Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

In my current role, my time is divided between organising / authoring / running examining OSCE exams for Vet / Nurse student courses and teaching clinical skills to RVC students across the courses. I also have to manage the various requirements of the CSC as well as host other international University visitors who are in the process of setting up their own CSCs and advise accordingly. I enjoy my role !

Background : - varied !

Previous Work History

  • Ministry of Defence trained Technical Illustrator from 1981 – 1990

  • Retail clothes shop owner 1988 – 1990

  • Night club Manager / Pub landlady 1990 – 1995

  • MD of Lifestyle Management Company1995 - 1997

  • Trainee VN 1996 – 2002

  • Qualified as RVN August 2002 with Distinction

  • Joined the RVC in May 2003 as a Nurse Educator in the about to be set-up new CSC

  • PgCert Med Ed 2009

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Feb 2010

  • Diploma in Veterinary Education 2010

  • Master of Science Degree in Veterinary Education June 2012

  • FZSL October 2012

  • Liaising with student support regarding students with learning difficulties or medical issues and the best course of action to help.

  • Active member of NOVICE. (National Online Veterinary Independant Clinical Education)

  • Winner of the James BeeTeaching Award 3 times. latest in 2016-17, Student Award of 'Outstanding Practical Teacher'.

  • Joint Book Editor "Veterinary Clinical Skills Manual" CABI, May 2018

  • VetEd Science Committee member for 2019 onference

  • Peer reveiwer for JVME

I am also a first aider & Area H&S supervisor I also liaise with student support regarding students with learning difficulties or medical issues and the best course of action to help. I have undetaken a suicide prevention training course and am now trained to deliver this to others



Research Interests

  • The cognitive processes that occur during practical skills acquisition.

  • How to facilitate good practical skills acquisition (is it possible to ‘teach’ these skills, or is it relative to experience?).

  • Dyslexia and other learning differences – how best to help.

  • Maths teaching – why do some people ‘get it’ whilst other don’t and how can this be changed?

  • Brain differences – is this offset by other abilities, eg, very practical or very academic?

  • Is there a ‘teaching personality’? – what qualities make a ‘good teacher’?


  • S. Baillie, N. Booth, A., Catterall, , Crowther. E, M. Dilly, R. Fio Rito, R. Langebaek, M. O’Reilly, E. Read. 2015 : “A Guide to Veterinary Clinical Skills Laboratories” A booklet guide published under creative commons licence, Higher Education Academy, UK.

  • N. Coombes, I. Vincent, 2015 : “Animal Handling Assessments: when, where and how to assess students, focussing on the use of live animals v manikins.” Delegate workshop, VetEd Symposium, Cambridge University, Uk.

  • N. Coombes, I. Vincent, A. Langridge, F. Brown, 2015 : “The pastoral side of a Clinical Skills Centre – getting to the heart of the matter” Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Cambridge University, UK.

  • I. Vincent, N. Coombes, A. Langridge, F. Brown, M. Pead, W. Mace, J. Sanger, 2015 : “From OSCEs to DOPS for animal handling exams at the Royal Veterinary College – Why?” Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Cambridge University, UK.

  • J. Mullard, R. Weller, N. Coombes. 2015 : “An Equine Clinical Skills Circuit” Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Cambridge University, UK.

  • R. Lumbis, N. Coombes, 2014 : “The who, what, when, where, why and how of OSCE’sPresentation at VETNNET Conference, Slovenia. (Veterinary European Transnational Network for Nursing Education & Training)

  • N. Coombes, R. Lumbis. 2014 : “OSCE’s, What, where and how to write” Delegate workshop at VETNNET Conference, Slovenia

  • R. Weller, N.Coombes, S. May. 2014 : “Students as creators : examples and publication output of student-led pedagogical research projects.” Poster presentation,  Vet Ed Symposium, Bristol University, UK

  • C. Goetschel, R. Weller, M. Bennett, N. Coombes. 2014 : “The Development and Evaluation of an Equine Endoscopy Simulator”. Poster presentation, Vet Ed Symposium, Bristol University, UK.

  • M. Bennett, C. Goetschel, N. Coombes, R. Weller, 2014 : “The Design and evaluation of an Equine Nasogastric Tube Simulator”. Poster presentation,  Bristol University, Vet Ed Symposium

  • M. Dilly, E. Crowther,  M. O’Reilly, E. K. Read, N. Booth, N. Coombes, R. Langebaek, R. Fio Rito, S. Baillie. 2014 : ‘Developing a Guidebook to Veterinary Clinical Skills Laboratories’ Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Bristol, UK.

  • S. Baillie, E. Read, N. Coombes, M. O’Reilly. 2014 : “100 uses of Ikea dogs” Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Bristol University, UK.

  • S. Baillie, A. Catterall, E. Crowther, N. Coombes , M. O’Reilly, N, Booth, E, Shafer, E. Read, 2013 : “An international online group for discussing and sharing ideas related to veterinary clinical skills” Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Dublin University, Ireland.

  • N. Coombes, N. Booth, 2013 : “Promoting Effective Learning” HEA Workshop & Seminar Series 2012 – 13 : Teaching and Learning Veterinary Clinical Skills. VetEd Symposium, Dublin University, Ireland.

  • M. Pead, N. Coombes, 2013 : “How to improve a Structured Clinical Assessment.”  Workshop, VetEd Symposium, Dublin University, Ireland.

  • E. Crowther, N. Booth, N. Coombes, S. Baillie, 2012 :  “Veterinary Clinical Skills: Online Collaboration and Moving Forwards”. Higher Education Academy Newsletter

  • N. Coombes, I. Vincent, A. Langridge. 2011 : “Integration Clinical Skills Teaching into the RVC Curriculum – How is it done?” Poster presentation, VetEd Symposium, Nottingham University, UK.

Teaching Role

Full-time clinical skills teacher for undergraduate / post graduate RVC students, including, BVetMed, BSc/ Foundation Nurses. Within this role I organise the CSC Principles of Science BVetMed teaching which delivers 396 teaching hours to BVetMed 3

Ad hoc 1:1 teaching of students in CSC as requested.

Post-DOPs exams remedial student teaching.

Teach communication skills and facilitate in communications skills sessions.

Teach on the Feline Elective, Derm & Ophthalmology Modules, BVetMed1 Animal Handling Module

Nursing tutor:- roles including pastoral, formative assignment feedback, responding to online blogs

Widening participation:- teaching of outside student visitors

Teaching Awards

  • James Bee Educator Award – Joint 2004/05

  • James Bee Educator Award – Solo 2009/10

  • James Bee Nomination - Solo 2011/12

  • James Bee Award 2016-17 "Student award for outstanding practical teacher"

Assessment Role : -

  • OSCE coordinator, assessor, author, facilitator of new OSCEs
  • Standard set / edit nursing OSCEs for Hong Kong.

  • Standard set Nursing MCQ / OSCE Exams

  • Co - Author of the DOPs 3rd Year animal handling exams, author of stations, assessor.


No time for clinical !

I frequently teach widening participation students in the CSC and have been to schools as well.

I have advised various charities on Clinical Skills related topics.

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