Episode 13: Ricki - Nursing with Hustle

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In this episode I caught up with one of the most positive and energetic veterinary nurses, Ricki. Ricki started her nursing career in general practice in Albury before moving to the sunshine coast to work at Australia Zoo with the bird show team. Ricki was the head bird trainer at Australia Zoo and performed in the show daily. Eventually Ricki’s love for connecting with people brought her back into general veterinary practice, and she now works in what has got to be one of the most beautiful beach side locations in Australia.

I was initially drawn to Ricki because of her experience at Australia Zoo, but as I learned more about her I realised that this was just tip of the iceberg. Ricki’s vet nursing story is interesting because of the way she combines her nursing career with her side hustle. I’m all about the hustle. Her ability to balance these two great passions keeps her feeling enthusiastic about everything she does. It’s worth serious consideration for anyone feeling like they need better balance, greater financial security, or even just a way to feel refreshed in their nursing.

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Ricki’s boundless energy, positivity and laughter made her a pleasure to meet and interview. I hope she leaves you feeling inspired.

Ricki and I discussed:

·         Gunnah fit

·         Ricki on Insta

·         Noosa village vets

Episode 12: Julie - Finding Your Tribe

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In this episode I caught up with – by popular demand – Julie Harris. With over 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry Julie is now the Chief People Officer for VetPartners. If you’re a practice manager or a senior vet nurse working in a leadership position, or if this is something you aspire to, then this is the episode for you. 

In addition to her clinical background Julie also has an MBA and a tonne of experience helping people and developing processes. As well as leading her own team she helps vets and nurses in leadership and management roles at over 100 practices across Australia and New Zealand. Julie is full of insights on quality process improvement, workplace culture, the link between customer-centricity and great patient outcomes, and how finding our tribe is essential to our survival as vet nurses.

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I love Julie’s spirit of collaboration and community. And even though it challenges me on some levels as a business owner, I think she’s completely right. I really enjoyed sharing some of Julie’s wisdom and a good laugh or two along the way. I think you will too.

Julie and I also discussed:

·          The Red Booth app

·         These podcasts:

·         Ted Talks

·         Happier by Gretchen Rubin

Feel free to reach out to Julie on LinkedIn or Facebook

Episode 11: Angel - CVT, VTS (ECC), Friend

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In this episode I caught up with Angel Rivera at the 2019 VNCA conference in Brisbane. Angel is a veterinary technician specialist (VTS) in the field of emergency and critical care (ECC). As an internationally recognised speaker he lectures to vets, veterinary nurses, veterinary technicians, and has been published in journals, text books and research abstracts.  

Angel has worked as a veterinary technician, Director of Nursing, Nursing Education Coordinator, Medical Director, Hospital Administrator, and currently works as a consultant advising on the training of emergency and critical care nursing concepts, protocols and procedures. In 2018 he was awarded a Steve Haskins Memorial Scholarship for his contribution to the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.

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Angel has been extremely supportive of the development of veterinary nursing in Australia and has enjoyed a 25 year friendship with the Aussie nurses. It was extremely emotional having him open the conference on the official launch day of the AVNAT scheme, and it was my absolute pleasure to join Angel’s ever-expanding gang of Aussie vet nurse friends.  

Angel listens to these podcasts:

·         EmCrit

·         Veterinary ECC Small Talk

Angel recommends these books:

·         The hidden power of kindness: by the Reverend Lawrence G. Lovasik.

·         The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.

·         Samll Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidence from every day.

·         Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal.

·         Squirrel seeks Chipmunk: by David Sedaris.

We also discussed:

·         AliveCor portable EKG machine

·         ER Vet Tech Rounds

·         Loom free screen recording software

For 24 hour crisis support call:

·         In Australia - Lifeline on 13 11 44

·         In the United States - the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1800 273 8255

·         In the UK - the Vetlife Helpline on 0303 040 2551.

Episode Ten: Carol - Surgical Nursing Trailblazer

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In this episode I went to Melbourne and had the absolute pleasure of meeting Carol Bradley. From humble beginnings as a kennel maid in 1973 Carol worked all the way up to her current role teaching and training vet students at the University of Melbourne. Carol is a Tutor in small animal surgery, and the Veterinary Skills Centre Manager and Nurse Educator. When it comes to teaching vet students Carol is also responsible for lectures and practical class supervision in the surgical discipline with a focus on aseptic and operating room technique, instruments, biomaterials, suture technique, the sterilizing process, and approach to basic surgical procedures.

In Carol’s career she’s been a bit of a trailblazer in raising standards in veterinary surgical nursing, including being the first vet nurse to gain her qualification in cleaning, disinfecting and sterilization at the human hospital standard. She was also the first vet nurse to be given an academic position in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

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Carol is a popular speaker on the veterinary circuit, has a long list of publications, and even invented the Bradley Cat Lap drape. Carol loves innovation. She’s a great advocate for vet nurses and for lifelong learning; currently studying a postgrad certificate in Infection Prevention and Control through Griffith University. Not only was Carol just a delight to meet and interview, she also shared a lot of really useful, and practical, evidence based information. We’ve already made improvements at Ready Vet on the basis of what Carol had to say. As always I’ve tried to put links in the show notes to everything we discussed, so if you find yourself frantically reaching for your pen head to radiovetnurse.com and check the show notes for this episode.  

We discussed:

  • The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses USA

  • Carol was the first veterinary nurse to apply and successfully pass the Certificate III in Health (Sterilizing for Technicians), applying the Australian & New Zealand Standard 4187 “Cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing reusable medical and surgical instruments and associated equipment, and maintenance of associated environments and health care facilities”, making it the first Veterinary Teaching Hospital to align with human hospital standards in the faculty’s hospital’s Central Sterilizing Service Department.

  • In 2013 Carol was awarded her Associate Fellow in the Higher Education Academy (Veterinary Education) from the Royal Veterinary College, London.

  • Carol is currently studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Infection Prevention Control through Griffith University.

  • In 2008 Carol designed a range of single use veterinary surgical drapes for the largest Australian hospital supplies manufacturer, Defies Industries. The Bradley Cat Lap drape is still in use via Provet.

  • Carol’s recommendations for sterilizers:

    • Prevacuum sterilizers are better (than downwards displacement sterilizers) for hollow items and faster turnaround.

    • Mediquip or Device Technologies for a nice little benchtop sterilizer – must have a drying cycle.

    • Atherton for the very large hospital size sterilizer.

    • See also DLC Australia.

  • Recommendations for packaging:

    • Paper bags for soft items (cotton balls, swabs etc, no sharp items).

    • Laminate – window packs. Good for light instruments, not sharp. Small items/sets.

    • Polypropylene wraps/single use wraps. Linen around this if getting excess moisture in chamber.

  • Chlorhexidine is a cationic chemical, povidone-iodine is an anionic chemical and they cancel each other out.

Episode Nine: Lou - the Vet Nurse

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In this episode I caught up with social media super nurse and all round lovely human, Lou the Vet Nurse. If you don’t already follow Lou on Facebook or Insta, you should. Her social media content is full of vet nursing tips and positive inspo. You can find a link to Lou’s social media and everything else we discuss in these show notes.

Lou is an RVN in the UK with a special interest in intensive nursing and anaesthesia. In addition to active nursing, Lou is the clinical nurse lead at her practice. She’s responsible for monitoring and reviewing clinical standards and mentoring the nursing team in line with her additional qualifications. Lou has some great ideas about how to work at improving firstly our own skills and knowledge as individuals, and secondly the standards of care of the veterinary health care teams as a whole. She is also a huge advocate for vets and nurses working together and sharing ideas.

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Whether you’re listening to Lou in this interview, or enjoying her social media content, it’s obvious that she is all about encouraging vet nurses to appreciate their self-worth and to go out and create the careers they’ve always wanted. It’s inspiring to hear another vet nurse speak this way and to promote what is becoming a reoccurring theme on this podcast; that we are qualified, knowledgeable professionals, and our voices are worth listening to! 

Lou and I discussed:

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