Professional

Utilising interpersonal skills to manage challenging client behaviour

Widespread pandemic-related disruption has led to increasingly challenging client interactions. TheBritish Veterinary Association (BVA) found that 57% of veterinary staff surveyed in 2021 reported feeling intimidated by client behaviour during the previous year; a 10% increase from 2019. The psychological impact of consistently difficult or abusive interactions can be significant and contribute to the high incidences of stress, burnout, attrition and potentially suicide increasingly noted in the...

Nurse-led rabbit clinics

Nursing clinics are an excellent time to provide information to prospective and current owners about their pets. Rabbits are an often-overlooked pet and encouraging rabbit owners to attend nurse-led rabbit clinics can help to correct any underlying husbandry issues to prevent disease. Subtle signs of ill health can also be identified during nursing clinics, resulting in reduced morbidity. Of particular note, geriatric rabbit clinics should be performed frequently, as geriatric rabbits are more...

Mask wearing in the veterinary practice

The clinical environment of a veterinary practice relies on personal protective equipment (PPE) for infection and biosecurity control, especially in areas such as the operating theatre room, dental suites and isolation wards. PPE places a barrier between staff and exposure risk and helps prevent the spread of pathogens between animals and staff. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks were mainly required in clinical areas that posed the highest risk. However, as a result of SARS-CoV-2, the...

Quality improvement for patient safety and a better practice culture

This article explores the subjects of quality improvement, patient safety and practice culture, and the relationships between them. These subjects are highly relevant to the care that patients receive — learning more about them can improve our ability to treat animals effectively. A positive practice culture is one that encourages civility, teamwork, a blame-free attitude to errors, and a learning approach for the whole team. Quality improvement is a mechanism to improve standards of care — it...

Chronic illness and resilience in the veterinary industry

Chronic illnesses affect approximately 26 million people in the UK, with 10 million people having multiple conditions. The effect of often ‘invisible illnesses’ can be debilitating in their symptoms, compounded by the associated stigma, fear and anxiety the individuals suffer. This article looks at a small selection of chronic illnesses and their effects, as well as how to help colleagues or staff, and ensure consideration is given to all the team, no matter how ‘healthy’ they appear.

Flexible working: a new way forward to an old concept

This article provides a high level overview around flexible working, an employer and employees legislative requirements and the benefits available to those who choose to embrace flexible working. Flexible working is not a new concept however COVID-19 has had an impact on working patterns that many companies never considered or wanted to implement. The application of flexible working in the veterinary industry is not well explored, which is concerning given the health and wellbeing concerns the...

Flexible working in practice: can it be a win–win?

Flexible working comes in many different forms, from flexible roles, responsibilities, altered hours, or adaptable working environments. Flexibility is a key contributor in building an engaged and sustainable workforce. This article poses questions to consider about how to work in a flexible and sustainable way to benefit you, your team, the patients under your care and your practice both during and in the recovery phase following the pandemic.

Turning surviving into thriving

Are you coping, surviving or thriving at work? Are you aware of what makes a good day for you and what drains your energy? This article offers models to help you practically work through the elements of your day that you can influence to set yourself up for a good day regardless of the cases you see and the challenges you face.

The legal, ethical and welfare implications of feeding vegan diets to dogs and cats

Veganism is on the rise both in humans and in companion animals, with many owners citing animal welfare as their primary reason for adopting a vegan lifestyle. Feeding vegan diet to dogs and cats significantly impacts their welfare as it puts them at undue risk of developing diet-induced disorders, leaving owners liable to prosecution if they are unwilling to adhere to expert recommendations. As commercial vegan diets are a relatively new phenomena, more research needs to be conducted to...

Legal implications of euthanasia without owner consent

A veterinary surgeon and registered veterinary nurse must act in accordance with an animal owner's wishes and should respect their confidentiality. This can cause conflict as animal welfare should also be considered as a priority. Contradictory messages from legislation and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses are confusing, however, guidance from these suggests that animal welfare overrides all. To practice clinical governance, veterinary...

EBVM: a quick guide to evaluating veterinary evidence

The ability to evaluate evidence is a key skill for veterinary professionals pursuing an evidence-based approach to patient care. The evidence available on a particular topic in the veterinary field may be of variable quality though and the strengths and weaknesses of the type of evidence should be considered. The way a research study is conducted can also impact on the validity and reliability of the results presented and aspects of study design, such as control groups, representative samples,...

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