May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM)!
This is an annual campaign run by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) that began in 2005 as the National VN Day, and has been a month-long event held each May since 2012.
At iCatCare we’re in awe of the work that veterinary nurses do, and are extremely appreciative of their dedication to the welfare of all animals. Through the veterinary branch of the charity, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), we work to support veterinary nurses wherever possible in the resources that we offer, the opportunities for CPD that we provide, and our courses and events.
Veterinary nurses have free membership to ISFM. Becoming a member grants access to:
- Our monthly journal, Feline Focus which gives up to date scientific information, practical guides and articles covering a wide variety of topics that would be of interest and use to practising veterinary nurses.
- Our webinar series for nurses and technicians that provide expert advice from respected speakers on a range of subjects. There are 50 webinars available to view and attendees receive CPD certificates.
- Our monthly newsletter for nurses and technicians that rounds up the latest feline news, as well as veterinary developments and what’s happening at iCatCare.
- Our archive of previous issues of Feline Focus and recordings from our previous webinars through our members’ portal.
ISFM run a number of courses for nurses looking to improve their knowledge and understanding of cats. All of these are online only, so they can be completed at home with no need to travel to study, and there are no exams. There are currently 3 tutor supported courses that take 1-2 years to complete:
- ISFM Certificate in Feline Nursing
- ISFM Foundation Diploma in Feline Nursing
- ISFM Advanced Feline Behaviour for Veterinary Professionals
In addition, there are 2 short courses that nurses can enrol in and complete at any time:
- Cat Friendly Veterinary Professional
- Advanced Feline Dentistry for Veterinary Nurses.
To celebrate VNAM, ISFM are offering 20% off to veterinary nurses enrolling in the 2 short courses during May by using the code VNAM20 at the checkout when enrolling here.
A number of the programmes that we run are designed to improve the veterinary welfare of cats, and these include many resources that veterinary professionals can take advantage of.
The CatCareforLife programme advocates preventative healthcare for the wellbeing of cats with owners and clinics working together.
The programme provides resources for owners, such as information about the life stages of cats and HealthCare sheets that explain the types of care necessary at each life stage and disease risks they should be aware of and templates they can use to keep a health record of their cats.
For veterinary professionals the programme outlines a ‘gold standard’ of preventative healthcare for cats, including posters, charts, clinical sheets and veterinary protocols which are designed to work alongside those made available to owners. The information provided is the cornerstone of the programme and is a great resource for veterinary professionals. It’s completely free to use, and more information can be found on the dedicated website here.
Cat Friendly Clinics
CatCareforLife is complemented by the Cat Friendly Clinic initiative, that was started to recognise and accredit clinics that have high standards of feline care and welfare. This programme provides practical solutions to problems that are commonly faced when dealing with feline patients. There are a host of resources available and aside from providing a better understating of cats in the clinic, accreditation boosts business by strengthening the bond between the clinic and its feline clients.
Events and Congresses
ISFM’s events and congresses are always popular and an enjoyable way to get useful CPD. In this year’s ISFM UK Feline Congress there were dual lecture streams for vets and veterinary nurses which meant full schedules of talks from experts on a range of practical topics. ISFM events always provide a popular social schedule that allow for networking and socialising in a relaxed environment.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s ISFM European Feline Congress has been cancelled, but the events team have been working hard to produce an excellent alternative, and are instead running an ISFM International Feline Congress as a free, on demand virtual conference.
For veterinary nurses, lectures will cover pain assessment and anaesthesia with Professor Steagall, geriatric cats with Lisa Moses and ethical dilemmas, specific to veterinary nurses and techs, with Anne Fawcett. Additionally, we have two emergency and critical care lectures given by Laura Rosewell and Lindsey Dodd (Vet Technician Specialists in Internal Medicine and ECC respectively). All of this is complimented by a variety of other speakers, who will give talks on behaviour, dentistry, neurology, endocrinology plus many more topics to reflect the diverse and important role vet nurses have in clinics. All this will account for more than 30 hours of CPD.
You can find more information here.
JFMS Open Reports
The charity’s veterinary journal the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS) publish JFMS Open Reports which is a peer-reviewed, online journal aimed at practitioners and researchers interested in clinical veterinary healthcare and welfare of domestic cats. it publishes high-quality cases reports, short case series and data related to well-recognised diseases of domestic cats, that are free to access.
More information about iCatCare and ISFM can be found here
If you haven’t already, please have a look at the BNVA’s website where they have activities and a competition for VNAM https://www.bvna.org.uk/about-us/veterinary-nursing-awareness-month