Published: 23 Feb 2024 | Last Updated: 23 Feb 2024 09:05:28

Katie Bacon, a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), is celebrating thirty years of service caring for animals at the institution’s world-leading hospital.

Katie always loved learning about science at school and knew she wanted to care for animals but wasn’t sure in what capacity. During her studies, Katie came across a book about the role of an Animal Nursing Assistant which sparked her interest in caring for animals in a clinical setting.

After school, Katie began her career at Wood Street Vet Hospital in Barnet where she worked in the practice during the weekdays and studied a veterinary nursing course in London on a half-day leave each week and during the evenings.

Katie qualified in July 1993 and joined the RVC’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (QMHA) in December 1993 as a medicine nurse. In 1994, Katie moved into emergency care at the hospital.

As an Emergency and Critical Care RVN, Katie is part of the advanced veterinary team that cares for the sickest patients who may be emergency, trauma, medical, neurological or post-surgical cases. Katie’s nursing role includes supporting all of her patient’s needs including monitoring their overall health, administering medication/fluids, pain management, diagnostics such as blood work and providing lots of love. Many of the patients in the emergency department require intensive nursing care including managing catheters, drains and wounds - this can often be on a one-to-one basis.

During her long career dedicated to caring for animals, Katie’s highlights have been witnessing the introduction of the cardiac bypass programme at the RVC and achieving successful mechanical ventilation outcomes. Katie also remembers caring for the first Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) patient (also known as Alabama Rot, CRGV is a rare, potentially life-threatening, disease in dogs) and the post-operative nursing of hypophysectomy (surgery to remove the pituitary gland) cats at the hospital.

Katie chose to work at the RVC because of the diverse range of experts at the institution who each have a variety of skills, experience and backgrounds. Katie was also keen to benefit from the vast development opportunities to support her passion for nursing as the RVC offers its staff a host of study, research and career development options, including Postgraduate and CPD courses.

Katie is about to embark on the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation (RECOVER) course certified by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and endorsed by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.

To celebrate the special anniversary, her team at the RVC organised the delivery of some beautiful bespoke cupcakes.

Speaking on her role, Katie Bacon, RVN at the RVC, said:

I fell into emergency and critical care quite early and fell in love with it. The work is so dynamic; you never stop learning. It’s hard and challenging but the pleasure at the end of the day is that your skills and knowledge have helped our patients. I love how hands-on I can be with them – that’s my style of nursing. What you put in is what you’ll get out, but it is a team effort - we can’t work without the vets, patient care assistants and other support roles.

“We can’t save all patients, but I can do my very best to work with the team to give the patients the best chance – it’s always about the patient.

“To celebrate 30 years at RVC’s Queen Mother Hospital is fantastic, I still love my job and I look forward to continuing to work with all my lovely colleagues.”

Vicky Lipscomb, Professor of Small Animal Surgery and Clinical Director of Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the RVC, said:

“Katie is quite simply phenomenal at her job, which she goes about in an understated way giving every patient 100 percent dedication and the highest standards of expert care.

“Katie is encouraging and patient with students and her positive approach to work is hugely supportive to all her colleagues. I have relied on Katie many times over the years and feel very lucky to work with her.”

To find out more about studying to be an RVN at the RVC, please visit their website.

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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London.
  • It is one of the few veterinary schools in the world that hold accreditations from the RCVS in the UK (with reciprocal recognition from the AVBC for Australasia, the VCI for Ireland and the SAVC for South Africa), the EAEVE in the EU, and the AVMA in the USA and Canada.
  • The RVC is ranked as the top veterinary school in the world in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2023.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • The RVC is a research-led institution, with 88% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

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