Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing, Royal Veterinary College, UK
Rachel qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2002. Whilst working as a locum at a variety of small animal practices, Rachel completed a BSc(Hons) degree in Veterinary Nursing. She developed an interest in companion animal nutrition, completing the City and Guild’s Certificate in Small Animal Nutrition in 2006. Rachel remains passionate about this aspect of patient care and helps to raise awareness of the importance of correct nutrition through veterinary and veterinary nurse education in the UK and, internationally, as a member of the WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee and the European Veterinary Nutrition Educators Group. Rachel joined the Royal Veterinary College in 2008 and became Course Director for the BSc and FdSc VN degree programmes in 2015. She is a founding member of the RVC’s interprofessional education team (iPET) and has been heavily involved in the design and facilitation of interprofessional events for RVC veterinary and veterinary nursing students.
Rachel Lumbis is speaking at the following sessions
Evaluating pet food… how confident are you?
Maintaining the health of pets through the provision of correct nutrition is an essential component of responsible pet ownership and one that owners are becoming increasingly aware of as a key factor in optimising health and wellbeing. Prior to domestication, dogs and cats were primarily kept as working animals; living outside and being fed raw meat or table scraps. Numerous developments in companion animal nutrition, together with the current day notion of dogs and cats as ‘pets’ and ‘family members’ have resulted in development of a wide array of foods.
In 2019, the value of the UK pet food industry was estimated to be worth around £2.9bn. With the current availability of such a broad range of pet foods, pet owners can select the food they believe to be most appropriate for their pet, taking into account a number of considerations including personal preferences and circumstances. Yet evidence suggests that owners are often confused or misinformed about nutritional facts and dietary choice.
The veterinary healthcare team have a central role as the expert source of information for optimal pet nutrition, yet continued expansion of the pet food market prohibits a thorough knowledge of every available diet. This lecture will discuss how to interpret pet food labels and review some of the key considerations when evaluating diets and making a dietary recommendation.
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.