Professional development is carried out through various channels such as:

  • By providing clear and realistic routes for career progression with the aim of providing a long and fulfilling career
  • Identifying training needs within practices through regular meetings with nursing leaders, feedback from nurses and skills scanning to identify areas of weaknesses and working with our own resources within the business to attempt to narrow any knowledge and skills gaps
  • By ensuring that nursing skills are utilised to increase job satisfaction, deliver best patient care and provide an efficient flow of patients throughout the business units
  • Through encouraging a culture of lifelong learning by providing resources and CPD content to all levels of nursing teams
  • By encouraging networking of nurses throughout the practices to provide a supportive environment
  • Through a structured induction programme for all new nurses joining us so that they feel supported and confident.

Nursing Development Examples:

We have developed Referral Nurse Professional Development Programmes for nurses working within referral settings. Disciplines where these courses are available are Anaesthesia and Analgesia, Surgical Nursing, Internal Medicine, Neurology and, new for 2023, Inpatient Care.

It’s been the best CPD course I’ve undertaken since my RVN training. Often with CPD, you’re lucky to take home 20% of useful info/skills with you or often don’t utilise what you learnt afterwards. I have taken so much from the course and continue to use the skills on an everyday basis.

The Primary Care (PC) AVA accredited anaesthesia modular course was launched in January 2021. We run monthly cohorts throughout the year with nurses gaining the knowledge and confidence to take their learnings into practice to share with their colleagues, carry out audits and maintain excellent patient care.

I really enjoyed the course; it has prompted many improvements in our SOPs and also communication as a team as we are all learning alongside each other and aiming towards the same goal. This made me feel more involved in the decision process in improving our way of working.

We run Nursing Team Leadership Support Sessions for our nursing leaders across all Linnaeus businesses, which are focussed on themes requested by nurses in these roles. Examples of topics covered in 2022 include Meaningful Conversations and Absence Management.

Being new to the lead nurse role, these sessions have really helped me to navigate my new responsibilities, as well as helping me improve aspects of my role that I have been doing for a while.
These sessions are informative, supportive, inspiring and invaluable for effective team leadership.

The Professional Development team have regular meetings with our Regional Nurse Managers and Heads of Nursing Services to discuss more bespoke areas for development required by nursing teams with training being organised as and when necessary.

I really liked the opportunity to meet and share ideas with individuals in a similar role with added responsibilities. I think sharing ideas and thoughts and feelings about certain topics definitely helped me with my confidence. I now feel if I needed to ask others for advice I have contacts within Linnaeus who I could approach, separate to those colleagues who I work with day to day.
I find the HONS group to be a supportive environment to share ideas while advancing my knowledge and experience in a leadership role.


Introducing our Professional Development team

Our Professional Development Managers are a team of four RVNs with a wealth of different experiences and backgrounds who run the PD team to complement this pillar of the nursing strategy fully.

Although the VN Central Support Teams work within four individual pillars, we often collaborate on projects, share relevant information and hold regular meetings to ensure that we are using our skills and resources to the absolute maximum.

helen farrantHelen Farrant BSc (Hons) Cert Ed RVN
Lead Professional Development Manager

I started my nursing career in a small animal clinic in East London and went on to work in a variety of practices, including mixed practice and small animal hospitals before moving into education, working at a large FE college. Previous to joining Linnaeus, I was Training Manager for a large group independent practice in London for 17 years and was responsible for in-house CPD provision and training for the nursing and client care teams, and for running the Group’s College, teaching the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, Veterinary Nursing Assistants and Functional Skills qualifications. I am an OSCE examiner, an Education Consultant and I sit on the Editorial Board of the VN and the Advisory Board of the BVNA.  

I joined Linnaeus Central Support in 2021 as a Professional Development Manager with a focus on primary care. I am excited by the opportunities which are available to the nursing team within Linnaeus and to work on developing these going forward. I am a passionate advocate of the veterinary nursing role and particularly enjoy supporting career development to ensure that nurses can utilise their full skill set and enjoy a fulfilling and long-term career in veterinary nursing.

vicky ford fennahVicky Ford-Fennah BSc (hons), RVN, VTS (anaesthesia/analgesia), A1, VPAC
Professional Development Manager

I graduated from Bristol University’s Veterinary Nursing and Practice Administration Programme in 2006, having qualified as a Veterinary Nurse earlier that year. I was employed by Bristol Universities referral hospital - Langford Veterinary Services, as an Anaesthesia nurse. During my time at Langford I gained Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) Status in Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2013. In late 2018 I moved to an FE college, lecturing and providing IQA support. I have contributed to anaesthesia chapters in small animal and equine Veterinary Nursing Textbooks and lectured widely. I was a member of the RCVS VNFutures working party looking at Post-Registration qualifications and was the Nurse/Technician Representative for the Association of Veterinary Anaesthesists between 2017-2021.

I joined Linnaeus as one of the Professional Development Managers in February 2020 with my focus being on the nursing Associates within our referral practices. Within this role I am responsible for the coordination, development and implementation of professional development provision. Working in conjunction with Field Nursing Manager (ref), ensure nursing teams have the necessary skill set to support an effective structure that supports the needs of both the business and nurse development, aligning with the nursing strategy. I see Veterinary Nurses as pivotal within the team required to provide excellent and innovative patient care and central to a successful referral practice.

alison mannAlison Mann BSc (hons), Dip AVN (small animal), AFHEA, RVN
Professional Development Manager

I joined Linnaeus central support in June 2021 as a professional development manager. I am so pleased to be working within VN central support as I have a real passion for supporting RVNs throughout their careers, whether that is as a newly qualified RVN, a leader and everything in-between! I am a huge advocate for RVNs using evidence-based veterinary medicine to help steer their clinical decision making and also enjoy encouraging and helping nurses with other achievements such as publishing articles, carrying out clinical audits and producing CPD.

Previous to this I worked for 11 years at Langford Vets Small Animal Referral Hospital. During my time there, I held a couple of different roles. My most recent role was as Head Theatre Nurse, but before that, I worked within the VN unit to help deliver teaching to undergraduate Veterinary Nurses. Outside of this I have spoken at various conferences and contributed to CPD for different CPD providers.  I am also on the editorial board for the Veterinary Nursing Journal.