Veterinary nurses recognised for educational excellence

International Cat Care (iCatCare) alongside its veterinary division the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) was delighted to announce the winners of its ISFM Distance Education Awards for nurses at its prestigious Annual Awards ceremony in London on 13th July.

The 'Recognition of Achievement' awards, sponsored by Royal Canin, are presented to the students who have gained the highest level of attainment on the charity’s distance education courses, as a way of rewarding their exceptional hard work and dedication.

ISFM runs two distance education courses for veterinary nurses – the ISFM Certificate in Feline Nursing and the ISFM Diploma in Feline Nursing. The Certificate is completed over a year and the Diploma over two years. So far, over 700 nurses and technicians have undertaken these courses from many different countries including UK, Japan, Ireland, Singapore, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Hong Kong, Oman, South Africa, USA, United Arab Emirates and Austria. 

There were two winners on the Certificate course – Sarah Hayward and Rachael Hodgeson, who got equally brilliant results.

Sarah Hayward joined the veterinary world as a receptionist in 2001 at the age of 49 after a career in youth and community work. She studied a distance learning Animal Nursing Assistant course and qualified as a RVN in 2006. After working in several practices, including the PDSA and Vets Now, she returned to her original practice, Quarry Vets, where she took an active interest in feline nursing care. She decided to extend her knowledge by studying for the ISFM Certificate in Feline Nursing. She found it extremely interesting with lots of practical ideas to help improve the experience of feline patients at the practice.

Rachael Hodgeson qualified as an RVN in 2007 and then spent 8 years locuming around Norfolk and Cambridgeshire before returning to a permanent position at Vets4Pets Cambridge in 2016. She has a passion for everything feline and is now beginning to implement all the cat friendly techniques she learnt on the certificate into both their sites.

The Diploma prize was awarded to Margaret Fry. Margaret Fry is a mature Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN), who qualified in 2014 and now works part-time with the Goddard Veterinary Group. Prior to veterinary nursing she was a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Senior Nurse Manager in the NHS for over 35 years. Her passion for felines has helped her to gain the Diploma in Feline Nursing and her place of work is currently in the process of applying for Cat Friendly status. Margaret has also published several nursing related articles in both the human and veterinary nursing fields.

Claire Bessant, International Cat Care’s Chief Executive said: ‘We are delighted that over 700 veterinary nurses and technicians have undertaken these courses from many different countries. These nurses not only improve the care of the cats they personally care for, they also influence the veterinary clinic to improve its cat friendliness in general. Their enthusiasm is amazing and many cats will benefit as a result.’ 

Developments for vet nurses not only include the distance education courses and awards but also free membership, which includes a monthly journal – Feline Focus, monthly webinars and newsletters, plus feline nursing conferences. 

For more information about International Cat Care’s distance education courses, visit:

Pictures from the day can be accessed here: pin no: 1715)



See the media pack accompanying this press release for other releases relating to the award ceremony.


Press enquiries:

Jo Vuckovic, Digital Communications Manager
+44 (0)1747 871872



Sarah receiving her award from Erin Biss of Royal Canin (right) and iCatCare Chairman Stuart Carmichael (left)

Rachael receiving her award from Erin Biss of Royal Canin (right) and iCatCare Chairman Stuart Carmichael (left)

Margaret receiving her award from Erin Biss of Royal Canin (right) and iCatCare Chairman Stuart Carmichael (left)


Notes to editors:

About International Cat Care (iCatCare)
International Cat Care is a charity dedicated to improving the health and welfare of cats worldwide.

The International Cat Care vision: all cats, owned and unowned, are treated with care, compassion and understanding.

The International Cat Care mission: to engage, educate and empower people throughout the world to improve the health and welfare of cats by sharing advice, training and passion.

For more information, please visit http://www.icatcare.orgor 

About the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM)

ISFM is the veterinary division of International Cat Care. ISFM aims to provide a worldwide resource for veterinarians on feline medicine and surgery.


Tuesday, 17 July, 2018