BVNA recently launched our new team of ‘BVNA Advocates’, a role which has evolved from our network of regional volunteers. The Advocate team is made up of six enthusiastic and proactive RVNs, from a variety of different backgrounds and career paths, who engage with the profession to organise online and in-person CPD on behalf of BVNA.

In this blog, we meet Carly Kilby, an RVN based in the South West, who is a long-standing BVNA supporter. Carly discusses her career path so far, along with why she chose to apply to become a BVNA Advocate, and what she enjoys most about volunteering.

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“Hello! My name is Carly Kilby and I’m a registered veterinary nurse. I am currently a referral anaesthesia nurse at Bristol Vet Specialists.

“My journey started in 2001, so I won’t bore you with 23 years of nursing history! I qualified in 2006 while I was working in a mixed farm/small animal practice. I loved it, but when I decided to move on, I ended up at another mixed farm/small animal practice! My time in practice was interrupted with travelling, where I used my VN passport to help animal charities in Thailand and India. Mix in a bit of neurology referral, first opinion nursing, a couple of certificates and some locuming… and here I am!”

Why did you choose to put yourself forward to become a BVNA Advocate?

“During my time in all practices I’ve ever worked in, I have encountered amazing veterinary nurses who are so dedicated to their job role. They’ve diversified, specialised, grown cobwebs where they’ve been in the same place for so long. It just highlights how we can make our role work for us as individuals, as well as enhancing the services of the practice. I wanted to be a part of individual development and growth to support these nurses in their chosen role, provide them with resources and give them more opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills.”

What do you enjoy about being a BVNA Advocate?

“I love watching people take notes. In-person events are so valuable when it comes to learning, and I enjoy seeing people’s faces when a little gem of information comes up. I enjoy getting like-minded nurses together in an educational environment, and listening to the great feedback we receive.”

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your veterinary nursing career?

“My nursing career has been lengthy, and I’ve got at least another 10 years to go before my knees say stop! I’ve never wanted to do anything else, so it’s difficult to imagine myself dressed in anything but scrubs. Because of the length of time in practice, I can honestly say I’ve learned to persevere. To try new things, mix it up, settle down, do more study, promise myself not to study again… I’ve learned to pursue what feels right. I’ve had career wobbles and considered lecturing, working in insurance – but actually it wasn’t my career I wanted to change, just my place of work.”

How do you spend your time outside of work?

“Outside of work I make sure I get plenty of fresh air. I go for runs and walks with my dogs. I’m also a scout leader, which allows me to give back to my community and provides exciting opportunities for young people in my village and surrounding areas. I like the fact I’m in a position where I can volunteer for my community and volunteer for my profession.”

What excites you about the future of veterinary nursing?

“My current place of work has definitely highlighted the extensive areas of specialism veterinary nursing brings. With nurse-led wards, cancer treatment services and intensive care, to name but a few empowering roles. The position of veterinary nurses in practice is shifting, and there is more demand for us to find something that interests us and share our knowledge with our pet carers and peers. Specialisms and interests create a balanced team, and enables veterinary nurses to progress and find their niche.”

View our upcoming CPD events, including regional and online events organised by our BVNA Advocate team, on the BVNA website here: