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:

Available on all of the major podcasting platforms. New episodes drop on the 1st Monday of the month

Episode Eight: Janet - President of the VNCA

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In this episode you’ll hear from Janet, the President of the Vet Nurse Council of Australia (VNCA). Janet is from New Zealand, currently living in Perth, and is a lecturer in vet nursing at South Metropolitan TAFE. Janet has been nursing for 20+ years and has multiple qualifications including a Bachelor in Veterinary Nursing and an Associate Degree in Adult and Vocational Education.  

Janet’s career has taken her all over the world including specialising in Emergency and Critical Care at the Royal Veterinary College in London. Janet recently travelled to the VMX conference in Orlando Florida as the only international recipient of the Dr Earl Rippie Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes veterinary technicians and nurses who demonstrate leadership abilities and make a positive impact on the growth of the profession.

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When you hear about Janet’s involvement with the VNCA and the upcoming launch of the AVNAT scheme it will be obvious why she received this scholarship and was then treated like vet nursing royalty at VMX. Janet has had a massive year at the helm of the VNCA and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

We discussed: 

·         A podcast called Coffee Pods with Holly Ransom

·         The Dr. Earl H. Rippie Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarship

·         RECOVER basic life support and advanced life support workshop. Online RECOVER course available through the VNCA as a membership opportunity.

·         The April 2019 VNCA conference

·         The launch of the AVNAT Scheme

Available on all of the major podcasting platforms. New episodes drop on the 1st Monday of the month.

Episode Seven: Natalie - Academia, Empathy & Behaviour

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In this episode you’ll hear from Natalie, the Academic Director of the Australian College of Vet Nursing. Natalie has Certificate IV qualifications in veterinary nursing, canine behaviour, training and assessment, and Diplomas in vocational education and training, surgical nursing, and emergency and critical care.

When I listened back to this interview it occurred to me that Natalie is an extremely empathetic person. So much of what she has to say comes from a place of sensitivity towards how another person, or animal, is feeling. This natural proclivity towards empathy is a perfect fit for Natalie’s passion for canine and (more recently) feline behaviour. Behaviour is also one of my favourite areas so I loved geeking out with Natalie on this topic.

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Natalie’s career moved from clinical nursing to academia following the loss of a very special dog and the cascade of events that followed. I’m really grateful to Natalie for talking about this and other topics with a level of honesty and vulnerability that I know was not easy. These experiences underpin Natalie’s drive to empower other nurses to recognise and manage stress and compassion fatigue; which is of course an essential part of our story.  

Links to some of the things we discussed:

Available on all of the major podcasting platforms. New episodes drop on the 1st Monday of the month.

Episode Six: Hayley - ECC and Reality TV

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In this episode you’ll get to know Hayley from the Animal Emergency Service (AES) in Brisbane. I’ve been wanting to get the emergency nursing angle for a while now because I think it’s a really exciting part of our story. I reached out to Dr Alex Hynes who is a senior vet at AES and one of the new vets on the iconic Bondi Vet TV show (side note: it’s back, channel Nine, this year. You’re welcome!). Dr Alex recommended Hayley as one of AES’s most senior emergency and intensive care nurses.   

As a veterinary technician and nurse in the Pet Intensive Care Unit Hayley helps treat the most critical of patients. If you do watch Bondi Vet this year you’ll probably see Hayley, doing what she loves, caring for patients in the ICU. Which also makes her a reality TV vet nurse! Hayley’s been in the industry for over 20 years but is absolutely brimming with enthusiasm. Particularly about nurse empowerment, team work with our vets, and utilizing nurses to the best of our ability. Hayley and I are both talkers, and we also just clicked, so this is one of my longer episodes.

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The podcasts Hayley listens to are:

The Instagram accounts we mentioned are:

Hayley completed her certificates in veterinary nursing with the Animal Industries Resource Centre and obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science (Veterinary Technology) at the University of Queensland. We also discussed the DISC Profile as a way to better understand your team.

Available on all of the major podcasting platforms. New episodes drop on the 1st Monday of the month.