Dear reader

As a VN I often found myself fulfilling many different roles over an eight- hour (plus) shift. You’ve probably seen the cutesy t-shirts and hoodies for sale that play upon this, endlessly listing all the hats we can wear in one day. I even had one in Uni that read: “REAL nurses treat more than one species!” (apologies to my human compatriots!). However, one role that is often left off that list is that of Educator.

How many hours do you spend speaking to clients about pet problems in the home, sharing tips with other team members, giving free advice to family and friends, or even just explaining what it is you do, day-to-day? Most vets and VNs probably find that clients now walk in to the surgery having Googled their pet’s symptoms or conditions. The Internet can be a valuable source of information for clients, but it will often come down to you, the VN, to help owners understand what resources are reliable and which ones are not worth reading. This is especially true when it comes to training and puppy socialisation, an important topic covered in this month’s article entitled “Dogs and Children” by Jody Barry. Given the possible implications of a dog bite for the owner, dog and victim, we must always remember to give accurate and reliable information regarding training. Also in this month is an article on the Links Group, which studies the link between violence against people and animals. Given that VNs are often the most approachable practice member for a client, we may be a source of information or support for clients in vulnerable situations.

We are also Educators for the students or junior staff in our practice and many of us are also Clinical Coaches. This month’s article on equine reproduction by Catherine Lane can help us understand the basics and keep up-to-date with new techniques, especially important for those VNs in small animal practice. We cannot help our students study if we ourselves are not aware of current practice, though it may not be what we do day-to-day. Articles like “A Simple Approach to Blood Gas Analysis” can help remind us about more complicated clinical principles and teach us new ways to help others understand it. This article also has a series of multiple-choice questions so you can quiz yourself, too. If you do the questions, remember to log this in your CPD record!

We are (and now we must be with the new Charter!) self-educators. Continual reading, reflecting and learning is a part of our job. Self-study is about evaluating our knowledge and assimilating new information. “Student”—there’s another role to add to our list! Enjoy this month’s issue.


Megan A. Whitehead Assistant 


DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2015.1030124


• VOL 30 • May 2015 • Veterinary Nursing Journal