It’s no secret that I have always been a strong supporter of the veterinary nursing profession! The respect for my co-professionals developed during my 4th and final years at Bristol vet school, when I realised just how much the veterinary nurses there knew and was grateful for their patient help as I struggled to learn my trade. After graduation, I rapidly recognised that veterinary nurses were my best ally and remember many occasions when a tolerant, understanding one supported and guided me during those early years. That respect has remained with me and 36 years on I still rely on the nursing team that I work with – and not only to find things like scissors or the auroscope when my ‘vet look’ fails me!
However, I wonder what sort of answer we would get if we asked the public what they think a veterinary nurse’s job entails. Or, if we asked our clients whether they appreciate or value what veterinary nurses do in our practices. Sadly, I think the answers may not be as we would like, because I suspect many people have absolutely no idea what veterinary nurses do! I think an awful lot perceive that they spend much of their day, simply cuddling cute animals!
My own feeling is that this is at least partly due to the fact that the work veterinary nurses do is frequently not visible to our clients – so much of it happens ‘out the back’ as we say – which is one of the reasons that I am so keen to encourage veterinary nurses to do more customer-facing work in our practices; to increase their visibility to the public, particularly through roles which carry an air of authority, such as consulting.
Veterinary nurse run consulting services are potentially very rewarding for patients, clients, veterinary nurses and veterinary practices. However, working with clients in a consultation setting requires skills that veterinary nurse training doesn’t provide particularly well. Which is why Brian Faulkner and I decided to develop Consulting Skills training for veterinary nurses. Colourful CPD now offers a variety of options from a short introductory 5-webinar online course, through to an ANCVA accredited Certificate in Consulting (see www.colourfulcpd.com for information). Additionally, in conjunction with Royal Canin, we ran successful Roadshows across the UK in 2019 and expected to repeat them this year.
Sadly, Covid-19 has disrupted those plans, but with the help of The Webinar Vet we are hosting our ‘Making Nurse Consulting work for you and your practice’ Roadshow day online. You can see the full programme here. The 6 hours of CPD include presentations that will give veterinary nurses ideas as well as the skills they need, either to begin to make consulting part of their role, or to expand the service their practice may currently offer. It promises to be an informative and engaging day which we’re making interactive with some fun quizzes and live Q&A sessions and I am especially excited that we have 2 guest speakers – Samantha Payne and Kristi Paul – veterinary nurses who spend all (or almost all) of their time in consulting roles! So, whilst Brian and I will supply, what you might consider the ‘technical info’ about how to consult, including the rules and regulations you need to be aware of, and Clare Hemmings from Royal Canin will have lots of tips to help you incorporate nutrition advice into nurse clinics, Samantha and Kristi will provide you with plenty of inspiration by talking enthusiastically about what they do and why they love it!
Tickets are only £49+VAT and, whether or not you’re able to attend live, the recordings can be accessed for 6 months after the event.
So, why not join us and make 2020 the year that you step forward as a consultant, increase your job satisfaction, celebrate your professional status and enhance the value of the contribution you make in your practice – to your clients, the management team and maybe even yourself!
I hope to see you on July 15th!
Steph Writer-Davies, BVSc, MRCVS.