- Veterinary Professionals
- Referring a case
- Referred Case Registration Form
- Cat Friendly Clinic – Gold Level
- Pet Blood Donor Sessions
CPD at Willows
- External CPD by Willows Clinicians
Willows Scientific Publications
- Internships at Willows
- Nursing at Willows
- Veterinary Professionals Newsletters
- Veterinary Professionals
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Willows has a friendly, skilled and highly professional team of around 40 Registered Veterinary Nurses who play a vital role in the care of our patients, whether they have been referred to us by other vets or belong to clients of our primary clinic. The nurses provide support for more than 30 vets who work at Willows either in the specialist referral disciplines, the primary clinic or in our internship programme.
Willows is superbly equipped and also has some of the country’s leading veterinary Specialists working in the disciplines of orthopaedics, ophthalmology, spinal surgery, neurology, medicine, soft tissue surgery, oncology, cardiology, dermatology, imaging and anaesthesia. Our philosophy is one of giving the highest quality of patient and client care. This approach, along with the support from over 30 Veterinary Nurse Assistants,Student Veterinary Nurses, Animal Care Assistants and dedicated Receptionists, gives the opportunity for our nurses to concentrate on nurse related activities and to work at the highest level.
We have a 'one team' approach which helps to generate a friendly, supportive and co-operative atmosphere all practice personnel, whatever their role or qualifications.
All our staff, including nurses, have regular appraisals and the practice has a well structured management system in place which allows members of staff to give feedback, air their ideas and often to have them implemented. We also have regular nurse meetings and provide nurse newsletters which are circulated in addition to our weekly practice newsletter for all members of staff.
Investors in People at Willows
Having achieved the Investors in People Bronze award back in November 2012, we are extremely proud to announce that Willows have now achieved Investors in People Silver award, achieving a higher level than the nationally recognised Investors in People ‘Standard’ award. The award concentrates on areas such as communication systems, employee development, performance management and training. It provides formal recognition of how deeply staff, including our nurses, care about the work undertaken here and how they recognise that their individual contribution helps to provide excellent care for all our clients and their pets. We remain firmly committed to excellence and to continual improvement in every aspect of what we do, including the ongoing development of our fantastic team of staff, of whom we are immensely proud.
Career opportunities and training at Willows
Starting work at Willows
Working in a referral practice may seem a daunting prospect, but in fact the vast majority of nurses at Willows have come to us from a general practice background and, with the continued growth of the practice, continue to do so. All newcomers to the nursing team are given a warm and supportive welcome – any training which is required is fully structured and accompanied by a well organised induction process, including mentoring by a nominated member of the nursing team.
It is our belief that, provided a nurse with a general practice background has the right attitude and aptitude, we are able to give them all the skills that they need to work within a specialist referral environment and to do so in an enjoyable and rewarding way. It is worth noting that basic nursing skills are just as important and just as frequently applied within a referral practice setting as in any other small animal practice environment – our nurses do not lose sight of this, or lose touch with the fundamentals of excellent patient care!
Further personal development opportunities
In addition to continuing their general duties, many of the nursing team will gain the opportunity to become trained in the nursing related to certain areas such as MRI scanning, muscle relaxant anaesthesia, phacoemulsification (cataract) procedures, thoracic surgery, joint replacement procedures, intensive care and much more!
Additional, more specific nursing specialisation opportunities also arise from time to time – for example we have nurses who work primarily in certain areas of our hospital e.g. in the surgical suite, treatment room, wards and imaging suite, as well as nurses who work mainly with our internal medicine patients. These appointments are very often made internally, from within our general nursing team.
We have a track record of nurses gaining the Diploma qualification while working at the practice, and at any given time there are several nurses going through their Diploma training – this is fully funded by the practice. Because of the highly varied caseload at Willows, our nurses are ideally placed to be able to take the Diploma training in their stride and apply their new-found knowledge in their day to day work.
CPD for nurses at Willows
Our nurses are given great opportunities to undertake CPD.
We have numerous in-house CPD meetings every year for nurses, run either by other members of the nursing team, or by our veterinary surgeons. These are specifically tailored to our nurses’ needs and to the practice’s ways of working.
In addition to in-house CPD, our nurses are encouraged to attend external CPD meetings, whether at BSAVA Congress, BVNA Congress or at other local or national CPD meetings. A generous budget is provided for this each year. Willows also runs evening Forums for vets and nurses from outside the practice, using our own speakers – Willows nurses can attend if space allows.
All these opportunities for CPD allow our nurses to grow in confidence, learn new skills and maintain their enthusiasm and interest in their careers, at the same time as meeting RCVS requirements for Registered VNs.
Willows nurses, the public and the profession
Those of our nurses who feel comfortable to do so give presentations at our evening CPD Forums and contribute to other CPD provision, such as speaking at congresses. Some of our nurses visit local practices with our Specialists to run training sessions for vets and nurses on topics such as wound closure and CPR. Others have written articles for journals or contributed to chapters for veterinary nursing textbooks. Several of our nursing team also assist with Willows in-house training sessions for our own nurses and other members of the clinical support staff.
Some members of our nursing team regularly help at careers evenings in local schools and assist with practice open days and open evenings. Our nurses have been actively involved with promotional activities such as BVNA National VN week, helping at Willows’ stands at Crufts and at BSAVA Congress.
All of these activities are not only rewarding but also help to raise the profile of Registered Veterinary Nurses, both within the veterinary industry and amongst the general public.
Additional benefits of working at Willows
In addition to a well structured induction and training programme, real career development opportunities and the ability to apply nursing skills in a superbly equipped and staffed environment, our nurses benefit from:
- a generous salary structure
- salary increases based on performance
- generous payments and compensatory time off for any night work undertaken
- time off in lieu for any Public Holidays worked
- additional days of holiday accrued after five years service
- generous CPD allowance
- BVNA and RCVS membership paid by the practice
- pool bicycles provided for use during lunch breaks
- uniform provided
- membership of an employee rewards and benefits package
- a non-contributory pension equating to 3% of salary
- endless tea, coffee and squash (and butter!) in the staff room!
Can I see practice at Willows?
We are always pleased to welcome nurses who would like to see practice at Willows.
Some comments made by nurses who have seen practice with us:
Everybody was always friendly and ready to help, and you all cared for me so well that I felt really welcome here.
I have learned a lot and have seen many interesting things!
It was brilliant to have the opportunity to see all areas of veterinary medicine provided at Willows
Thank you to you and everyone else for making me feel so welcome. The Willows is an amazing place and I very much enjoyed my two days with you.
If you would like to come and see what Willows is like, and perhaps get an idea of what it might be like to work as part of our fantastic nursing team, please contact Debbie Lynch our Nurse Manager either by telephoning 0121 712 7070 or by emailing email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you!
If you would like to come and see what Willows is like, and perhaps get an idea of what it might be like to work as part of our fantastic nursing team, please contact Debbie Lynch our Nurse Manager either by telephoning 0121 712 7070 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you!