Equine clients welcome ambulatory nursing care for their horses

Equine clients welcome ambulatory nursing care for their horses

RESEARCH carried out as part of a major VetPartners’ initiative to champion the role of equine veterinary nurses has revealed that clients are open to nurses providing ambulatory care to their horses.

Project NURSE, which stands for Nurturing and Utilising REVN Skills and Experience, was launched by VetPartners to celebrate the skills and expertise of registered veterinary nurses who work with horses and help them develop fulfilling and rewarding careers.

The veterinary group, which has 37 of the UK’s most trusted equine and mixed veterinary practices and hospitals, is supporting equine RVNs who want to be more hands-on and put their full nursing skill set into practice.

The study was conducted to find out what horse owners understand about the role of REVNs and discover if they are open to receiving client-facing veterinary nursing services.

Of the owners who responded, 87% said they would be comfortable with an equine nurse attending their horse for some procedures, under the direction of a vet, and more than 90% said they would be ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ comfortable with REVN visits for bandaging and suture removal.

Two thirds (67%) said they were open to equine weight clinics run by nurses, with 61% interested in rehabilitation clinics and 48% in behaviour clinics.

A second phase of Project NURSE will launch next month, when equine veterinary nurses within VetPartners will be asked to share more information about the skills they currently use and how they would like their careers to develop.

Veterinary nurse Phillippa Pritchard, who heads up Project NURSE, said that helping nurses use more of their skills and increasing their client interaction will increase job satisfaction and help prevent highly valued nurses leaving the profession.

Phillippa said: “It is encouraging that survey respondents gave positive feedback about their experiences with veterinary nurses and told us they are receptive to nurses carrying out more yard visits, under the direction of a vet.

“Equine nurses go through a lot of training, but typically provide fewer client-facing services than their small animal colleagues and this means that some of them may feel limited in their role. We feel there is an opportunity to expand the range of activities to better utilise their skills, through providing ambulatory nursing services and running nurse clinics on client premises.

“Our next steps will be to explore equine nurses’ goals for career development, as well as taking on board the needs and any concerns of the wider equine clinical team, to help us successfully introduce these services.”

VetPartners’ Equine Director, Julian Rishworth, added: “We are very proud of Project NURSE. Our nurses are already awesome and this project is a huge step to further developing the crucial role our nurses play in the delivery of ever better care to our patients.”

Project NURSE was devised by the VetPartners Equine Nursing and Client Communication Clinical Interest Groups, with support from the Equine Clinical Board and Clinical Board Support Team. It has received approval from the RCVS ethics board. The findings of the report have been published by BVA Journals and are available here https://bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/vetr.4148

Article by Jo Browne, PR & Communciations manager (South), email: jo.browne@vetpartners.co.uk