March – monthly blog round up

March – monthly blog round up

I’ve recently revamped my regular newsletters and have included a round up of the blogs I have published each month.

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March blogs

A diverse bunch this month! Starting with the dilemmas of buying soft toys knowing that you’re taking them home to mutilate them for OSCE club!

Then theres the gender issue when clients specify ‘the make vet’ and how we can handle it.

Its a yucky one next but I’m sure we’ve all defrosted deceased pets for owners to visit…

Next is the problem with the ‘blame game’ about rehoming pets and I have a confession…

Finally a little clinical conundrum – we love our badges yet they carry a risk. How can we balance identifying our role and maintaining infection control standards?


What happens in OSCE club… – read the blog here


The gender issue – again! – read the blog here


Defrosting deceased pets – yes that happens – read the blog here


The Blame Game in pet re-homing – read the blog here


Infection control VS our hard earned badges… read the blog here



Recruit4Vets blog – an update

Recruit4Vets blog – an update

You might have noticed that a regular blog is missing from the options above – my Recruit4Vet blog has not yet got its own space! This was for a variety of reasons and one issue was navigating the great blogs on the R4V site, I didn’t want to link to a page and make it look like all the blogs were mine when there were a variety of authors.

It now looks like we have that issue resolved and I can add a link to an area where the blogs are mainly by me! You’ll also see they are clearly labelled by author too so there’s no confusion…

Find my recruit4vet blogs here


I took the opportunity in December to look back at the variety of subjects I’ve covered in my nearly 3 years blogging for Recruit4Vets – starting with being asked to blog by The Dark Side, a recruitment company and then looking at all the great information we’ve shared.

Read the blog here

I was really pleased to have written the most popular blogs of 2016 and 207 and wait for the results of 2018 to arrive… which of my years blogs has been the most popular???


The R4V blog has also taken me past some personal milestones that have been important and have really informed my writing. I first started writing for R4V when I was trying to piece my life together during a period of ill health and working out what to do for employment in the longer term.

I can’t believe looking back now that I’ve had successful surgery and am now in a much better place and enjoying a very different work life now.

There are a great many positives and one of them is sharing my story of returning to work and working with health issues. The veterinary world is often a physically demanding one and to be able to still be part of that world means a lot to me and I love sharing this and supporting others in similar situations.

The future

Blogs for Rectuit4vet in 2019 will take a slightly different format as we are looking at ongoing themes for the company and the industry so I look forward to sharing more with you in 2019.


Stay safe and well,

Much love,


A very veterinary Christmas 2018

A very veterinary Christmas 2018


Christmas means so many different things to so many different people it can be hard to blog about the festivities. In the veterinary world we have our own definitions of many key festive phrases and features – I’m afraid we see poison and trauma in the simplest mince pie and garland of tinsel.

For Christmas 2018 I have created a definitive (for now) list of alternative veterinary meanings and also have shared some festive Vet Nurse Dictionary Corners too:

Find the blog here

Find the videos here

While these are a lighthearted way to look at Christmas but theres also the sadder side of this time of year. In clinic we see the awful impact of the impulse purchases of pets as gifts and this year I’ve written not one but two blogs on this subject.

Staying safe online

Firstly there’s a guide on how to spot dubious online adverts and in this case also the Instagram accounts of those who may not be so honest with their information regarding the animals they sell – find out about The Unholy Trinity of online pet sales here.

Trojan Dogs

Then there’s the issues with Trojan Dogs and the situation the UK is in with the current movement of pets across multiple borders. Buying pets online often means they are shipped from abroad and this carries with it its own risks. Thanks to the British Veterinary Association for the information and here’s the blog I wrote.

Christmas should be a fun time so we’d all really like it if you only need to come to the vets for some food or treats or a repeat prescription… but if you need us we’re here – 24/7 365 days a year..

Happy Christmas every one – stay safe and be well

Online pet sales – avoiding the heartbreak this Christmas

Online pet sales – avoiding the heartbreak this Christmas

I’m really pleased to see my early December blog for Vet Times is getting a lot of attention across a number of platforms.

Sadly this festive season there will be heartbreak and tears for many as the poorly puppies and kittens that have been bought online and shipped require urgent veterinary treatment and un many cases don’t make it to the New Year.

It can seem obvious that buying living creatures without seeing them first and then getting them transported across the country – or even further – may not be the best way to get a pet but online adverts can seem very appealing.

This was brought home to me last year during an afternoon out with my dog Hollie. A lady thought that as I had a Peke in a buggy I would understand her desire to buy a Pug puppy… from an account on Instagram!

Check out what happened and how you can spot untrustworthy online adverts – read more here

You might also like to consider my blog for Any UK Vet that supports setting up client information evenings on getting a pet. An idea from a few years ago where pre-pet parties are a way to bond with current and future clients and try to reduce the heartbreak and stress of sickly pets arriving in your consult room very soon after they arrive in their new home.

Part of the evening or afternoon could be getting local rescues to speak and share their available pets, some information from vets and vet nurses on different pets and breeds and their suitability to where you are located. Finally it would appear that educating clients on how to spot untrustworthy online adverts for pets is needed – the more we can share this information hopefully the less appealing a pretty Instagram account will appear.

Check out the blog on pre-pet support for clients here


First opinion nursing – a focus for further qualifications

First opinion nursing – a focus for further qualifications


Earlier this year the RCVS asked for feedback on the proposed changes to the current vet nurse Advanced Diploma – see the news here. The qualification requires re-validation as all qualifications do on a regular basis and this has fallen at a time when VN Futures is looking at career progression and education of vet nurses. 

This has resulted in some possible changes to the qualification including moving the academic level up to a Level 7 qualification and opening up the possibility of shared modules with the vets CertAVP qualification. So far, so good.  

I have already given my feedback to the RCVS through their survey so what I wanted to raise awareness of here was the subject areas that are proposed for the diploma to cover and more specifically one big area that was missing: 

First opinion vet nursing 

We are used to seeing advanced qualifications be based around medical or surgical nursing or ECC or anaesthesia. While all these are worthy CPD routes it strikes me that not everyone may want to become a ‘specialist’ nurse in a specific clinical area and although I have done advanced training in some of these areas myself I consider myself very much a first opinion nurse. A good (I hope!) all-rounder who moves from behavioural first aid in the waiting room to ECC nurse in the prep room and lots in between.  

First opinion, primary or general care whatever title this area is given is sometimes neglected for the specific training needs it has and there are a few facts to support the need to have a ‘general specialist’ qualification for vet nurses: 


  • This is where most vet nurses and vets are employed 


  • Most cases seen don’t ever need a ‘second opinion’ so a complete care journey is achieved by these practitioners 


  • The knowledge held by staff is not ‘general’  


  • These practices provide valuable training and support for student vets and nurses 


There are also the non-clinical aspects of first opinion vet nursing to consider. It is often the nurses who provide the administrative support to allow a practice to function and this covers everything from pet insurance claims to rotas. There is often a level of financial skill needed in sourcing new products and keeping the practice prices competitive but making a profit. First opinion vet nurses are also key in ensuring great communication between the team and with clients and finally as ever I do believe all vet nurses are leaders. 

With all these necessary skills to master and I’m sure you’re thinking of many more right now could it be time to harness suitable training under a First Opinion specialism? 

Could we see a GP AVN qualification added to the RCVS plans for the Dip AVN and bring together the skills needed – nursing, business, management, customer care communication and leadership? I really hope so as we need to be proud of the quality of first opinion care we provide in the UK and celebrate it.