"Our mission is to provide high quality care for our patients and their owners at all times"
The qualified Veterinary Nurses are an invaluable component of the team having trained as highly skilled and knowledgeable para-professionals of the Veterinary Profession. They are Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN), which means that they are a regulated profession, culpable for their own actions. They assist the Veterinary Surgeons at the hospital in many ways, for example, performing blood sampling, monitoring anaesthesia, applying dressings, surgical assistance during operations, dispensing and administering treatments as prescribed by the veterinary surgeons, and undertaking medical, surgical and critical care nursing procedures of the inpatients at the hospital.
There are a number of qualified nurses at the hospital who have undertaken additional training in order to specialize in the areas in which they work. There is a team of Veterinary Health Advisors that perform clinics for preventative health care issues, and medical issues. Some of the qualified veterinary nurses also undertake training of the Student Veterinary Nurses and the Animal Nursing Assistants; this is important to ensure that they too develop into capable and efficient members of the team.
Staff training and continuing professional development is seen as a priority at all levels and is undertaken by everyone in The Veterinary Hospital Group.
Claire was born in Cornwall and spent all of her school days in the seaside town of Penzance. She then decided to see what the world was like outside Cornwall and was consequently accepted to attend The Welsh Institute of Rural Studies (University of Wales), Aberystwyth, studying for a Higher National Diploma in Equine Studies. Claire was one of the few who graduated with merit in July 2000 and was offered a place to top up her diploma to a degree. However, she decided that she could not afford to be a student any longer!
Claire initially intended to become an Equine Veterinary Nurse. However, in order to fulfill this goal Claire needed to undertake two years of study and work with small animals prior to specialising. Claire joined The Veterinary Hospital as a Student VN in August 2000 and qualified as a VN in July 2004. She then decided stay at the Veterinary Hospital to continue nursing small animals. She enjoys all aspects of her job and since qualifying she has been the senior ward nurse within the hospital. In earlier years Claire has a keen interest in laboratory work and attended numerous CPD courses which were laboratory based, one of which was with Idexx Laboratories in Yorkshire to further her knowledge. However, Claire has since decided to concentrate more towards the medical nursing of small animals and exotics to enable her to fulfill her role as senior ward nurse. Most recently Claire attended a weekend CPD workshop at Paignton zoo focusing on zoo and exotic nursing. Claire also continually supports and assists students to complete their training.
Away from work, Claire enjoys socialisation with her friends, walking her border collie Finley and looking after her two guinea pigs Betty and Wilma.
I started my nursing career by working volunterally at a practice in Tavistock in 2002, from this I was employed as a ward assistant before qualifying as an animal nursing assistant in 2005, which took be on to my student nursing training. I qualified as a Registered veterinary nurse in 2008. My studying all took place at Duchy College, Camborne.
After having a baby in 2011, I decided that I wanted to gain experience in another practice and started at The Veterinary Hospital Group. I work at the Plympton branch during the week and at the main hospital on some weekends.
I grew up in Tavistock and still live nearby, which allows me to spend my free time with my friends, family and numerous animals. I enjoy walking my dogs, riding my horses and spending quality time with my husband and son. I am pleased that I can allow my son to grow up around animals as I did, he really loves hugging the dogs, feeding the birds and riding his pony.
I have recently trained as a clinical coach which allows me to assist our student nurses to complete their training. I wish to further my nursing in the future by obtaining a diploma or certificate in advanced nursing.
Emma has worked at the Veterinary Hospital for approximately 12 years. Her main areas of interest are medical nursing and she thoroughly enjoys working in the hospital’s busy ward. Emma is also responsible for dealing with enquiries from clients regarding the Pets Travel Scheme and organising the relevant blood tests, vaccinations and paperwork to enable pets to travel within Europe.
Outside of work Emma enjoys travel, shopping, eating out, socialising and reading.
Gemma was born in Shaftesbury in Dorset, where she went to school and completed an NVQ in Animal Care in Dorchester. She then took some time off from her animal studies to become a Supervisor at Little Chef.
In 1998 Gemma decided to continue with veterinary nursing and was offered a job in Devizes as a Student Veterinary Nurse at an Veterinary Orthopaedic Referral Centre where she continued her training and qualified as a Veterinary Nurse (VN) in 2002.
Gemma then met Rob, who was a Policeman living in Plymouth and they decided that it would be best for Gemma to relocate to Plymouth where she joined The Veterinary Hospital Group in October 2004. They were married in Shaftesbury in 2006.
Gemma’s main interests are in surgical nursing and she is the principal Theatre Nurse. In the future, Gemma would like to continue her further education and complete her Advanced Surgical Nursing Diploma.
Outside of work, Gemma enjoys baking cakes for the staff at the hospital and for private functions.
I am Jane Walker and I have worked in veterinary practices and hospitals since I was fifteen years old.
I started working in a Plymouth Veterinary Practice and then moved on to St. David’s Veterinary Hospital, Exeter. Here I worked with small and large animals as well as equine. Whilst working in Exeter I attended Berkshire College of Agriculture for six months to study the theory side of veterinary nursing and qualified in 1978 with one of the top three pass marks in the country.
I then moved to Hammersmith, London to work in a small animal practice and this was where I met my future husband Brian, who was a client with a cute dog.
I left veterinary practice for a short while to have my two sons, David and James. In 1988 we moved back to Plymouth and I started working for the Veterinary Hospital in a part time capacity at the Hill Park Crescent surgery. I then transferred to the Plymstock branch where I still work for two days a week combined with another two days at the Veterinary Hospital at Estover in reception.
My spare time is taken up mostly in caring for our pets as I do like to take my work home with me. At present we have 3 dogs, 5 cats, 45 assorted birds ranging from an African Grey Parrot, cockatiels and budgies to tiny finches. We also have 5 rabbits including two giant rabbits, 6 guinea pigs and 3 gerbils. Luckily all of my family share my love of animals.
My parents tell me that from a very early age I wanted to become a Veterinary Nurse and this was an ambition that I have never regretted as I still thoroughly enjoy my chosen profession.
I started nursing in 1987, and attended Bicton College of Agriculture on the Youth Training Scheme. Following this I worked in a mixed practice, then returned to college full time in 1989 and took my nursing exams which I passed, qualifying as a Veterinary Nurse in 1990.
I started work at the Veterinary Hospital in June 1990 and became one of the senior nursing team. In 1992 I moved to the Veterinary Centre at Plympton when it opened with Mrs Bower as the vet. I got married in 1995, started a family in 1998 and have worked part time since then. At the moment I deal with the paperwork involved in insurance claims but help out in reception, dispensary and sometimes the operating theatre when necessary.
At home I have 2 children and 2 dogs. I enjoy reading, walking and the general outdoors.
Karen joined the Veterinary Hospital Group in 2003 as an animal nursing assistant. Having gained her certificate with distinction, she then enrolled in the student veterinary nursing course at Bicton College in 2005 and qualified as a VN in 2007.
Karen has been working in various roles since qualifying including night emergency work and supporting the students with her clinical coach training. She also has gained her Veterinary Health Advisor and CSQP certificate.
Since returning to work after having her children she has discovered her passion for exotic animal nursing and is now studying for her exotic nursing certificate.
Karen also co-runs the puppy socialisation classes at our Lipson Road branch. She enjoys helping and supporting client and puppies in this early phase of life and tackling common problems such as play biting and toileting issues.
At home Karen loves to spend time with her two boys and rescue cats from the RSPCA.
Kathryn started working for The Veterinary Hospital as a Student Veterinary Nurse in October 1996. Kathryn gained her Veterinary Nurse qualification in February 2000, and then became the dental nurse.
In 2001 Kathryn took a break from the Veterinary Nurse life to travel around Australia for 4 months. On returning to the UK she became the main nurse at the Lipson Road surgery. In 2007 Kathryn returned to the Estover surgery as Senior Surgical nurse, expanding her knowledge and skills in anaesthesia and surgical nursing as well as co-managing the whole nursing team. Kathryn has an active role in the student nurse training as a clinical coach aiding the students in their veterinary nursing skill logs and general progression within their career.
Outside of work life, Kathryn and her husband are actively involved serving in their local church within the youth work, co-ordinating a team of volunteers to run the weekly youth clubs and annual weekends away for the 11-14 year olds. Kathryn also enjoys spending time with family, friends and her dog, cat and guinea pigs.
Laura joined the Veterinary Hospital Group in 2006, where within a few months she started her student veterinary nursing course. She attended Bicton College for two years during this time, where she completed her training and qualified as a RVN in January 2010.
Prior to this Laura studied for a Foundation degree in Animal Science where she specialised in Veterinary Health studies. Laura continued her studies after this and graduated from the University of Plymouth with a BSc Honours degree in Animal Science (Behaviour and Welfare) in 2005.
While Laura is involved in many aspects of pet care, her main responsibility within the Veterinary Hospital is to manage the laboratory which mainly involves the use of the in house blood analysing machines. Laura is also closely involved with the ward, where she is the second ward nurse and particularly enjoys the nursing of both the day patients and the critical care patients. She also enjoys the emergency out-of-hours work.
Laura has many animals at home. She currently lives with her beautiful Collie, Alfie, and her five lovely cats, Jules, Rosie, Lily, Paddy and George, two of whom she adopted as rescue cats from the RSPCA. She also has two rabbits called Dave and Daisy and two Giant African land snails called Slip and Slide.
Laura hopes to progress at the Veterinary Hospital and in the near future become involved with the teaching and mentoring of the students who she works with on a daily basis and to also one day become a Lecturer in Veterinary Science.
Louise is a Veterinary Health Advisor and sees clients and their pets for nurse clinics, as well as helping the nursing team in the theatre at other times.
BSc(Hons) RVN CertSAN CertVNECC VTS(Nutr) A1 V1 MBVNA
Nicola joined the Veterinary Hospital Group as a Veterinary Nurse at our Plympton Veterinary Health Centre in 2002, progressing to Head Veterinary Nurse of the practice in 2004 and now Senior Medical Nurse at the Veterinary Hospital. Nicola also works as one of the emergency night team.
Nicola has worked in the veterinary industry since 1994. In 1999 Nicola graduated from Hartpury College with an Honours Degree in Equine Science, specialising in nutrition. She has subsequently gained post-graduation certificates in small and exotic animal nutrition and in emergency critical care. Nicola’s interests are in medical nursing, nutrition and emergency care; and she helps to run the nurses’ clinical team alongside eight other nurses. These clinics offer advice on nutrition, preventative healthcare and the care of puppies and kittens. She is also a clinical coach in the training of our student veterinary nurses in the practice.
Nicola has written textbooks on Companion Animal Nutrition for veterinary nurses and technicians, and The Consulting Veterinary Nurse a book on nursing clinics. Nicola sits on boards for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Editorial Board for the Veterinary Nursing Journal.
Nicola has lectured internationally, Russia, Eastern Europe, Australia, Ireland and most recently USA. Nicola is the only veterinary nurse in the UK that holds the Veterinary Technician Speciality (VTS) in nutrition.
Nicola has won several awards, The Blue Cross BVNA Welfare Award in 2010, The SQP Veterinary Nurse of the Year in 2011, The SQP Mastermind Award in 2012, and the SQP Nutritional Advisor Award in 2013. In 2012, Nicola won the prestigious award of the CAW Professional Development Award for outstanding service to the veterinary nursing profession. In the same year Nicola was made an honorary member of the British Veterinary Nursing Association.
At home, Nicola has a three legged cat called Henry and a Border Terrier cross called Splat.
Nicola has worked at the Veterinary Hospital since July 1999, when she was just 17 years old and qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2003. During her time with the Veterinary Hospital, Nicola has worked as Ward Nurse and as part of the Night Team, returning to work part time after having her children. Nicola is particularly interested in the medical side of veterinary nursing and enjoys emergency work.
Nicola owns a cat and has, sadly, recently lost her parrot. She is, however, hoping to get a collie /x Labrador fairly soon.
I have lived in the area all of my life, growing up in Saltash and now living in Plymouth. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for nearly 6 years officially qualifying in 2010. Over the years I have worked in various practices gaining lots of experience. I joined the team at the Plymouth Veterinary Hospital in January 2012 where I have been sharing my time between the Estover hospital and the Plymstock Veterinary Centre. Before training to become a Veterinary Nurse I completed an honours degree in Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Biology at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. During the course I completed a research project in South Africa and immediately fell in love with the country and its spectacular wildlife, so much so that in 2008 I returned for a second time on a Veterinary Adventures course as a student Veterinary Nurse (as seen on ITV’s Safari Vet School). This turned out to be the most incredible experience of my life, working hands on with many beautiful animals including Lion, Cheetah, Rhino and more. As well as my love for Africa I have many hobbies including walking my five year old border collie Luka in the beautiful Devon & Cornish countryside and coastline.
Sara is a flexible multi-tasker. She is a qualified veterinary nurse and often works during emergency hours, but is also seen on the front desk as part of the reception team.
Sara has worked at the hospital on and off in numerous nursing roles since 1980. She now works part time mainly processing insurance claim forms.
Sara is married to husband Nick, has two children Lucy and Joseph,a collie and two ex-RSPCA cats.
Shelley has worked for the Veterinary Hospital Group for many years and is an essential member of the night emergency team.
I started my Veterinary Nursing career by working voluntarily at The Veterinary Hospital in 2007, where i gained valuable experience with animals which cemented by ambition to be a Veterinary Nurse. From this i was employed as an Animal Nursing Assistant and qualified in 2008, and then progressed onto the Veterinary Nurse training and qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2013.
I am involved in many aspects of pet care, particularly both medical and surgical aspects and also help to run the in house laboratory. I also work at The Veterinary Centre in St.Budeaux 2 days a week.
I have 2 cats at home, Lily a Maincoon and Bella a DSH, both I re homed from Gables. I have many interests outside of work in particular spending time with family and friends, walking and also a bit of retail therapy!
FdscAS VN RVN Clincal coach
Natalie is one of our senior surgical nurses aiming to obtain her certificate in orthopaedics and advanced anaesthesia.
Natalie started her student training with us back in 2005 and qualified in 2008 with a Foundation Degree in Animal Science and an NVQ3 Veterinary Nursing. She then became a locum nurse before settling in a mixed animal practice in Cornwall, where she realised her passion for training students and received her clinical coach status.
Since buying a house in Plymouth Natalie has returned to us and developed her keen interest in orthopaedics, radiography and advanced anaesthesia and is hoping to complete her certificates soon.
In her spare time Natalie loves horse riding and walking her dogs and trying to keep fit.
I started my Veterinary Nursing Career in 2006 after becoming an Animal Nursing Assistant at The Veterinary Hospital. I then went on to continue my training at Albert Cottage Vets in Saltash where I developed a love for both small and large animal surgery and medicine. I qualified in 2012, I moved to a practice in my hometown of Plymouth where I was given the chance to further my experience in surgery both in hours and out of hours as well as develop my love of nurse clinics.
After a few years I decided I was ready to move on and join a bigger and busier practice so I once again applied to The Veterinary Hospital for a RVN position. Since joining I have been able to improve my knowledge and experience in all areas of nursing, from ward to theatre as well as continue nurse clinics at both The Hospital and at our Plymstock surgery.
Gemma realised her love for animals in 2001 where she studied a National Diploma in Animal Care and a Foundation Degree in Veterinary Studies.
She took time out from studying to work with animals in South Africa and America. She worked with a variety of mammals including cheetahs, lions and hand-rearing baboons. Gemma developed her skills with reptiles working with snakes and lizards in a reptile park and birds at an avian sanctuary.
Gemma returned to the UK to continue her studies, graduating at the University of Hull with a BSc Honours Degree in Animal Behaviour and Training.
After completing her Veterinary Nursing course to become an RVN and 3 years at our main hospital Gemma became Head Nurse at our Plympton branch surgery. She runs the nurse clinics, enjoys both medical and clinical work, and focuses her time on training our students. Gemma also has a keen interest in animal behaviour.
At home Gemma has two cats, Beau and Belle.
Faye first developed a keen interest in veterinary nursing through a school work experience placement over 18 years ago. After finishing A-levels Faye undertook a HND in veterinary nursing science at the University of west of England and qualified as an RVN in 2005.
Faye worked at the veterinary hospital for three years where she gained her C-SQP qualification and A1 Assessor award. She then went on to work at a veterinary practice in Tavistock for 8 years in between having her two children. She gained her clinical coach award and pet health advisor.
She has now returned to working at the veterinary hospital where she mainly works at our Plympton branch.
Outside of work, Faye enjoys keeping up with her two children, being active and socialising