The RVC recently celebrated the tenth intake of students to the Graduate Diploma in Professional and Clinical Veterinary Nursing.
Since its inception, 132 Registered Veterinary Nurses have completed this unique distance learning course. It is designed to enhance RVNs’ knowledge bases, skills and motivation.
Alison Devonshire, a course alumni currently based in Suffolk, offers insights into her career, the course and how it has helped her in her work: “I took on a permanent role in a first-opinion and ophthalmology referral practice. I liked the sound of the course and I know several people who had studied at the RVC before who recommended it. It provided realistic, useful learning for nurses looking to further their knowledge and career prospects.”
“The course can be hard going at times and you need to make sure you can commit the time to study. The anaesthesia module really ignited this area of interest for me. I have gone from being terrified of ventilators to loving them and using them every day. I also really enjoyed the ethics module. As a result of studying this area I applied for and was appointed as the VN panel member on the RCVS Ethics Review Panel.”
Alison added: “The distance learning worked well for me as I was working part-time at the time of completing my studies and supporting a young son starting school. The onsite learning at the start of the course was a good starting point for learning the study skills and writing style required. The RVC gave me lots of support. Any concerns were always responded to quickly and I was encouraged to stick with it. I’m so glad I did, particularly when I found out I came third in the final marks for my cohort.”
The positive impacts experienced by the student are felt with the wider team, as Alison’s colleague Lynsey Sadiwskyj, Practice Manager, explains: “Having a diploma-holding RVN in practice is extremely valuable and benefits the practice team, the patients and therefore our clients. Ali is a huge resource to the student veterinary nurses providing training and development to the rest of the nursing team and, in turn, increasing our level of clinical capabilities.”
She added: “As a result of having Ali on our nursing team, we are able to offer our patients outstanding levels of care due to her interest and increased knowledge of anaesthesia and analgesia. This is something that can set us apart.”
“Upon completing the Graduate Diploma I took up a Head Nurse position at a mixed, small animal practice, where I currently manage a team of 15 RVNs. I also trained as a clinical coach and support both degree and diploma SVNs starting out on their career in veterinary nursing. Completing the GradDip has allowed me to manage and assess cases more thoroughly. I found the staff support and the ability to utilise the RVC facilities really helpful while completing the GradDip.”
Positive impact on vet profession
Perdi Welsh, Course Director, commented “Our students come from a wide-range of clinical practices – ranging from small, first-opinion practices to large referral and specialist centres. We are really impressed by the work quality and their dedication to study. Through weekly online activities, we see how they apply their new knowledge and evidence-base to patient care and problem-solving within their practice. The number of peer-reviewed published journal articles written by our Grad Dippers, and their amazing achievements after gaining their qualification, shows how they are contributing positively and proactively, not just to veterinary nursing, but the veterinary profession in general.”