York – July 2020: Five vet nurses working in a range of clinical settings have been announced as the winners of Animalcare’s Vet Nurse Heroes competition. During Vet Nurse Awareness Month (VNAM) in May 2020, the company called on veterinary team members to nominate nurse colleagues who had consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, particularly since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. It was deluged with nominations and has just announced the five inspirational winners. They are listed below with extracts from their nominations:

Claire Defries, VN Programme Leader at the College of Animal Welfare

Claire was instrumental in developing online training virtually overnight when the national lockdown was announced in order to support vet nurses in training and to enable third year students to sit their finals. She was also commended for the pastoral support she has provided to students during lockdown.

Ellie Tappenden, Albyn Veterinary Centre, Broxburn

Ellie has been working long shifts before delivering regular medicines and ensuring that self-isolating clients are coping. She also created a local support network with other vets and organised a collection of spare PPE for the local hospital. She achieved this while managing her pain from Ehlers Danlos, a degenerative disease which she fights every day.

Tammy Jarvis, RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre, March

Tammy was nominated for the exceptional support she has provided to all 105 patients at the RSPCA centre and the veterinary surgeon. With other staff furloughed, she has also taken on additional duties, including maintenance and grounds management, and has recently started sewing facemasks for the team.

Bethany Lavill, Etwall Vets, Derby

Bethany was nominated for the wide range of additional duties she has taken on, including collecting animals from owners who are self-isolating; coming in after hours to check up on in-patients and supporting bereaved clients. She has gone over and above the call of duty on many occasions and still asks what more she can do to help.

Shannon Mills, Leeds Colton Vets4Pets

Despite a recent diagnosis of epilepsy, student vet nurse Shannon has been a major asset to the team over the last few months. She has willingly covered a range of roles and recently nursed a critical care rabbit throughout the day, whilst manning reception. She even managed to pass her mock exam with flying colours during lockdown with little time to study.

Each of the five winners was rewarded with a Betty’s Gift Box, brimming with treats, including Betty’s champagne truffles, chocolate desires, Yorkshire tea and shortbread.

Commenting, Animalcare Product Manager James Beaumont said: “We wanted our competition to highlight the fantastic contribution vet nurses around the country are making to their colleagues, clients and patients – but the number and quality of entries hugely exceeded our expectations.

“At such a difficult time, the positivity, passion and care that each nomination exuded made reading them a moving experience and selecting only five as winners was no easy task. We thank all those who took the time to nominate their amazing colleagues and thank every vet nurse who was nominated for their extraordinary commitment and dedication.”

About Animalcare

Since 1988, Animalcare has been committed to leading in animal health through innovative and trusted products and services to support the veterinary profession. They offer a wide range of animal health products, pet welfare products, practice equipment and identichip® and identibase® – helping reunite lost pets with their owners. They take pride in delivering outstanding customer service and responsiveness to customer needs.

A sustainable and passionate organisation, they care about the well-being of animals and the positive impact that healthy animals have on their owners and society.