Dear Reader

Today is the first day of the annual RCN congress in Harrogate and the main news story relates to concerns that funding cuts and a subsequent reduction in the number of jobs has placed greater demands on the time that nurses have to spend with their patients. I am sure that most veterinary nurses can relate to this, as it cannot be disputed that good nursing is dependent on sufficient time being available to nurse the patient!

As 1 write this, I am fighting off the onslaught of a summer cold that has unfortunately coincided with the best weekend so far this year for good weather! Whilst coughing and sneezing my way through the day I am reminded of those poor cats that I used to nurse with ‘Cat Flu’ when I was in practice, one look at their ‘hangdog’ expressions would be enough to reinforce the need for lots of intensive nursing and massive helpings of TLC. How do you define Tender Loving Care? Whilst the term sounds a little frothy, I would contend that the very best nurses are able to combine the scientific elements of clinical nursing practice with a focus on the individual needs of each patient and will identify and respond to those needs almost without thinking. The father of reflective practice, Donald Schon, referred to the process of reflection-in-action as the ability to adapt to circumstances and alter one’s practice accordingly. It must be said that whilst training is critical to good practice it must be supported by experience, think back to the first time you placed an intravenous catheter, you may even have been successful in your attempt but I am sure that the process was very unfamiliar and you breathed a sigh of relief once it was completed. Compare that with your approach to the procedure today, repetition of the task has enabled you to undertake it with confidence and to adapt where necessary. However can we turn the debate on its head and argue that experience is actually more important than training – what do you think?

The need to build a trusting relationship with your patients is certainly one of the cornerstones of good nursing practice but how easy is that with the Corn Snake or Gecko? Well it maybe a little one-sided but again the good nurse can use powers of observation and a well-defined routine to build up a picture of the patient. Two of our articles this month deal with the reptilian patient. Emma Whitlock provides an overview of the issues to be considered during anaesthetic nursing whilst Bruce Maclean reviews the care required for the reptile casualty. If like me you dread the warm wet spring evenings because you know that at some point you will be forced out of your car to rescue toads from the road, I am sure you will welcome the opportunity to gain an overview of the treatment of these and other common UK species.

Finally, I am sure that you will enjoy Helen Ballantyne’s insight into the parallel universe that is night duty; I particularly enjoyed the incident of the sleeping dog with borborygmi!


Sue Badger MEd CertEd VN Executive Editor

To cite this editorial use either

DOI: 10.1111/j.2045-0648.2012.00178.x or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 27 pp 206

• VOL 27 • June 2012 • Veterinary Nursing Journal