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Posted: 3rd October 2021

Knowing your worth as a veterinary nurse
Are you willing to make the change? Fiona Andrew called on RVNs to challenge their thinking and develop reflective practice.
Fiona Andrew shares tips for cultivating a growth mindset at BVNA Congress.

Human sustainability is defined as 'the development of skills and human capacity to support the functions of an organisation'. So how can RVNs personally incorporate these concepts into their own lives and encourage others to do the same?

Speaking in the economic stream at BVNA Congress on Sunday (3 October), Fiona Andrew RVN discussed the importance of knowing your worth as a veterinary nurse and shared some tips for cultivating a growth mindset. Her take-home message was that, in order to create a successful, satisfying and sustainable career, the change must come from within.

Fiona began by looking at some of the famous models of motivation - including Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg's 'motivator and hygiene' theory - and how these models can be applied in the context of veterinary nursing. According to Maslow, humans need to meet their basic needs first (water, food, shelter, sleep) before they can even begin to think about psychological needs, such as relationships or career development.

One way veterinary nurses can help take care of their fundamental needs, said Fiona, is to use the HALT anagram. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired and acts as a timely reminder to take a break, eat something, chat to someone, or simply just switch off for a few moments before being pushed to breaking point. “The person that needs to take care of your basic needs is you,” she said. “As RVNs, we need to meet our basic human needs in order to be sustainable”.

Fiona then discussed the issue of asking for better remuneration and shared some helpful hints and tips for those who may not feel confident in asking for more money. Her main tips were to come well prepared to the meeting with facts and figures, to thank the person you're asking for their time, to do it at the right time, and to base the request on you and you alone. If this doesn't work, ask what you do need to do to get a better salary, ask for a development review and finally, when that review will take place.

Fiona also touched on some of the things that can make individuals feel more developed as RVNs, such as the practice having a clear career pathway. Having a framework in place that provides a clear progression route for veterinary nursing team members has benefits not just for wellbeing, but can also aid concerns surrounding recruitment and retention.

Fiona concluded her lecture by calling on veterinary nurses to challenge their thinking, and to consider how to integrate reflective practice into daily practice life, adding: “there is a fantastic industry out there for veterinary nurses, and never has there been a better time to develop your career!”

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