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:

The Referral Nursing Professional Development (RNPD) programme in Anaesthesia and Analgesia (accredited by the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists) with a Surgical Nursing RNPD ran its first cohort in September 2021. More of these courses are in the development.

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 three cohorts per 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.

Senior Nurse Forums run three times a year and are a place where Heads of Nursing Services, Clinical Nursing Managers and Group/Regional Nursing Managers are updated on business and finance, CPD, quality and have a focused session delivered by one of our four pillars.

I find the Senior Nurse Forum an incredibly helpful resource as it gives me the opportunity to collaborate with other enior nurses within the group. Being able to share ideas, SOP’s and provide support to each other through shared challenges is a real benefit.

We run specific Nurse Manager sessions for our nurses across primary care and small site referrals four times a year where we focus on a specific non-clinical topic.

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.

Heads of Nursing Services (HoNS) have the opportunity to join a teams call every six weeks which focuses on one area such as budgeting, team development or Quality. Within these calls we also encourage the HoNS to network with each other leading to further peer support and collaboration within the HoNS community.

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.

claire robertsClaire Roberts Dip AVN(Surg) PGCertVetAA VNCert ECC RVN
Professional Development Manager

I joined Linnaeus as one of the Professional Development Managers in February 2020 focusing on the development of our nurses across our Primary Care practices. Within this role I am responsible for the coordination, development and implementation of professional development provision. I have a particular interest in supporting interprofessional learning opportunities, which I achieve by working closely with the medical education team. I am committed to supporting our nurse leaders so that they are confident within their role as part of their practice senior leadership team. I am passionate about supporting nursing teams to be developed so that they can be fully utilised. Ensuring that they are doing everything that they can do and be able to grow the nursing services appropriate for their individual sites.

I am passionate that our veterinary nurses are positioned within their teams to become leaders, support career progression and utilisation of the nursing team as a whole.

I have been working in veterinary nursing for over 25 years and have experience working at senior level in private, charity, emergency practice. I have also worked in education and industry and have had the opportunity to lecture at many major conferences.

Throughout all my roles I have had a keen interest in education, always supporting my nursing teams to deliver the highest nursing care possible. This led me to launch my own CPD company in 2010, which offered bespoke, in-house CPD to the whole veterinary team. It was through this that I could see the value of supporting whole teams to learn together and make change as a team.

In April 2020 I was voted in to join RCVS VN council, where I am also the nurse representative on the RCVS Standards Committee, RCVS CPD compliance Panel and the RCVS Environment and Sustainability Group. This is an opportunity that enables m e to be the voice of the veterinary nursing population regarding a number of important topics.

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.

helen farrantHelen Farrant BSc (Hons) Cert Ed RVN
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.