Nurse Clinics – a veterinary director’s take on the course

Megan Brannigan completed our comprehensive Nurse Clinics course in 2015 as she wanted to improve compliance and continuity for her practice’s nurse clinics, and here she shares her account of her experiences with the course.

Spur of the moment

I made a spur of the moment decision to book onto this online course. I’d been wondering about the best way to get compliance and continuity in our nurse clinics and also to expand what we have available.

As I had an overworked head nurse, and a relatively new RVN team due to start, I booked the course for myself, although it is usually taken by nurses in practice. The nursing team does get CPD, including the excellent RC PHC course but that hadn’t resulted in any major development in our clinics.

“The course was a huge eye opener from the start.”

I soon realized that we really weren’t planning or promoting the clinics at all. They seemed to be busy but possibly due to word of mouth from the reception team?

The course covers a lot in six weeks – looking at ideas and opportunities, SWOT analysis, the nurse role including RCVS and legislation, pro’s and con’s of charging, marketing the clinics; then most importantly – monitoring and development, and creating a practice plan.

The difference with this course is…

I’ve come away from previous courses with lots of ideas but rarely see them through to fruition. The difference with this course, is that I have been taken through the whole process – seeing ideas and potential, but then having to assess how likely the ideas are to succeed, who will organize and run them, how to get team onboard, what training and resources are required, how will we monitor them, what will success look like, how will it benefit the clients and the practice, how will we market it?

You put together ideas and create plans for your own practice in order to get your CPD certificate. The work is submitted via a google site so your work remains confidential, seen only by you and the tutor.

“By the end of six weeks I had written out all my ideas, picked clinics to develop, discussed with the team how we’d charge, planned out the nurses’ meetings, how to market the clinics and promote the nurses, and a practice plan on how to involve the whole team. Usually when I finish a course that is all still to do.”

Excellent feedback and support

There is excellent feedback and support from Jill the course tutor, and on the discussion forum. Having now had to plan something out from start to finish, it’s a skill I’ve been using in other areas of the practice, and I’m still using the google site I’d created for the course. I really enjoyed putting it all together, and it was satisfying to construct something that I intend to use in practice.

‘I’d recommend JVPs as well as head nurses to do this course..’

The course fully accomplished the brief

I found it really useful, enjoyed doing it, and I also feel I have come away with transferable skills now for better planning and implementation in other areas in the practice. I think it probably undermines the boss and practice manager when they start projects but don’t finish them, or staff don’t get feedback on how they are doing.

‘One of the most useful and enjoyable courses I’ve done.’

I enrolled in the course as I knew I needed to do something to improve and regulate our nurse clinics but wasn’t really sure what that meant. I feel the course has fully accomplished that brief.

It was with great sadness that we received information on the death of Megan Brannigan in September 2017.

Megan looked after a great number of pets across 3 surgeries in Old Swan, Walton Vale and Prescot, and was a talented and much respected veterinary surgeon.

The facebook feed on her surgeries’ pages alone, tells us just how much her clients and patients loved her and her thoughtful and professional approach to patients and their owners.

Our thoughts are with Megan’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

I thought long and hard about whether to leave this account that Megan so kindly gave us. Megan took a lot of trouble to write this for us, and I also feel that it shows just how dedicated she was to her practice, her clients and her nurses – and for those reasons I have left it here.

RIP Megan. I know you will be missed by so many people.

Jill Macdonald, 11th September 2017

Megan Brannigan BVSc MRCVS was a veterinary director and Joint Venture Partner at Vets4Pets Liverpool (Old Swan), Walton Vale and Prescot.