions should complement this by putting the complex and all enveloping nature of our shared circumstances into context before giving practical advice and coaching so that all members of the veterinary team can help themselves and support colleagues, teams and animal owners, through these uncharted waters.”
The free lunchtime sessions will take place weekly, starting on Thursday 2 July, at 1pm. The themes covered by the webinars are described below. Whilst valuable as standalone sessions, each webinar in the series is designed as a counterpart to the others so that members can achieve a deeper and richer appreciation and understanding of the issues. The sessions will also be recorded and made available later.
· Exploring and building resilience with Anne Benson – Thursday, 2 July
· Working with change with Dr Leslie Brissett – Thursday, 9 July
· The emotional impact of leading with Dr Sadie King – Thursday, 16 July
· Working and leading through times of uncertainty in work and the world around you with Dr Dione Hills – Thursday, 23 July
To register, or to be kept up-to-date with further information on the seminars and presenters as they are posted, visit the following webpage: www.rcvs.org.uk/forms/rcvs-leadership-webinar-series/
After much deliberation and consideration, and with great sadness, the British Veterinary Nursing Association [BVNA] has decided that the 47th BVNA Congress will not go ahead this year. It was due to take place in October.
In recent weeks, a number of BVNA members, exhibitors and speakers, had expressed concerns about their health and safety if they attended this year’s event, and others reported that their employers were not allowing them to travel to external events until after Christmas this year.
So the Council faced an extremely tough decision whether to go ahead with Congress or not.
The final decision to call it off, was founded on the uncertainty facing large-scale events going ahead due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions, and the health risks to BVNA members, speakers, exhibitors, suppliers, staff and the public.
The good news is that they are planning to organise a virtual event to celebrate the veterinary nursing profession and the BVNA, and will include first-class keynote speakers, interactive workshops, live interviews, themed virtual networking, and evening social quizzes…oh and a little bit of CPD! It will be free for BVNA members to take part but everyone’s invited to the celebration. Watch out for more details and dates coming soon…
“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.
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. 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."
For more information contact Katie Spackman firstname.lastname@example.org 07719 549 216
Each year we ask Veterinary Nurses to organise events at schools, colleges and in local communities, and for patients and pets, to help educate the public and raise awareness about what Veterinary Nurses do. However, because of the restrictions placed on us currently, we had to remove the face to face interactions and competitions were online and virtual.
The BVNA is once again overjoyed with the response to our Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month campaign! The campaign ran for the month of May and was supported with daily posts and shares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These called for Veterinary Nurses to submit videos, posters and photos that showed their roles, stories, career progression, diversification and special interests.
There were 3 competitions for Veterinary Nurses and Pet Owners to get involved in this year;
We have really enjoyed seeing everyone’s efforts.
Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up of our 2020 VNAM Competition!
Winner - Emma Myers:
Runners Up -
Winner - Joy Shutt - "Caring for senior cats at home!"
You can watch Joy's brilliant video here.
Paige Roberts - "Top tips to help with firework fear!"
Leanne Price - "Why can't my pet eat that?"
Chloe Little - "How to clip your cats nails at home!"
"My name is Megan, I’m 12 and I want to tell you why I love Lora D’Alesio at Valley Vets Cardiff.
I don’t like going to the vet. It makes my grumpy and a bit snappy and Mum and Dad always have to hold me tight whilst I’m in there. I can’t wait to leave.
In December, my Mum and Dad became really sad. They said I had Lymphoma and they were going to get me treatment for it with something called CHOP protocol.
In January I was very ill and had to be admitted to the vet hospital and stayed the night. Mum and Dad came in the next day and we sat down and spoke to a vet called Gregg who said he was going to administer CHOP over 25 weeks. My Mum and Dad were worried as they know I’m grumpy and snappy at the vets.
I had to commence treatment that day as I was very ill and they introduced my to Lora. She was nice and she gave me treats. Gregg put needles in me and Lora sat and talked to me giving me treats and fussing me - I liked Lora.
From then on I had to go to the vet most weeks for treatment, then every other. I’m on week 21 this week.
Lora and I became friends. I look forward to seeing her and what treats she has each week. I am always a good girl for Gregg during treatment as Lora takes good care of me. I actually like Gregg now but I don’t always let on that I do.
During my treatment, Mummy tells me that the Hospital was flooded and we had to go to a different branch for 2 months. There has also been a pandemic but I’ve still had treatment and Mummy and Lora wear face masks. I don’t though and I get treats still.
My Mummy says Lora is special person and I know I wouldn’t have had treatment if she hadn’t won me over and become my friend.
I owe my life to Lora and would love her to be recognised for going that extra mile. She also has a good choice in treats. Because of Lora, I will be 13 on June 24th. My Mummy didn’t expect me to make it but I will now. I hope I get some treats on my birthday. Forever grateful!"
"I love my vet nurse because he gives me a Dreamie treat when I attend my appointments. He also lets me roam around the room and even scratches my ear which I love. He also let me take my badger bear with me when I had my operation. i love the vets now, so I'm not scared. I always see Johnny at Haygate Lawley."
"We love our vet nurses simply because we know that they are always there, whatever the day or time, they are there for us and our animals. And for that, I am truly grateful. Having worked as a vet nurse myself, it's a job that you do for the love of the animals. Our animals have helped my family so much during the lock down, and although they are not able to work in their therapy roles out in the community, they have been working hard on social media, bringing the positivity and the love together, around the world! Thank you for always being there, it is always nice knowing that the support is always a phone call away."
"I’m Podrick the rat, and I love my vet nurse because she always gets really excited to see me and gives me lots of cuddles when I’m nervous. She looked after me when I was a naughty boy and had to lose my Crown Jewels and looked after my mum when we had to say goodbye to my brother. She’s the best and makes going to the vets much less scary! I love my vet nurse very much! Love Podrick"
"I love my vet nurse because all nurses are awesome, and vet nurses are not recognised as heroes enough!"
"We (my dog and I) love our vet nurse, Kirsty Edgar, because she is always very friendly and welcoming and gave us so much information and advice about the vet practice and the various plans they run to keep our dog happy and healthy. She also told us what we needed to do in prep for getting our puppy home and answered all our questions. She also told us we could contact her anytime with any further queries. When we got pup and anytime we've been in since, Kirsty has more than proven her natural love and care for animals and has reassured us on many a time that Jaffa would be ok in their care. She's been right every time. If needed, she comes round to see and reassure our furboy too that it's ok and has helped build his trust of the vets. Here is Kirsty spending a bit of time with Jaffa, reassuring him by interacting with him and yes there was a tiny wee treat for Jaffa involved on this occasion."
Justine and Steve Cumming:
"I love my Vet Nurse from ICR Vets Loanhead because they saved both of our mainecoon kittens' lives! They go above and beyond and care for our fur babies. With their quick action, they were able to save our kittens' lives.They not only go above and beyond in their job but they care and put their whole heart into what they do. This really shows and goes a long way. Thank you to everyone at ICR Vets for everything you all do, from saving our kittens' lives, to simply checking up when we visit. Skye (pictured on the left) ate lilies which are very toxic and needed emergency care. Caesar (pictured on the right) had a difficult start in life and needed emergency surgery as he had a tiny fur ball blockage in his stomach which almost resulted in his stomach bursting!"
"My name was Edith (now Evelyn) and I had been stuck at Dogs Trust for 3.5 months, in desperate need of a new home. I had a whole A4 page of behavioural and medical issues that a new owner had to be able to cope with. I am a Kelpi cross and what is described as a reactive dog. Veterinary nurses are so so much more. I was kennelled at Dogs Trust Evesham, who didn’t even have me advertised for re-homing as I had so many issues and problems. Karen Homer RVN who also holds a Diploma in animal behaviour visited looking for a dog for her uncle. When she saw me and realised why I was stuck there suffering from kennel rage, as I was so stressed and why no one else would or could take me on, she took me home and gave me a loving home. Some people need an RVN in their lives, I don’t think I would have a life now if I didn’t have an RVN in my life."
"I loved my vet nurses because they treated me with K-laser therapy (or Laser quest as we liked to call it) for the last two years of my life, as part of my arthritis management plan. I showed how much I loved them by giving out ‘Crumble kisses'.
Crumble did have to be put to sleep in March this year, at the grand old age of 13, however he was only able to reach such a fab age, thanks to K-laser administered by his fab nurses and it seemed wrong not to acknowledge that."
"I love my vet nurse because they have always treated my medical alert assistance dogs, Alice and May, like their own and will do anything for them. They have such a special bond with our vet nurse and I know they are always safe and in great hands. The nurses have also helped train my youngest assistant dog when she was in training to have a positive experience in the practice and to be fine having vet checks. Our nurses go above and beyond to make ALL animals happy. Thank you so much, you are all amazing!! Love Alice and May xx"
"I love my vet nurse because she has no issues with me being a snake. Some don't like me as they think I'm slimy, but I promise I'm not. She doesn't mind holding me and making sure I'm fine. She's helped advise my dad about the best care for me too. I'm nearly 12 now and still going strong thanks to all the help and support. Thanksssssssssss Lizzie!"
The lucky winners and runners up will receive ‘Love to Shop’ or 'Just Eat' vouchers ranging in value from £25-£200.
As the UK Government is slowly lifting the lockdown restrictions that are needed to control and protect ourselves from Covid-19, there will be more veterinary nurses and support staff returning to the practice.
Every person will have had their own difficulties and challenges during lockdown. Whether it was because of self-isolating, being furloughed, working reduced hours, or trying to manage a team that encompassed all of this - there will be a readjustment period as employers stage the return of their staff and clients back into the veterinary practice.
Free online event
The BVNA is proud to host another webinar in our Covid-19 series that will give you some tools to help with the transition back to work, as well as support for those who have been working in practice through lockdown.
“Tame your Team - how to get through the return to practice and stay sane” online event takes place on Wednesday, 10 June at 1900 and you can register for free here.
It will cover:
â Calming the circuits to stay in control of your emotions and feelings
â Talking to people who are not like you!
â Building your own toolkit of techniques
Our speaker, Dr Libby Kemkaran-Thompson, is both a veterinary surgeon and a consultant in leadership and communication. We also have our own BVNA Vice President Wendy Nevins there too.
Business as usual?
It won’t be “business as usual” for quite some time as together we need to make sure staff are safe, animal health and welfare continues to be addressed, and our industry remains sustainable.
There will be some people that will feel anxious to return into the practice or even travelling there if public transport is required, and staff should have their concerns addressed. Prior to the return of some staff, it may be useful to have a return-to-work meeting so they can understand the changes on how the practice now runs, the social distancing measures, the use of resources like facemasks and remote or reduced client contact.
For example, if some face coverings/masks are required or provided. The government has advised on wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where social distancing is not possible. These are different to surgical masks which should be used in procedures that warrant medical grade PPE - like in the case of performing surgery, or administering chemotherapy.
The BVA has also released guidelines for safe working within the veterinary workplace which cover:
â Undertaking risk assessments in the workplace and home visits
â Minimising client contact as much as possible and manage their expectations
â Staff who can work from home should continue to work from home at this time
â Minimise staff contact in the workplace as much as possible
â Hygiene and biosecurity measures
â Re-thinking the physical space and layout
Other supportive veterinary resources include:
â Talking to someone anonymously about your emotional health at Vetlife.
â The RCVS flowchart on what type of work can be carried out while there are lockdown measures in place.
Government resources and guidelines:
â The Health and Safety Executive have released some guidelines on how to become “Covid-Secure” in order to work safely and manage any risks associated with running a business or practice. There is an online guidebook you can print and read here.
â The government has a 5 step approach on how to work safely:
â Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
â Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
â Help people to work from home
â Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible
â Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk
So don’t forget to register for our webinar here, keep safe, and keep looking after each other!
ABTC have asked us to share their newsletter with you and have given us permission to publish this on our blog!
Internal Newsletter - No 34, May 2020
Over two months into the Covid-19 crisis and nobody has escaped the effect completely. Although the worst is probably over people are still dying in the hundreds, businesses are disappearing and unemployment is higher than many have ever seen before. The WHO predicts that the virus will be with us for a long time and many of the ways that businesses have been devising to protect their staff and continue offering their services will probably become the new norm for some time to come rather than a temporary measure. ABTC trustees have been working hard over the past two months to champion the self-employed and contribute to the official advice associated with pet ownership and pet services as well as further developing internal processes.
The 2020 AGM was cancelled pending a new date and administrative arrangements. It is now confirmed that this will now occur on the 17th July by Zoom. More details and agenda will be published in due course. Trustees have been meeting regularly using Zoom which has proven to be a very efficient medium of communication.
Appointment of Secretariat
ABTC has now appointed Val Harvey to provide secretariat services (email@example.com). All general communication should now be directed through this email address.
A coalition of the UK’s best-loved national pet charities and experts (including ABTC) joined forces under the CFSG to produce a range of advice and guidance for pet owners and those offering pet services during the current situation. This advice and updates appear regularly on the ABTC Facebook site and is available for viewing and downloading at:
Practitioner Organisations will be aware that individual register fees have been waived this year to try and help those who will have lost their income due to social distancing rules. The consequence of this has been a substantial drop in ABTC income for the year, however, prudent management of our finances leading up to the crisis has meant that we are confident moving forward.
Already budgeted for the new website project has completed the tendering process and a designer has been appointed. Progress on the design and launch of the new site will be reported in due course.
RCVS preparations for ABTC accreditation were initially delayed due to the work required to accommodate the changes resulting from Brexit and now the Covid-19 crisis has added to those delays. A dialogue is being maintained with RCVS and we are assured of their enthusiasm to continue with the project as soon as feasible.
To date we have received two nominations for new trustees but more are required. All member organisations are asked to circulate this topic amongst their own membership. Trustees do not need to be the organisation’s representative and they are not restricted to practitioner organisations.
Much time and effort has been dedicated to reviewing and updating ABTC documentation, policies and procedures. Sub-committees dealing with Programme Recognition, Practitioner Assessments and Membership application processes have all continued to work.
For those struggling to meet their annual CPD requirement during the current situation one of our Supporting Member Organisations (Compass Education Ltd) is offering up to 30 hours certificated CPD free of charge to members of ABTC member organisations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
As we become more aware of the impact of Covid-19 on the animal welfare sector we cannot be complacent. New challenges confront us and we must face up to them with compassion and innovation for the sake of the animals that we all work for and with. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and we urge everyone to be vigilant and work safely as we move forward to minimise any further losses."
The BVNA was founded in 1965. Since then we have employed a dedicated team of office staff, but the BVNA would not function as it does today without its volunteers.
BVNA Council Members are volunteers. Up to seventeen veterinary nurses come together to form the council that represents our members voices. In their own time they represent the BVNA in a variety of ways, all pulling together through a passion and drive to make our profession better and all in their own time. The past 4 years have seen an election take place for new council members, demonstrating the zeal that lies within our profession.
We say thank you to our Council Members.
The BVNA has a team of Regional Representatives. This group of representatives come from around the UK. They work hard to provide meetings and create a local network of nurses – offering support, CPD and meetings. These representatives hold talks in local schools and colleges to highlight the work of the veterinary nurse and attract more people into our profession.
We say thank you to our Regional Representatives.
BVNA congress has grown as an event each year, it is the only congress designed completely for veterinary nurses. Without volunteers this event would not run anywhere near as smoothly as it does! BVNA Congress Stewards’ work incredibly hard to help make the event a success. You will see them on the doors scanning you into lecture halls, helping on the registration desk and signposting you around the event. They have early starts and late finishes and keep that enthusiasm and passion all the way through.
We say thank you to our Congress Stewards.
We rely on volunteers with VNJ, our monthly journal. We have an editorial board and peer reviewers for our clinical articles.
We say thank you to all who contribute.
BVNA’s advisory committee are all volunteers. They provide support and advice to the council, all on a voluntary basis.
We say thank you for all the support over the years.
The BVNA have volunteers who are not veterinary nurses and volunteers who are veterinary nurses, our volunteers come from all different aspects of the profession and beyond. Our volunteers are diverse, dedicated and hard working. They help form the BVNA. They help represent the voice of veterinary nursing. Volunteers are the BVNA.
So, we celebrate and say thank you to all BVNA’s volunteers from past and present. Keep being involved, be part of the community.
For more information on volunteering for the BVNA, please contact us at email@example.com.
Can you recognise any familiar faces in the pictures?
International Cat Care (iCatCare) is on the hunt for the best feline photographers with the 2020 launch of its annual photography competition.
For the competition this year, the charity is exploring the six different life stages of cats, from kitten to super senior, with the theme ‘The Six Stages of Cat’. This means that all cats are suitable subject matter and it’s a great opportunity for photographers to get creative with their pictures. The iCatCare judges would like to see some behaviour you might not associate with the life stage, for example super senior cats playing with toys, but entries are by no means limited to this.
Pictures of cats from all six life stages, kitten, junior, adult, mature, senior and super senior, are requested and entrants are asked to enter the life stage of the cat in the photo, or at least an estimate, when submitting their pictures. To help in determining the life stages of cats, iCatCare has created a poster that shows the life stage alongside the cat’s age and the equivalent human age. The poster can be viewed and downloaded from the iCatCare website.
The charity’s annual photography competition was launched in 2013, and since then it has attracted tens of thousands of entries. Previous themes have included ‘Cat-human relationships’, ‘Kittenhood’, ‘Street cats’, ‘Cat naps’, ‘The beauty of cats’ and ‘Cats for all seasons’. This year’s theme allows for a much broader spread of ideas from entrants and the judges are looking forward to seeing how it’s interpreted.
There will be twelve winning images, with one overall winner who will receive £500 in prize money. All twelve winners will have their images feature on charity merchandise (such as greetings cards, postcards, calendars) which will be sold to raise funds for the charity’s work.
To find out more and to enter, click here. The competition is now open for entries and will run until 10 am (BST) on 1 July 2020. Winners will be announced on iCatCare’s social media accounts shortly after.
British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) Council is run by veterinary nurses for veterinary nurses, and it is election time! This is where full members and student members of BVNA cast a vote on who represents the Association.
There were 15 nominees this year with one nominee filling one of the student seats. Molly Vallance will be welcomed and ratified along with the rest of the six elected Council members during the Annual General Meeting in October.
There are 14 candidates to ‘meet’ all hoping to win one of the six seats available, and we want you to join us on the 17th of June 2020, between 7pm-8pm to Meet the Candidates - virtually!
“Meet the Candidates” Online Event
Join us for an online event using Zoom, where all the Council nominees will introduce themselves. Each candidate will spend a few minutes telling you about themselves, their manifestos and why you should vote for them to be on the BVNA Council, and to answer your questions.
If you have a question you would like to ask the candidates, please email it to Lisa on firstname.lastname@example.org before midday on the 8th of June 2020.
Can’t join us for the online event? Don’t worry – we will record the event so you can view it online at your convenience, or you can read the candidate profiles and their manifestos here.
How to Watch the Online Event and Vote
Only BVNA full members or student members can vote. We use a platform called Zoom – you may have heard about it recently. It’s free to download and simple to use.
The polls open on the 1st of June 2020, and voting will close at noon on the 10th of July 2020 - don’t forget to cast your vote as there are only 6 seats available on the Council this year.
To vote online, click here - be sure to have your BVNA membership number handy as you will need to enter this for your vote to be eligible. If you don’t know your membership number, please email email@example.com.
Why is voting in BVNA election important?
BVNA is the largest organisation representing veterinary nurses in the UK, which has been running for over 50 years! Council Members make up part of the formal decision-making body of BVNA; they work closely with other key regulating bodies like the RCVS and British Veterinary Association and have a voice in veterinary nursing legislation, good practice and the challenges and opportunities within our industry.
Council members have a responsibility for the conduct and operation of BVNA. They attend a Council meeting on the second Saturday of every other month at BVNAs office in Harlow, and are also available for online discussions and conference calls. You can find out more details about the role of a Council Member here.
"I thought I would write a blog about Pet Loss and Bereavement in practice during COVID19 to help guide and give tips to those in the veterinary industry. Saying ‘Goodbye’ to a beloved pet is very upsetting and due to the pandemic, makes it even more tough.
I completed Carrie Ball’s Pet Loss and Bereavement Support Advisor CPD a few weeks ago and it really opened my eyes to the ways in which we can show clients that we are there for them, although we are not physically there if you know what I mean.
Euthanasia in general is so upsetting as it is, but with the addition of the pandemic on our hands, it makes it much more emotional – in my practice at Mile End, we are asking clients to hand their pet over to us at the door. When it was my first time witnessing this, I couldn't help feeling somewhat guilty. However, since completing the CPD, I have learnt other ways to support clients which has been beneficial indeed.
I will note these as bullet points but if anyone wants to ask any further questions please get in contact - I am more than happy to help in whatever way I can because ultimately, we are all in this together :
· Call clients a few days after euthanasia to see how they are coping. Recently, we put to sleep a dog who was owned by an elderly lady who lives on her own. She has been asked to shield due to the pandemic and has limited access, if any access, to outside. Since Poppy was euthanised, I have called her owner a few times to let her know that she is not on her own and if there is anything we can do to let us know. She did mention that when the pandemic is over, she wishes to visit our practice to thank us for everything - this truly meant so much to me (especially after a busy day!). Just being a listening ear to a client after their pet is euthanised really does mean a lot to them. I would recommend calling clients at a quieter time of the day so you can focus all your attention on the client and not make them feel rushed. Just a conversation for five minutes will let them know you as a practice are thinking of them.
· I understand that there is only so much we can do for our clients, especially if they seem to be struggling. Please refer any of these clients to Blue Cross Pet Bereavement services.
· In practice, we write out sympathy cards for clients, put forget me nots in the card and also have now started making vaccine vial tributes (a few nurses told me about the vial tributes so a big thank you to those who recommended this). We place a few locks of hair in the vaccine vials - I made my first ones last week and they look amazing!
· Quality of life scales were mentioned in the CPD which can help clients assess their pet's condition at home and help them make a more informed decision. It may also help them after the euthanasia to understand it was the best thing they could do for their pet.
Ultimately, showing care, compassion, empathy and understanding are vital.
As Carrie Ball mentioned in her CPD, “We are there to be the strength the client needs to get through this devastating time”.
On the other hand, colleagues can suffer from compassion fatigue during these upsetting times - Please look after each other. Given the current climate, just asking a client or colleague how they are bearing up means so much and to those that are struggling, it is okay to speak up. We need to learn to be kind to ourselves. Our job is very demanding and can be stressful – we need to practice self-care. On your days off, do activities that you love, have a well-deserved rest. To student nurses like myself – give yourself realistic boundaries. We need to revise and complete assignments/CSL but ensure you give yourself regular breaks. It is difficult for us due to exams being postponed which can make you feel deflated and ultimately, even more stressed. This strange time will eventually pass and once all the exams are finished, we will have a massive celebration!
Finally, I want to draw your attention to those that are furloughed. They will feel away ‘from the action’ and may feel guilty that colleagues are at work. They will also have worries about family, friends, and their own health just like the rest of us. Check in on them and show that you are thinking of them.
I could write so much more information in this post, but it would take me all day! If you have any questions, please write in and I will try to help in whatever way I can. Stay safe and stay well."
April Louise Murphy SVN
April is a final year Student Veterinary Nurse at the Goddard Veterinary Nursing College. She works full time at a Goddard's branch in East London. She is passionate about exotic nursing and hopes to gain further knowledge and experience in this sector once qualifying. She is the ISFM Cat Advocate in her branch where she ensures cat friendly practices are carried out.
April will be taking on the role as peer reviewer for the student section of the VNJ which she is delighted about. She hopes to encourage SVNs to have a voice and write in their experiences so others can learn from them, and is looking forward to reading your amazing stories, hints and tips!
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) and the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) has opened the 2020 Practice Wellbeing Star nominations to recognise those individuals who are helping to create a positive workplace environment even under the present difficult circumstances.
The nominations allow practices to recognise someone at their workplace who has helped to hold up morale during a time when practices are facing unprecedented staffing and financial issues, and have taken it upon themselves to foster a positive work environment even despite the current challenging climate.
Members of the veterinary team who are nominated for as a Practice Wellbeing Star will receive a certificate in recognition of their colleagues’ appreciation of their achievements. Alongside this, all recipients will be entered into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to attend the joint SPVS and Veterinary Management Group Congress in January 2021. Further information on how to nominate is on the Vet Wellbeing Award website.
The closing date for Practice Wellbeing Star nominations is Friday 20 November 2020.
Petplan is proud to support Vet Nurse Awareness Month and show their appreciation for all the outstanding Vet Nurses out there. Your kind hearted, empathetic and hard-working approach means pets get the love, comfort and care that they deserve in practice.
We received a lovely story from Kirsty Lack, Senior Veterinary Nurse at Cambrian Vets Tywyn, which we wanted to share with you.
“Bean presented with pyrexia, rapid shallow breathing and lethargy. Of course when it’s your own animal, all of that sensible advice that we give to clients leaves our brain instantly and panic sets in. Bean was my first cat and he's a bit different - one eyed, thinks he’s a human, comes everywhere with me including hiking up mountains, so his health is pretty vital to our hobbies! I took him to the vets straight away and basically said do everything you think will help him - that soon became a full blood work up, fluids, sedation and x-rays. At no point did I have to worry about the cost, the £800+ bill didn’t even cross my mind until I checked later. I would never want to hold back on diagnosis and treatment for my best friend, and thanks to Petplan I didn’t need to. Insurance allows you to do everything possible for your pet and brings so much peace of mind when anything does happen to them. Thank you Petplan for the security of knowing I will always be able to get Bean the very best treatment!”
Since submitting Bean’s story Kirsty kindly gave us an update on Bean.
“Bean recently started to pull all his hair out, so needed to have a skin analysis and be tested for allergies. This involved full skin work, such as biopsies, scrapes and hair plucks. It turns out he has OCD! I’m so grateful Petplan cover registered behaviourists as I have to find one of them to come and see him now too!”
At Petplan we are always pleased to support pets like Bean when they need us most. Thanks to Veterinary Nurses like you introducing clients to Petplan, many more pets are able to get the gold standard care they deserve!
Introducing clients to Petplan only takes 30 seconds, but can make a lifetimes difference… please visit our website to register and for tips on how to grow your insured client base.
Thank you to you wonderful Vet Nurses, from everyone at Petplan!
BVNA has a fund of up to £8,500 to help Veterinary Nurse and Student Members with their CPD and training...invaluable for those that are struggling in these unprecedented times.
You need to hurry though, the closing date is 31 May 2020!
What are you waiting for..? Find out more https://www.bvna.org.uk/members/bursaries
In the last eNewsletter, we asked members to send us stories to share on our blog. BVNA member Jacqueline Morgans has sent us a heart felt story with some fab pics to share with you all. Many thanks Jacqueline!
"I have recently become a member after a lapsing for a number of years and am currently on furlough. This has been a very tough time for everyone and being on furlough is not something I ever expected would happen to me after 25 years of nursing. It’s been very hard being on my own (thank goodness for zoom!) and I have been trying to find ways to keep myself positive and occupied. The following certainly kept me occupied for at least a week!
Having always been one of those nurses that frowns whenever a baby bird is bought in and beseeches clients to leave them where they find them, I now have first hand experience of this very situation.
I noticed that there were two little birds that kept bouncing from bush to bush, then to the fences and really chirping whenever my cat Piggy went outside. Apparently they are Dunnocks (Hedge Sparrows) and after a particularly noisy session, I went to investigate. I found that there was a nest, that the parents were obviously trying to protect, high up in one of the large bushes. I noticed that Piggy, rather than trying to get to the nest, seemed to be sitting on guard, sometimes for hours.
The parents would feed the babies whilst continuing to shout warnings at Piggy. Then after a couple of days, I noticed Piggy behaving oddly and making those funny little chirp noises cats make. On investigating, I found that the little fledglings were jumping and falling out of the nest. Piggy would find them on the floor and stay with them meowing very loudly until I went out and put them safely back in the nest.
She never once touched them or tried to hurt them. It appeared that she was looking after them (or that’s what I would like to think). The parents were still around keeping watch and continued to feed them when they were back in the nest or on the floor.
This went on for another day or two until I finally saw one of the fledglings make it up onto the fence and fly off into the little wood at the back of my garden. I’m not sure what happened to the other three, but I would like to think they all made it too.
I feel much more confident now to tell people to leave them where they are in a safe place or to put them out of harms way, as the parents really do continue to look after them.
Piggy and I definitely enjoyed our time watching and looking after them. It certainly brightened up my time whilst on lock down, especially as an amateur photographer, and it surprised me how attentive and gentle Piggy was around them!"
Jacqueline Morgans RVN ISFMCertFN ISFMAdvCertFB
Send us your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Vetlife defines Mindfulness as “the practice of paying attention and focusing awareness, increasing clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality” - and in these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to ensure you are looking after your mental and physical health, as well as your friends and families. Globally, we are quite literally all in this together!
In this blog, we run through some of the ways to practice mindfulness, how to keep a daily routine, and we also talk about Vetlife; a charity that provides emotional, financial and mental health support to the veterinary community.
Structure the day
A ‘normal’ day in a veterinary practice can be organised chaos; we know there will be morning and afternoon consults with surgeries and procedures during the middle of the day. Even if the cases are different every day, there is still an anticipated structure on how things run!
Whether you are working reduced hours, working longer shifts in a day with more days off in between, working from home, or even if you find your days free because you have been furloughed - it is important to try and keep some structure to your day. Routine and structure allows us to feel like we have a sense of control in a time where we may feel like there are a lot of things out of our control.
Here are some tips on keeping structure to your day if you are working from home:
â Try to get up and go to bed around the same time every day
â Try to keep a meal structure to the day, avoid grazing, and stay hydrated
â If you take this time to continue any study you are undertaking, to do some CPD, or if you are doing some “Work From Home” tasks, then set reasonable hourly or daily goals to make sure you have a sense of achievement and accomplishment
â Aim to do any study or work in an area that is a dedicated ‘office’ space (it might be your desk or dining table) so that it is possible to get up and take a mental break completely away from where you were working
Enjoy some “you” time!
It is a common feeling as veterinary nurses that we always need to be doing something.. as there is always something that needs doing while we are at work! Because we are spending less time at work and we potentially have more time on our hands, many of us start to feel guilty with the thought of doing ‘nothing’.
Under normal circumstances, it is important to spend at least half an hour a day doing something enjoyable that is just for you! It may be reading a book, listening (or playing!) some music, watching an episode of a TV show or watching a movie. So don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself given the current lockdown situation.
With the Covid-19 lockdown, we can exercise outside - this may be a walk, run or cycle. Exercise has many benefits and releases endorphins which can last for hours afterwards, and they can even give a positive buzz for up to 24 hours!
Other benefits of exercise include:
â Reducing stress
â Improving sleep
â Helps with mental health
If you are a member of a gym, check with them if they are running any remote workout sessions with their personal trainers. Many of these workouts are adapted to use your body weight effectively instead of equipment, or by doing high-intensity interval training (HIT) which is a very quick burst of different exercises done with short break periods.
There are also many different yoga, pilates and meditation apps available to download and a lot of videos can be found on YouTube.
Eat food to boost your immune system
Don’t forget about maintaining a healthy diet too! Use this time to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen and eat foods that will help boost your immune system, such as
· Dark chocolate
· Oily fish
· Sweet potatoes
· Green tea
· Red bell peppers
Online Media Overload
The TV and internet can provide an online stream of news updates about Covid-19 and also other (often negative) things happening in the world. Try to check in with the news only twice a day, and from resources you trust and are familiar with. A constant stream of news may contain incomplete information which can increase anxiety and cause confusion.
We are social creatures by nature, and we need to maintain social connections for mental health and happiness. However, excessive use of social media has been linked with an increase in unhappiness, anxiety, depression, and can actually make us feel even more isolated! Try having some “phone-free” time in your day, or use a feature on most smartphones that can lock you out of social apps after a specific time allowance has been reached.
Keep in touch!
As mentioned above, social media can actually end up making you feel even more isolated so it is important to make quality online social connections.
It’s better to actually see your friends and family There are many free downloadable video platforms available like Houseparty, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams that you can use to keep in touch with friends and family. It can be a really fun and interactive way to catch up every few days and to check in on how people are coping.
These platforms are also a great way to have remote staff meetings to keep staff informed of any changes to the business, keep morale high and help employees feel supported by their managers and employers.
As veterinary nurses, we work in close proximity to our colleagues every day and we may be able to see when someone is distressed, or struggling with anxiety or depression. One of the difficulties around the reduction of staffing during Covid-19 is that being able to talk to someone trusted at work may not be an option anymore.
The BVNA supports Vetlife - a registered charity that supports the veterinary community by offering support for work, emotional, addictive or financial problems. They offer a 24-hour service every day of the year.
The Vetlife phone number is 0303 040 2551 – you will need to register on their website if you want to send an anonymous email. The volunteers at Vetlife are experienced in mental health and in the veterinary profession too.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has today published minor updates to its key coronavirus guidance for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses, to reflect the developing situation and the latest guidance from the UK and devolved nation governments.
On 9 April, as part of its updated guidance to the veterinary professions, the RCVS published a flowchart to help veterinary professionals to decide whether or not to carry out a particular type of work, whilst ensuring the health of their teams and clients, and working to uphold animal health and welfare.
Following the Prime Minister’s address on 10 May, the RCVS issued a joint statement with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to say that there was no immediate need to change the existing guidance to the profession on how to manage cases and see animals safely.
The flowchart therefore remains deliberately broad to help guide veterinary professionals in all sectors through the decision-making process, whilst continuing to prioritise public health and incorporate appropriate risk assessment.
However, as government guidance continues to change, the College’s Covid-19 Taskforce has agreed small changes to two areas of the flow chart, as follows:
First, the box that previously said:
‘Can you effectively support the case while maintaining social distancing for your team and the public?’
‘Can you effectively support the case while abiding by the appropriate social/physical distancing guidance for workplaces to protect your team and the public?’
The updated text better reflects the different language and varying guidance in place across devolved nations. It also recognises that the new government guidance is not just about maintaining a 2m distance, for which ‘social distancing’ appears to become a shorthand, but accepts that other biosecurity measures might be appropriate if the 2m rule cannot be followed in the workplace.
Second, the box that previously said:
‘Could the planned intervention have animal health and welfare or public health implications if not carried out within two months?’
‘Could the planned intervention have animal health and welfare or public health implications if not carried out?’
This change recognises that this phase of lockdown-exit may carry on for longer than a two-month period; it therefore leaves it to the clinician’s professional judgement in terms of the implications versus the risk, rather than seeing it within a specific time-period.
RCVS President Niall Connell says: “I’m grateful to the members of our Covid-19 Taskforce for continuing to keep under review our key guidance to the profession during the ongoing pandemic. Whilst these latest changes do not represent any significant changes for vets and vet nurses as they continue to care for the nation’s animals, it is important that we continually keep our guidance in line with that of the UK’s governments.”
The updated flowchart is available to view and download here.
Please join us online at 8pm on Saturday 23rd May, for a fun general knowledge quiz that's suitable for everyone!
Simply pre-register here by clicking on the Zoom link below:
and then pop over to our Just Giving page to make a donation to the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund as they are the BVNA chosen charity of the year (suggested donation £2 per person).
The quiz is just for fun, and sadly no prizes will be given but why not invite your family and friends and be a 'virtual' team.
We will also aim to stream the quiz live onto the VNAM Facebook page but please still register via the Zoom link.
Hope to see you there!
#VNAM2020 #whatVNsdo #VetNurses
BVNA are pleased to announce that we have received a record number of nominations for the vacant seats on Council and therefore we will be, once again, holding an election for 2020.
We had fourteen (14) nominations in total for full (RVN) seats for the coming term and with just six (6) spaces available we invite you to meet this year's candidates, you can find their full manifestos on our website www.bvna.org.uk/elections2020
Polls open on 1 June 2020 for you to be able to have your say on who’s representing you! Each full and student member will be sent an e-mail from BVNA with details on how to vote, check your inbox from 31 May onwards! Polls close at noon on Friday 10 July.
We have also filled one student place with the nomination we have received, you can find out more about your new Student Council Member here.
Do you enjoy the animal behavior side of veterinary nursing; working with owners around socialisation in puppy preschools, discussing techniques for pets that have separation anxiety, and even finding solutions to some of those unwanted dog habits like chewing and digging?! Find your niche and you could become the animal behaviour advocate in your practice - there are a lot of animal behaviour resources, courses and organisations to support you.
BVNA Council Member Alex Taylor, represents BVNA as a member of the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC). Alex says…
“One of my roles on BVNA Council is to act as our representative at the ABTC meetings. This means that I get to see how an important associate organisation functions and makes decisions, which is both interesting and relevant as more and more Veterinary Nurses are becoming involved in animal behaviour. “
“It is so important for Veterinary Nurses to ensure that the emotional and physical health of their patients are looked after, as this improves patient experience and animal welfare. I am really excited to see how Veterinary Nurses can develop their skills further in the field of animal behaviour, as this will not only add another string to our bow, it will have a positive effect on animal welfare too.”
In this blog we talk about who they are; what they do to promote animal behaviour practices in the industry; give advice on how to train to become an Animal Behaviour Technician; and also talk about the Animal Behaviour lecture streams at BVNA Congress later this year.
Who are ABTC?
ABTC are the regulatory body which represents animal behaviourists and trainers in the UK. They are also the only animal charity that “is primarily concerned with protecting the psychological welfare of animals undergoing training and behaviour activities”.
They set and maintain the standards of knowledge and practical skills needed to be an animal trainer, training instructor or animal behaviour therapist, and maintain the national registers of appropriately qualified animal trainers and animal behaviourists.
This ensures that advice and treatment given to pets and pet owners is consistently ethical and of a high standard, and ensures animal welfare is always considered. They also act as a point of contact for registered practitioners around the UK and other animal welfare organisations.
ABTC support a number of animal behaviour training courses for both Veterinary Nurses and Veterinarians and provides a route or pathway to become Behaviour Technicians or Advisors, including:
â Advanced Diploma Applied Animal Behaviour (Level 5) - can be Canine or Feline specific
â Advanced Diploma Applied Animal Behaviour (Graduate Diploma, Level 6)
BVNA have a behaviour statement on the type of courses that are available to veterinary nurses (and the public!) with advice on what you should look for when researching any study in animal behaviour. Some of the points raised are to check that tutors are qualified and members of a professional organisation, and who accredits the qualification (if it is not a CPD course).
Behaviour resources for pet owners
ABTC has many resources and recommendations for animal behaviour on their website. We think these will help with many of the common behaviour advice calls you may have to answer in general practice, such as:
â Puppy Socialisation advice that covers how to prepare a ‘socialisation period’ and how puppies should begin their interaction with different people.
â What kind of Sound Therapy is available to help introduce dogs to the sounds of fireworks, car alarms, kitchen timers and even the sound of a newborn baby crying! There are audio clips that can be streamed directly from the website.
â The ISFM Cat Behaviour advice section covers a lot of behavior and health topics on feline aggression, scratching indoors and house soiling, just to name a few.
BVNA Congress – October 2020
This year, BVNA have an entire Animal Behaviour stream at the annual Congress. Alex Taylor (The Cat Nurse) will be speaking on The Feline Friendly Consult. There are also lectures covering top tips on dog behaviour (including managing aggression in practice!), behaviour advice for rabbits, and some of the pain and stress cues from parrots!
You can check out the Congress lecture programmes and speakers here and don’t forget to register here for the three day CPD and social weekend.
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