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Animalcare Reveals Vet Nurse Heroes

Five veterinary nurses working in an array of clinical settings have been announced as the winners of Animalcare’s Vet Nurse Heroes competition.

The competition, which took place during Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM) (May 2020), called on team members to nominate their nurse colleagues who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a flood of great entries, the winners of the competition have been announced as:

Claire Defries, VN programme leader at the College of Animal Welfare
Claire was praised for the support she gave to vet nurses in training during the lockdown, enabling third-year students to sit their final exams. Besides developing online training, virtually overnight, Claire was also commended for the pastoral support she has provided to students during the lockdown.


Ellie Tappenden, Albyn Veterinary Centre, Broxburn
Ellie’s nomination pays recognition to her work to create a local support network with other vets. During the lockdown, Ellie worked long shifts before delivering regular medicines and ensuring that her self-isolating clients were coping. She also organised a collection of spare PPE for the local hospital, all while managing her pain from a degenerative disease, Ehlers Danlos, which she fights daily.

Tammy Jarvis, RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre, March

Tammy gave exceptional support to all 105 patients at the RSPCA centre and the veterinary surgeon. With other staff furloughed, she took on additional duties, including maintenance and ground management, and recently started sewing face masks for her colleagues.

Bethany Lavill, Etwall Vets, Derby
Bethany was nominated for coming in after hours to check up on patients and for collecting animals from clients who are self-isolating. Nominators said that she had gone above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions and still asks what more she can do to help.

Shannon Mills, Leeds Colton Vets4Pets
Shannon willingly covered a range of roles throughout lockdown and recently nursed a critical care rabbit throughout the day while overseeing reception. She also passed her mock exam with flying colours during the lockdown, all despite a recent diagnosis of epilepsy.

The winners each received a gift box, filled to the brim with delicious food and drink.

“We wanted our competition to highlight the fantastic contribution vet nurses around the country are making to their colleagues, clients and patients – but the number and quality of entries hugely exceeded our expectations,” commented Animalcare product manager, James Beaumont.

“At such a difficult time, the positivity, passion and care that each nomination exuded made reading them a moving experience and selecting only five as winners was no easy task.  We thank all those who took the time to nominate their amazing colleagues and thank every vet nurse who was nominated for their extraordinary commitment and dedication.”