BVNA is the representative body for veterinary nurses. We promote the interests of veterinary nurses, and prepare our members for the challenges ahead.Our mission statement and values
Find out about the incredible journey BVNA and veterinary nursing has undergone, hear from some of our industry mavens and see our history timeline.
This is where we are now in 2020 in the form of numbers!
The number of veterinary nurses who have attended BVNA Congresses
Years ago, BVNA was established and continues to grow
Hours of CPD gained watching BVNA webinars
Issues of the Veterinary Nursing Journal
Students enrolled for BVNA's Oral Care Nurse Certificate training course
Lectures at BVNA Congresses
Made up of 14 full Members and 3 student Members, our volunteer council work very hard on behalf of our members.
Albert Holgate DIPAVN (SA)
Clinical Nurse Manager
I currently work for the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital based in Salford in which I hold the Clinical Manager position responsible for a team of both hospital assistants and qualified nurses.
The responsibilities extend to logistics of satellite RSPCA branches and their surgical units and ensure they have the resources they need from a clinical perspective.
In 2007, I qualified as an RVN and went on to gaining the advanced diploma, and since then I have developed an interest in shelter medicine, such examples include, strategies for management of infectious diseases and nursing protocols with population management, veterinary nurse forensics, hoarding and cruelty case management. I have also since graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Clinical Veterinary Nursing at Myerscough College.
I strive to encourage development and the future of the veterinary nurse profession by promoting specific areas of specialisms through postgraduate qualifications such as Shelter medicine, Rehabilitation nursing, Veterinary nurse forensic, oncology and dermatology as examples.
Lastly I feel that sharing my experiences, support and to be a representative of other nurses that face similar challenges from a hearing loss perspective or if they wish to pursue a resource network to their clients that would require additional assistance would prove invaluable.
Albert Holgate DIPAVN (SA)
RVN & BVNA Officer
Alex qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1997 and has a special interest in feline nursing. Alex has completed the ISFM feline nursing certificate, diploma, and advanced certificate in feline behaviour. Alex is currently studying towards gaining her advanced diploma applied animal behaviour (feline). Alex currently works as a locum RVN and runs her own company ‘The Cat Nurse’ where she offers CPD about feline nursing and behaviour. Alex volunteers for her local Cats Protection branch, helping to raise money for local cats in need. Alex has a particular interest in feline nutrition, behaviour and stress related diseases in feline patients. Alex has been a BVNA Council Member since October 2018. Alex is currently a member of the ISFM Feline Wellbeing Panel.
I am currently in my second year studying veterinary nursing at Sparsholt College. My studies have helped to develop my ever-growing passion and enthusiasm for this career whilst also allowing me to meet so many like-minded people who have all been so inspiring.
I would like to use this position on the council to raise awareness and educate the public about all of the amazing aspects of being a veterinary nurse. I want to be a voice for all veterinary nurses and want to push for our professional title to be protected by law.
I feel immensely proud to be part of an amazing profession and grateful that I now get to be a part of its development by becoming part of the BVNA council.
I have been a Veterinary Nurse for nearly 20 years and have always been passionate about providing a high level of care for my patients, and high quality education for qualified and student nurses. I believe it is time to use my passion, drive and experience to help veterinary nurses become the best they can be. To improve our profession and public awareness together.
I have worked in a variety of settings over the years. I qualified in general practice, worked in a referral hospital for 10 years, during which time I specialised in cardiology. I have worked in education since then, teaching degree and diploma courses, and these days, I also locum in general practice to get my nursing fix. I like to think that with the experience I have gained, I have a good grounding of what being a nurse is like, wherever you work. I believe that I am approachable, willing to help, and prepared to work hard. And of course, with our job, a sense of humour is vital!
I have been working as a Veterinary Nurse for 20 years. During this time I have worked in small animal, emergency out of hours, both referral orthopedic and soft tissue theater and I am currently the senior nurse of an exotic only team, located in a busy multidisciplinary referral hospital.
During my time in small animal practice I was the head nurse and built my knowledge and skills in running both logistically and financially a practice and dealing with the challenges that can be faced on a day to day basis. I have been a clinical coach now for 8 years and I am enthusiastic about giving my knowledge and experience to future nurses. I chair an exotic and wildlife veterinary focus groups to implement best practice across an international board of members, as well as working closely with a rabbit specific group.
I qualified in 2018 and had always been in small animal first opinion practices, I now work in a small animal 24/7 hospital and work only out of hours. I have a strong passion for emergency and critical care and I am starting my ECC certificate in October 2020.
My other passions in veterinary nursing are ultrasonography, exotics, ECC and anaesthesia. All of these demonstrate a variety of skills that veterinary nurses can do and further their qualifications with. I thoroughly enjoy learning new practical skills and carrying these out on a daily basis.
During my time on council I’d like to help promote the roles of a veterinary nurse and where their qualification can lead them, the possibilities are endless, raising awareness of what veterinary nurses can do is something I feel strongly about and that we are a profession in our own right and a valued part of the veterinary team.
I am passionate about improving welfare for both animals and humans. Veterinary nurses play a vital part in this and I am keen to help them feel more engaged and empowered.
Since starting nursing in 2007, I have experienced a range of good and bad aspects of the profession. I would like to help ensure that nurses are getting the support, recognition and quality training that they deserve – from being students, through to qualifying, general practice life & career options.
I believe that education and awareness are key to improving welfare and as such, I am dedicated to highlighting relevant campaigns to the public and our colleagues. The BVNA gives nurses the chance to use their common voice to shape their own profession and I am honored be the current President.
BVNA JVP & Practice Manager
Since graduating from the RVC in 2008 I have worked in a variety of small animal and mixed veterinary practice. Since qualifying I have completed the Certificate in Feline Nursing and a Certificate in Canine and Feline Veterinary Nutrition. I have two young children, and a small menagerie of animals at home that keep any ‘free’ time, busy.
I have worked with the BVNA as a regional Co-ordinator since 2014 and was elected onto BVNA Council in 2017. I am incoming President for the BVNA for 2020 - 2021
I am currently representing the BVNA within VN Futures, the RCVS Legislation Working Party and Vet Sustain.
Outside of BVNA I am the practice manager at a Vets4Pets, and I am clinical coach to two SVN's.
Having been in practice since 2008, I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of inspirational veterinary nurses. To me, veterinary nursing is more than simply a job and I would like to empower and inspire other veterinary nurses to find their niche and strive for more. We are a diverse group of people with our own strengths and those should be championed. I have worked in a variety of settings including referral, first opinion, charity and ECC practice, and I adore the challenges each setting brings.
Senior ICU Nurse
Laura qualified as an RVN in 2010, gained the DipAVN in 2014 and graduated from Harper Adams University with a top-up degree in Advanced Veterinary Nursing in 2017. After working in various small animal first-opinion, referral and out-of-hours centres, Laura joined the team at The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre in January 2019, where her include all aspects of internal medicine, feline medicine, oncology and chronic disease care. Laura became a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2019.
I am a newly qualified veterinary nurse, graduating from Hartpury University with a BSc (Hons) degree in October 2019. I am currently working in a busy, first opinion practice in South Wales where I am developing a keen interest in surgical nursing. I hope to complete further education in this field of veterinary nursing in the near future. I absolutely love my job and I try to channel this passion through my use of social media, aiming to educate and inspire other members of the veterinary industry and the public, therefore you may have seen me on Instagram or Facebook as ‘Laura Richards RVN’.
Clinical Nurse Lead RVN / BVNA council member
I qualified in 2009 and have worked in both first opinion and referral practices.
I currently work in a large, busy first opinion practice as clinical nurse lead and I undertake clinical governance procedures, set and review protocols alongside my normal nursing duties.
I am a hugely passionate Registered Veterinary Nurse and still very much in love with my job.
My drivers are to help nurses find their niche, believe in their self-worth and enjoy their jobs to the maximum.
My main interests in practice are OOH, emergency & critical care, anaesthesia & analgesia, quality improvement and Cocker Spaniels! Since qualifying I have completed two additional certificates in ECC and anaesthesia and I feel they have helped me to enjoy my job, even more which is why I am a huge CPD advocate.
My aim on the council is to help work on career progression options, RVN retention and empowerment, raise awareness of what we all do and be a loud, positive voice for our wonderful profession.
Director of Animal Operations
I am proud to have been nursing for 18 years and have seen many changes within the profession but I feel that there is still a lot to do regarding promoting and supporting nurses. I am passionate about my position as an RVN and I am fortunate enough to have had senior and management positions in practice for the last 11 years. I am currently the only nurse on a board of Directors of a very busy independent small animal practice. My key areas of interest are supporting, developing and empowering nurses as well as promoting the nursing profession.
I have worked for several years in general practice but also a spell in a large referral centre. Initially my passion lied with the care of exotic species leading me to hold the veterinary certificate in nursing of exotic species.
Now as the head nurse of the Bury St Edmunds Veterinary Centre my career has moved into another direction. A passion for community nursing, leading into volunteering for StreetVet and supporting the care and welfare for animals and their owners in my local community.
I hope I can promote animal welfare at base roots, which intern will lead to promoting the profession of the veterinary nurse. Encouraging young people to peruse a possible career in the veterinary profession while always encouraging the on going diversity of our veterinary nursing family.
Student vet nurse
I am currently a third year, student veterinary nurse. I am studying via the diploma route and I am loving every second of being a veterinary nurse! It has been a life-long dream of mine to become a veterinary nurse and I am incredibly proud to be part of this profession.
I qualified in 2009 and since starting as a student I have experienced first opinion, large charity practice and management positions. My passion for nursing is as strong now as it was when I first started.
My passion was for ECC and theatre practice. I currently have a certificate in emergency and critical care. As time has gone on my passion has changed towards a more client based practice. Now practicing full time as a consulting nurse I am keen to see more practices bring similar roles in. I will be looking to do a feline based certificate in the future and help promote better health care for our feline patients.
During my time on council I hope to promote the role of a consulting nurse with community out-reach. Also promote diversity and inclusion within the profession and the community. I am keen to encourage more use of fear free practice and help nurses work towards best practice with everything we do. We all need job satisfaction and I want to see more nurses find this by aiming for what they need from their careers
Our Staff Team
A highly experienced and passionate team, driven by the desire to make BVNA the best it can be for its members.
Office and Accounts Manager
Since leaving school in 1982 I have worked for a variety of professions and always within an accounting role. I guess that’s because I’m particularly tidy, methodical, and some would say, way too organised and that’s probably why I enjoy accounts work so much.
I joined BVNA in 1993 with my main responsibility being book-keeper, however I quickly volunteered to take on additional tasks which included processing the association’s membership and exhibitor bookings for congress. I enjoy keeping busy as well as a challenge, so over the years I have worked in many different roles with BVNA and in 2020 changed my job role again to ‘Office and Accounts Manager’.
My main responsibilities are managing the associations accounts and finances, providing management reports and support to the Chief Executive, as well as managing the office, equipment and resources.
I’m always keen to help, provide advice and support from my working history and experiences. I have also made a large number of BVNA ‘friends’ over the years and I’m always on hand if someone wants to know anything about things such as previous projects, contacts, historical information, etc…I often say I feel like the Wikipedia of BVNA!
Outside of BVNA, I enjoy travelling with my husband and have been fortunate enough to visit some amazing places. As we are both qualified PADI Scuba Divers we enjoy this hobby together and have seen some weird and beautiful things below the waves which makes you realise that there really is another world out there!
We also both enjoy skiing and I’ve always enjoyed keeping fit, reading and socialising, as well as cooking and try to cook at least one new recipe a month.
I’m a great believer in finding what makes you happy. Life is precious, so love what you do!
Office and Accounts Manager
I completed my BSc in Equine Sports Therapy in 2014 and, after spending a year as a receptionist in a small animal veterinary practice in Suffolk, in 2016 I moved to work as a Course Assistant for an equine distance learning college near Newmarket. I quickly progressed to the role of Programme Manager, which involved overseeing and teaching predominantly equine veterinary nursing and equine therapy students. I loved experimenting with innovative ways of delivering teaching and online resources – and this led me to pursue the MSc in Veterinary Education at the Royal Veterinary College, which I’m due to complete in 2021.
I joined the BVNA in Summer 2019 as Education Manager, and I’m so lucky and grateful to have a role I absolutely love and which is a perfect fit! The main aspects of my work for BVNA include overseeing our CPD provision, and ensuring this leads to a real impact on professional practice plus future opportunities for development for our members. I also develop our Scientific Programme for our annual BVNA Congress, and finally I have established and continue to co-ordinate a VN Educator Network, which seeks to support UK veterinary nursing training providers and encourage collaborative working.
I live with my partner David in the depths of the countryside on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, and outside work I am most frequently found in wellies! I have a 7-year old Welsh Section D called Hazel, who I’ve owned from a 2-year old and have slowly started her ridden career since then. I’m infamously terrible at cooking (I’m not allowed anywhere near the oven at home), but luckily David is a great chef which makes up for it. I also love exploring other areas of the countryside in the UK – I will walk for hours as long as there is a good pub at the end of it!
I graduated from University in 2013, where I studied Outdoor Leadership. I am very active and it is very rare that I will be sitting down not doing anything! I enjoy skiing, surfing, horse riding and running, and have previously completed several half marathons. My next challenge is to complete a full marathon. I love baking and travelling, and I previously spent 4 months in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada.
I have been at BVNA since February 2019 and I am currently the Membership Administrator. I am responsible for BVNA's membership admin tasks and I manage BVNA’s social media platforms, while assisting with our projects and campaigns.
Chief Executive Officer
I joined the BVNA as Chief Executive in May 2020 during Lockdown!! A strange time to join but the members, officers and staff have been incredibly helpful and I’m looking forward to actually meeting them at some time soon. Before that I had 2 years at Age UK London delivering their Trusted Traders Business Directory and Insurance Products. This was very rewarding as it made a real difference to vulnerable older people, and I met the traders who all wanted to give something back to the community. Before that I was at the North London Chamber of Commerce where I spent 17 years, most of it as Chief Executive. This experience enabled me to use my previous experience in the private sector, and also gave me an insight into working for a membership organisation. The membership business model is unlike anything I had ever come across before during my time in the private sector!! However, I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as growing the membership, and providing a variety of events the opportunity to make a real difference to business, helping them grow and thrive in North London was very rewarding. Representing the views of members to senior influencers, politicians and partners to ensure future support is based on the needs of business.
Originally from South Wales I moved to London when I took up a position with Islington Council and have never moved back, London is my home. I now live in Crouch End North London, with my wife Sadia and my daughter Amelia. We can see Alexandra Palace from my house and are fortunate in that we are surrounded by many beautiful green spaces such as Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House and various local parks. We are quite an active and sporty family and try to be out most weekends. As a Welshman I passionate about Rugby although at school I never played. Being in the Millennium Stadium with 80,000 singing the national anthem is very moving. I do look forward to the 6 nations, and hope that the best team wins, as long as they are wearing RED!!
In spite of my busy lifestyle I manage to keep myself fairly fit and enjoy the odd round of golf, a weekly yoga class and a run when I can motivate myself to do it!! I enjoy the theatre, concerts, eating out and nice holidays and am hoping we can all get back to this sometime soon. I also like to read and as an avid people watcher I enjoy reading biographies, but having a young family means that this usually only happens on holiday. We don’t have any pets, my family had dogs when I was younger. However, I will be looking to spend a couple of days in a practice after Lockdown to broaden my own knowledge and start to understand the real difference our fabulous nurses make.
Chief Executive Officer
Head of Membership & Events
Experienced and enthusiastic professional with a successful history of leadership in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibition (MICE) sector for corporations and not-for-profit organisations. Highly skilled in marketing & comms; member engagement strategies; event production, event programme, research & delivery; digital strategy, SEO and fully integrated channel marketing. A strong business leader with a Postgraduate Certificate in Strategy, Change & Leadership from University of Bristol.
Head of Membership & Events
CPD and Events Executive
I have had a variety of administration jobs from Essex Police to Financial Times Publishing. After being made redundant whilst on maternity leave from FT, I started undertaking temping for an agency and my first assignment was at BVNA! A job came up about 6 months later and I have now been at BVNA for 21 years
Currently I am the CPD and Events Executive where I am responsible for the administration of our Oral Care and Infection Control courses and our Webinar platform. I also manage various aspects of BVNA Congress including the Exhibition and Vet Nurse Avenue, the Awards Ceremony and assist in the organisation and running of the entire event along with the rest of the team.
I have been married to Rob for 27 years and have 2 daughters, Jasmine who is 26 and a Paediatric Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Rachel, 22 who currently works in the retail sector.
The only pets I have at the moment are 2 goldfish who are named after named after West Ham footballers! I love being creative and you can usually find me making fancy dress costumes, carving pumpkins at Halloween, knitting children’s cardigans and sewing dance costumes! For the past 10 years I have been attending street dance and tap classes and joined Harlow Running Club back in February, currently working my way up to being able to run a half marathon (although I’m not quite there yet!)
I also volunteer at the local Dance School, where my daughters used to perform and I attend my classes, on the reception desk and work backstage during the many dance, music and drama productions. They have yet to get me actually on the stage in front of an audience; I think my daughters would die of embarrassment if I did!
CPD and Events Executive
Head of Learning & Development
I qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1985 whilst working at Liverpool University Small Animal Hospital. I moved to Nottingham to work in an orthopaedic referral practice before moving to Mars UK for twelve years. During this time, I managed veterinary practices in the South West area selling clinical diets and educating vets and nurses on nutrition. I progressed to working as the veterinary nurse at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, then on to the Technical Helpline. After training veterinary students on clinical nutrition I moved to Nottingham Trent University to write the FdSc Veterinary Nursing programme in 2008. The course went on to become the highest recruiting FdSc VN programme in the UK in 2015.
In 2019, I jumped at the chance to become the Head of Learning and Development at the BVNA. The main part of the role is as Editor in Chief of the VN; overseeing the articles, mentoring authors and developing the strategy to grow the impact of the journal. The L&D department develop CPD that will enable BVNA members to increase the influence they have on nursing practice.
I still work in a local veterinary hospital on a weekend rota to keep up to date with my nursing skills. My husband worries about which animals I will bring home at the end of a shift.
I have two sons, two dogs, two cats, two chickens and a blue tongued skink. When not looking after the animals I take a gentle jog around the village fields. I don’t often confess to enjoying the original Star Trek series but I am often found watching Marvel films or Disney cartoons.
Head of Learning & Development
How we work for you
Our staff, members and volunteers work tirelessly to raise awareness about the role of a veterinary nurse; to improve the pay and working conditions for veterinary nurses; and to create diversity in the profession through various projects and campaigns.Find out more