Innovative Hospital Secondment For Patient Care Assistant Boosts Career Journey
A Patient Care Assistant (PCA) has progressed his nursing career following a secondment offered for the first time at a nearby referral hospital.
After completing his PCA training at Animal Ark Veterinary Centre, a primary care practice in Ilford, Essex, Mohammed Aqib Ashraf was keen to develop his skills in theatre. He successfully applied for a new secondment opportunity at Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Basildon, becoming part of its theatre nursing team for six weeks. Both Animal Ark and Southfields are part of veterinary group Linnaeus.
“I had worked at Animal Ark for just over three years and wanted to gain experience at a referral hospital before training as a student nurse,” said Mohammed.
“I have a particular interest in theatre and was keen to advance my skills to support our patients and the nursing team at Animal Ark. It was very exciting to have the opportunity to challenge and empower myself by testing my knowledge and abilities in this way.”
Mohammed was supported by mentor Kayleigh Bowen, a Registered Veterinary Nurse working as part of the surgical team at Southfields. He completed a theatre support skills list during the secondment – covering topics including hygiene, efficiency and patient preparation – and practised setting up suction and diathermy equipment. Following the secondment, Mohammed has since started his Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.
Laila Liakouras, Clinical Director at Animal Ark, commented:
“It was the perfect time for Mohammed to boost his knowledge and confidence with a secondment at Southfields, and we’re so pleased it was such a success. Mohammed’s commitment to skills development is enabling him to provide excellent patient care, support our nursing team and progress his career. By working together with referral centres, we are able to share best practice in patient care – Mohammed has certainly brought back a wealth of insights that we have implemented here at Animal Ark.”
Emma Hill-Gowing, Nurse Team Leader – Learning and Development at Southfields, added:
“It was a pleasure to host Mohammed for his secondment, which also enabled us to build a closer relationship with colleagues at Animal Ark. This is the first PCA secondment we have hosted at Southfields. We are glad the opportunity is helping Mohammed to thrive in his veterinary nurse training.”
Nurses at all levels within Linnaeus, from new PCAs to established senior leaders, are supported with the group’s nursing strategy and career framework. The framework aims to develop their skills and confidence, enabling nursing teams to be fully utilised in their roles and establish their careers.
Animal Ark is an RCVS-accredited small animal practice and has a cat-friendly clinic silver award from the International Society of Feline Medicine. Southfields, a £16 million referral hospital, offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.