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What do vets and vet nurses most need to brush up on this year, as we move into the “new normal”? Here are some key skills to focus on that will help you bring about the best possible outcomes for your patients.


Contingency planning

You have a plan, but do you have a plan for what you’ll do if your plan fails? If you don’t make a plan B and share it with your team, you could lose crucial time or miss something. Contingency planning includes thinking about how you’ll cope with your emotions and where you’ll turn for support if something fails.



Communication is key to effective patient triage during and post-COVID, when patients and clients often have to wait outside, and urgent cases are coming in on top of a backlog of appointments. It’s important to have a system – one clinic uses a whiteboard – and training for vet nurses on how to ask the right questions, make the right decisions, and calm anxious clients.


Conflict resolution

This skill is vital not only for communications between colleagues but also for handling difficult situations with upset clients, and resolving them quickly without needing to escalate past clinic level. Part of effective conflict resolution is knowing how to take feedback without seeing it negatively and turning it into a conflict.


Pain relief

Pain relief has to be tailored to the individual patient. Pain score before and after giving pain relief to assess the effectiveness of the dose. Understand the different pain pathways, multi-modal analgesia, and how to do the maths for CRIs, and be aware of how handling and other aspects of patient comfort also contribute to pain relief.



Ultrasonography is no longer complex and difficult to learn. Point-of-care ultrasound is tremendously useful in diagnosis of a wide range of conditions, not just trauma, and becoming comfortable with it will change your professional life. While taking a course is ideal, even just shadowing a more experienced colleague can be very helpful.


Recognition, intervention and management

The pandemic puppy boom has led to concerning numbers of unvaccinated puppies being imported from overseas or acquired from puppy farms in the UK, and a rise in cases of diseases like parvo that are usually controlled by vaccines. Vet nurses in particular need to learn early recognition and intervention and appropriate management skills to handle these cases.

For further insight and advice into what practices can offer you in a competitive market, partner with NSV – Veterinary Recruitment.

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