Advanced skills for RVNs: Taking your technical skills to the next level (2021 intake)

11 weeksRVN

Our nursing members wanted an advanced nursing course that will motivate and inspire them to learn from other experienced and inspirational speakers across a variety of topics. This course aims to be the UK leader in providing a completely holistic approach to CPD for registered veterinary nurses and vet techs.

This course will be delivered by a variety of speakers, including EBVS and RCVS recognised Specialists as well as nurses who hold advanced qualifications (e.g. Advanced certificates/qualifications) or who are recognised experts in their field. The course runs over an eleven week period and is equivalent to 11 hours of CPD/CE. It is delivered via pre-recorded video webinars and supplemented with a real-time discussion forum where delegates can ask questions about specific topic content or about cases that they are experiencing in practice – where they maybe just need a bit of support. There is also 2x Live Q&A elements to this course.

Speakers on this Advanced Skills course include Scott Kilpatrick (internal Medicine Specialist), Ashley Wemple (RVN CertVNECC), Laura Jones (RVN, Dip AVN, VTS Internal Medicine), Lacey Pitcher (EVN), Harry Swales (Internal Medicine Specialist), Janette Bailey-Woods (RVN) and Matteo Rossanese (Surgery Specialist).

*(Access to this course is for 6 months. If you sign up to the course after the live sessions have run, you will still be able to access the recordings from the live sessions).

Course Content

Lesson 1: Bloodwork interpretation… It’s all about the base, about the base, ‘Base Excess!’ 04/10/2021
learning outcomes
  • You know how to run the tests; Let’s look in more detail at what the results mean for your patients.
  • Electrolytes and blood gas analysis can be confusing. In this lesson we will crack the code of acid base!
  • We will review some more unusual tests… from coagulation to Coombs.
Lesson 2: Fluid therapy in practice… When Hartmanns is the wrong choice! 11/10/2021
learning outcomes
  • When is fluid therapy indicated and what are maintenance fluids/rates
  • Be confident in fluid calculations, even the complicated ones
  • Understand the difference between fluid types and the indications
  • Case based examples
Lesson 3: The infamous blood smear… How do you make yours? 18/10/2021
learning outcomes
  • Comfortably assess a blood smear from a healthy patient (canine / feline)
  • Identify changes consistent with RBC regeneration & non-regenerative anaemia
  • Identify abnormal RBC distribution and explain when a saline agglutination might be warranted
  • Perform a platelet count
  • Identify types of white blood cells & toxic changes in neutrophils
  • Practically apply the information from blood smears to specific cases such as IMHA, IMTP, parvovirus, chronic renal failure, and more.
Lesson 4: Tubes, drains & catheters… Understanding the what, how and why? 25/10/2021
learning outcomes
  • The indications for, placement techniques of and nursing care of different feeding tubes
  • Considerations for placing, using and caring for central venous catheters.
  • How to care for and manage patients with chest drains
  • How to place and care for urinary catheters in both male and female patients
  • How to place and maintain arterial catheters
Lesson 5: Advanced nutrition… When to reach for the TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) 01/11/2021
learning outcomes
  • Review what feeding tube options we have and when to use them.
  • Understand what to feed and when.
  • Review the role of appetite stimulation and when is this appropriate.
  • Is there a need for prokinetic and gastroprotectant medication in our anorexic patients?
  • What is total parenteral nutrition and when do we use it.
Lesson 6: Live Q&A Session (Wed 10/11/21 @ 8-9pm GMT)
learning outcomes
  • Your chance to discuss any cases you have seen in practice or to ask questions.
  • We will bring along a few interesting cases too!
Lesson 7: Getting the most from your cytology… Is everything clear? 15/11/2021
learning outcomes
  • Be confident looking under the microscope.
  • Understand the common conditions that can be diagnosed with the help of fine needle aspiration and cytology.
  • Review what other fluids look like under the microscope. Taking the confusion out of effusions.
Lesson 8: Advanced Anaesthesia… What the ‘fentanyl’ is happening? 22/11/2021
learning outcomes
  • Understand how to take your anaesthesia skills to the next level.
  • Learn how to maximise your anaesthesia equipment to optimise patient care
  • When anaesthesia goes wrong… Stay calm and carry on!
  • Case based scenarios… Examples to get you thinking?
Lesson 9: Advanced Surgical Skills for RVNs 29/11/2021
learning outcomes
  • Vascular access: how to place a central line and an arterial line
  • Hot to correctly use the different surgical instruments
  • How to perform common suture patterns
  • How to perform basic surgical procedures.
Lesson 10: Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine… Your contribution matters 06/12/2021
learning outcomes
  • Understand what EBVM is and why it matters to the veterinary profession.
  • Optimising the nurse’s contribution to EBVM in practice.
  • Have you always thought about writing a veterinary article? Let us talk you through the process and give hints and tips.
Lesson 11: Live Q&A Session (Thurs 16/12/21 @ 8-9pm GMT)
learning outcomes
  • Your chance to discuss any cases you have seen in practice or to ask questions.
  • We will bring along a few interesting cases too!

Meet the speakers

Scott Kilpatrick

Director, Internal Medicine Specialist

Scott graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 2007. Initially, he worked for the PDSA, before taking a Senior Veterinary Surgeon position with Vets Now in Edinburgh in 2010. Scott started his residency in internal medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 2012 after completing a year as a Teaching Fellow in Anatomy and Physiology. He completed his residency in 2016 after finishing his Masters in the pathogenesis of canine liver disease and has since been working in referral practice. Interventional radiology is something that really interests Scott and he spent some time in 2018, working in this area at UC Davis in California. Scott has created and delivered a Post-graduate Certificate in Small Animal Emergency Medicine in association with the University of Surrey. Scott is currently an Internal Medicine Specialist working with Idexx.

Ashley Wemple


Ashley grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina. From there she moved to a slightly bigger part of the state to go to university at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC where I  studied animal science and obtained a bachelors degree in that field in 2003. While studying, I started working nights at an ECC veterinary hospital and I developed a passion for ECC nursing and teaching. I moved to the UK in 2008 to take a job as an ECC nurse at Vets Now Gateshead and have been there ever since (currently as Principal Nurse Manager).  I earned my CertVNECC in 2010 and continue to tutor for that program, as well as other teaching and mentoring for IVC, Vets Now and the veterinary thought exchange.

Laura Jones

RVN & VTS (Small Animal Internal Medicine)

Laura Jones qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2010, gained the DipAVN in 2014 and completed a degree in advanced veterinary nursing in 2017. Laura joined a newly-opened referral centre in Hampshire in 2015, to support and develop the Internal Medicine service. Here, her passion for medical nursing grew, leading to Veterinary Technician Specialist certification in small animal internal medicine in 2019. That same year, Laura developed a social media page and website, "Veterinary Internal Medicine Nursing', to educate and inspire nurses wanting to learn about medical patients, and speaks nationally on a variety of medical nursing topics. Laura currently works at The Ralph Referral Centre, where she nurses both high-dependency and medical patients, whilst leading the team of critical care nurses, She serves on both the Feline Focus and Companion editorial board and was elected to join BVNA council this year.

Harry Swales

Internal Medicine Specialist

Harry graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2014, following which he undertook a rotating internship in the North West of England. Harry undertook a residency in veterinary internal medicine at the University of Liverpool and was awarded European specialist status in 2021. Harry has published research in internationally recognised scientific journals and spoken at international conferences. His interest areas include nephrology/urology (kidneys/urinary problems) and emergency and critical care.

Matteo Rossanese

Surgery Specialist

Dr. Rossanese graduated from the University of Bologna (Italy) in 2009. After one year in general practice, in 2011 he started a postgraduate research project and internship in surgery and neurosurgery at North Downs Specialist Referrals and shortly afterwards joined the Animal Health Trust for a general internship. In 2013 Matteo gained the certificate of Specialist in Animal Health from the University of Padua and in 2015 he completed the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. In September 2015 Matteo joined the Small Animal Teaching Hospital of the University of Liverpool where he completed a three-year ECVS approved residency in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Liverpool. In 2018 Matteo successfully gained a Master in Veterinary Professional Studies. He is currently working as lecturer in Small Animal Surgery at the Royal Veterinary College. He has a particular interest in minimally invasive surgery including interventional radiology and video-assisted surgery. He is also interested in the therapeutic options for vascular anomalies, non-resectable cancers, and respiratory and urinary obstructions.

Janette Bailey-Woods


Janette qualified as VN in 2001 and worked in a mixed animal practice for 15 years in Kendal, Cumbria. During this time Janette developed an interest in anaesthesia and gained her NCert in anaesthesia in 2007. Following on from mixed practice, Janette worked in an orthopaedic referral centre before moving to Co Durham in 2015, where she now works as lead anaesthesia nurse at Wear Referrals. Janette is currently working towards gaining the Veterinary Technician Specialist (Anaesthesia & Analgesia) qualification.

Lacey Pitcher


Lacey took the long way round and trained to be an RVN via 3 different veterinary colleges each shaping her career and exploring her learning styles via the diploma route. She now works in various referral centres around the country alongside a permanent role as an OOH RVN in Central London. Lacey is passionate about nurses exploring their potential and breaking the mould.

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