Nicola works as the Head Medical Nurse at Plymouth Veterinary Group. Nicola graduated from Hartpury College with an honour’s degree in Equine Science, and subsequently qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2002. Nicola has past roles as editor of the Veterinary Nursing Journal, sat on the Veterinary Products Committee for the Veterinary Medicines Directive, and the Ethics and Welfare Group for BVA.
Nicola has written for many veterinary publications and textbooks and is the editor of Aspinall’s Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing. Nicola has won the BVNA/Blue Cross award for animal welfare, the SQP Veterinary Nurse of the Year and the SQP Nutritional Advisor of the Year. Nicola is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Advanced Veterinary Nursing with Glasgow University.
Nicola Ackerman is speaking at the following sessions
Nurse clinics: Chronic medical conditions
There are some medical nurse clinics that do lend themselves to a more formulaic setting; diabetic clinics being one of these. A set protocol of what needs to be included in these clinics can easily be achieved. Whereas a medical clinic for a cat diagnosed with urinary tract issues can be more problematic, due to the wide nature of environmental aspects that influence the cat, behavioural aspects, alongside medications, diet and water intake. The content of the medical clinics will very much depend on your practice’s protocol for the treatment and management of certain diseases/disorders. Discussion with the veterinary team is required to develop a protocol, so that everyone; the veterinary surgeon, veterinary nurse and client can see what is expected. A protocol will also help the receptionists know who to book in appointments with.
Medical clinics can be run for every medical condition. As soon as any patient is diagnosed, it should be referred to a nurse clinic. RVNs need to have a good underpinning knowledge of the condition and have good up-to-date knowledge on new treatments and management regimes. All personnel need to ensure that all advice given is the constant, hence the importance of protocols.
Chewing the fat: Difficult obesity clinics
The base cause of obesity is expending fewer calories than are consumed, though there are many factors that can contribute towards obesity. Any changes in metabolism will alter the number of calories utilised for daily requirements. Neutering is the main cause of metabolic changes in young healthy animals, and care needs to be taken around this period that energy requirements for a neutered, yet still potentially growing animal, are taken into consideration. This highlights the importance of regular weight checks with a veterinary nurse who can offer guidance at this time. Therefore, when tackling difficult obesity cases all of these aspects need to be considered.
Obesity is a complex chronic medical disease in all species, understanding the complex relationships between diet, exercise and social aspects is important in order to help devise weight loss programmes for dogs and cats.