Professional

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,...

Moral distress, compassion fatigue and burn-out in veterinary practice

Concerns regarding compassion fatigue and burn-out in veterinary practice are steadily increasing. Burn-out is defined as the state in which a person feels emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. Work-related stress can have a significant impact on our quality of life and unfortunately lead to burn-out, moral distress and compassion fatigue. As veterinary professionals are exposed to ethical dilemmas and stressful situations daily, it is important that they are aware of the signs of...

Quality improvement, checklists and systems of work: why do we need them?

Missing out one small step in a complex procedure can lead to an error. A checklist is a list of actions that can identify the small but crucial steps which may be missed out. Checklists are just one of the tools used to form a culture of continuous quality improvement (QI) in veterinary practice. QI is about understanding the level of care practices provide and implementing interventions to try to improve it. Checklists have been used in aviation and in human healthcare to reduce errors. The...

Conflict prevention and how to make conflict productive

Conflict in the work place can take many forms and can have both positive and negative impacts on the team. It is imperative that a manager identifies the cause/type of conflict and puts in place the required measures to resolve any issues that may impact on the team's performance and lead to reduced job satisfaction.This article discusses the potential causes of conflict that arise in the workplace such as competing for resources, differing styles, differing perception, conflicting goals,...

Strategies for managing conflict within a team

Conflict is often regarded as an inevitable part of any work environment. Team members will have different perspectives, values, beliefs and goals and, in certain circumstances, these differences may escalate into conflict. While conflict cannot be avoided, it can be minimised and resolved. This article will discuss the strategies required by head nurses/nurse leaders in order to effectively manage conflict within a team.

Ethical dilemmas surrounding 24-hour nursing provision for patients in veterinary practice

Providing suitable 24-hour patient care is a difficult topic for many veterinary practices (VP) and involves many ethical dilemmas to ensure that the patient's, staff's and clients' needs are met. Following rules and regulations to prevent litigation, providing care for good patient outcomes and upholding client expectations at an affordable price, alongside the provision for staff wellbeing makes this a difficult task. Evidence-based research, technology and effective communication skills may...

An introduction to effective leadership of teams

Within a healthcare setting, effective team work is achieved when team members understand, believe in and work towards the shared purpose of caring and working for improving outcomes for patients. This sense of common purpose should however never be assumed. Team leaders should talk about it at every opportunity and ensure all team members are striving towards it within their daily work. Team leaders should develop a ‘teaming strategy’ to plan how their staff will act and work together....

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