On Sunday 14th October, the BVNA’s Regional Co-ordinators met together at the BVNA Congress for their Annual General Meeting.

The first business was to outline what changes have been made over the last year at the BVNA, including new staff team members and organisation around the BVNA’s three main activities: Membership, Learning and Development, and Congress. The BVNA’s stronger financial performance in 2017 was also mentioned and the subsequent opportunities an increase in turnover and surplus gives to invest in key areas – like a regional presence.

A summary of feedback points from Council’s consultation with Regional Coordinators over the summer was presented and discussed. Positive points were identified including: networking, working with local company reps, having a “go-to” person in Harlow and the value of local contact with members. Some negatives identified included not enough support or recognition, understanding the different challenges faced by the regions and financial target setting for individuals and events.

The recommendations made to Council and agreed at their September meeting were also presented. These comprised changing the name from “co-ordinator” to “representative” to reflect the importance of the responsibility of the role, recognising the Regional Representative as being the face of BVNA in their region. Those present were pleased to hear that the regional network is a key part of BVNA’s future, and an endorsement of them as ‘part of the family’. More central support with administration, financial and guidance was also agreed as well as a more collaborative approach between regions. The importance of CPD and development for Regional Representatives and access to the whole of Council was also confirmed with an invitation to attend the BVNA business planning weekend each year.

Discussion then moved as you might expect amongst nurses to “how will this work in practice?” There was support for the Regional Representative to provide local CPD, local social events, membership support, assistance with Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM) by running an event, linking with local colleges and universities (lectures, Freshers’ Fairs) and taking part in local events for national roadshows.

Your Regional Representatives at Congress 2018 

(Back, L-R) Rhiannon Stundon RVN – South East Wales, Sarah Patrick RVN – Norfolk, Jo Oakden RVN – Leicestershire & Northants, Gemma Reeve RVN – Essex & Suffolk, Emma Gerrard RVN – Welshpool, (Front, L-R) Donna Lewis RVN – Kent,Vyktoria Jackson RVN – North Wales, Nina Holmes – Member Development (BVNA), Claire Grant RVN – South Western, Naoimh Toner RVN – Northern Ireland

The meeting developed an outline timeline and communications plan to relaunch the new Regional Representative network in early 2019. Regional Representatives will be able to start arranging CPD meetings and social events for their region from January onwards.

Nina Holmes was introduced as the new office point of contact for the Regional Representatives. The immediate tasks identified were for her to update key documents and setup social media forums for discussion and updating Regional Representatives.

The meeting closed with thanks for Donna Lewis and recognition of all she has done in her nine years as RCO Team Leader on Council. Exciting times for the new Regional Representative network lie ahead.

We are thinking about recruiting to grow the network and reaching out to interested members. There are plenty of opportunities across the country to get involved and anyone interested should contact Nina in the Harlow office (nina@bvna.co.uk)

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 34 • January 2019