Assistant Lecturer in Veterinary Clinical Skills, Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, UK
Alison qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2004 whilst working in small animal practice in Lancashire. There she developed her interest in the clinical and domestic care of rabbits and successfully initiated chargeable nurse clinics for rabbit patients. Five years later, a locum position at the Royal Veterinary College sparked an interest in veterinary education and she joined the RVC’s Clinical Skills Centre as a clinical tutor in November 2009. Rabbits have continued to be Alison’s passion, and she has lectured both internally and externally on rabbit care. Her MSc research project looked at teaching veterinary and nursing students together using rabbit clinical scenarios and she regularly supervises and examines BVetMed students on many aspects of rabbit care and welfare including clinical care, husbandry and quality of life issues.
Alison Langridge is speaking at the following sessions
Reaching the senior rabbit: How RVNs can encourage owners to support agerelated issues.
Rabbits are the third most popular companion animal in the UK (PFMA, 2019). Over recent years, with the broadside of social media and television programmes, more and more pet owners have been overtly and subliminally exposed to advice about their pets’ physiological and emotional needs.
For rabbits, standards of care and owner education have also improved, with an increase in sales of hay and complete pellets and a reduction in sales of rabbit ‘muesli’ and small hutches (PDSA, 2019). In comparison to their wild counterparts, the extended life of a companion rabbit may also be attributed to improved client education and advances in veterinary care (Blue Cross, 2019). Owners of cats and dogs seem much more aware of age-related diseases than rabbit owners, with arthritis, heart murmurs and kidney disease on the top ten list of conditions seen in general practice, compared to that of rabbits who largely present with acute or non-age specific conditions (O’Neill et al, 2014). This suggests that there is a population of registered, older rabbits who would benefit from more regular health checks to manage age related changes.
This lecture will use case-based scenarios to illustrate how RVNs can reach out to the owners of older rabbits and encourage owners to make small changes to improve the quality of life of their rabbit companions.
How to foster wellbeing, good teamwork and effective working relationships
Teamwork is recognised as a critical element of professionalism, with interprofessional collaboration cited as behavioural examples of respect and accountability. An interprofessional team is composed of members from different professions who possess specialised knowledge, skills and abilities.
Some of the reported benefits of interprofessional practice include;
- Improved patient care and outcomes,
- Fewer preventable errors,
- Reduced healthcare costs,
- Improved relationships with other disciplines
- Mutual respect among the professions
- Appreciation of professional role and responsibility
- Improved job satisfaction
- Productive communication
Interprofessional practice and education are becoming essential components of veterinary practice. Using their individual expertise and optimising the skills of their members, veterinary healthcare teams can synthesise their observations and profession-specific expertise to collaborate and communicate, with an ultimate aim of providing patient and client-centred care.
This lecture will consider the benefits of, and challenges to, interprofessional working. It will also examine the core competencies for interprofessional practice and explore how to foster wellbeing, good teamwork and effective working relationships in practice.
How to support, develop and empower
Interprofessional veterinary practice is where two or more professions work together collaboratively in order to provide the best standard of holistic care for patients. Increasingly, veterinary surgeons and nurses work alongside clinical paraprofessionals such as physiotherapists, behaviourists and patient care assistants as well as administrative staff and external professions such as the police, farriers and welfare organisations. Therefore, a mutual understanding and appreciation of each other’s roles, responsibilities and skillsets should be encouraged in order to create a cohesive, supportive and respectful team environment. This will not only improve standards of patient care but also have the potential to improve standards, clinical skills and staff retention which in turn further benefits the practice and the patients. Evidence from veterinary interprofessional research also suggests that strong, interprofessional teams have a direct and positive influence on the wellbeing and mental health of vets and RVNs in practice. Therefore, a progressive and proactive approach from the team management towards creating and maintaining a strong interprofessional ethos is a beneficial investment for all stakeholders. This lecture will explore some of the evidence linking team ethos to mental health within the profession, and discuss the personal, professional and team benefits of developing and promoting interprofessional practice.