New nursing structure at Wear Referrals - Veterinary Practice
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New nursing structure at Wear Referrals

A leading small animal hospital in the North East has implemented an innovative restructure of its nursing team with the aim of delivering an even higher quality of care and treatment to pets and referring vets

Wear Referrals in Bradbury, County Durham, has appointed three experienced vet nurses to senior roles to manage this fresh initiative for its 60-plus nursing team.

Elisa Robinson, who has been at Wear since 2005, has joined Wear’s senior management team as head of nursing services. She will be supported by Anouska Rogers Smith and Justyne Hughes, with Anouska responsible for quality and compliance, while Justyne is responsible for workflow and process.

It is an important refocusing of the entire nursing structure at the hospital and a fitting move to senior management for Elisa after 17 years of loyalty and leadership at the Linnaeus-owned referral centre.

Elisa said she had seen plenty of positive changes in her time at Wear, explaining: “I started working at Wear Referrals in 2005, having just qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing Science.

“My leadership role began with me being the only nurse in the practice, so I was involved in all aspects of the new services we offered to our patients and that led to me becoming head nurse as we grew larger as a practice.

“Now, we have a team of more than 60 [Registered Veterinary Nurses] RVNs and I have added further qualifications including the Advanced Nursing Diploma so my expertise and experience has grown a lot, too.

“When we moved over into our new purpose-built hospital in 2015, I had the opportunity to develop into the role of head nurse.

“Now as part of this recent restructure, I have started my new role as head of nursing services, a position in which I support the whole nursing team including RVNs, student nurses, patient care assistants, imaging specialists and a rehabilitation team.

“The other new nursing roles introduced include one for clinical quality and compliance, and one for workflow and process.

“We’ve appointed team leader nurses in each of our disciplines at the hospital, too, and this new approach will ensure we provide the highest standard of nursing care to all of our patients.

“We’ll also be able to better support and nurture all of our nursing team individually and help them to develop in their nursing careers.”

Anouska, who has been at Wear since 2013, added: “My journey to management began with becoming the internal medicine team leader and then becoming head nurse. 

“Now with responsibility for quality and compliance, it’s my job to ensure we are maintaining the highest standards of nursing, updating our hospital-wide protocols and for reviewing current practice and seeing ways in which we can improve.” 

Justyne is a newer arrival to Wear, having joined the team in April 2021. She said: “I’m originally from Shropshire but have spent the past 17 years working in various roles, with the last four-and-a-half years as Practice Manager at a Referral and Emergency Clinic.

“I am now looking forward to growing my knowledge base even further and sharing what I’ve learnt with the team here at Wear.

“I’m very excited to see how I can help the hospital grow and reach its potential in my new position responsible for workflow and process.

“I’ll be helping all the individual departments and disciplines with their workflow with a view to making the hospital as a whole, run as smoothly as we can.” 

Darren Stubbs, hospital director at Wear, said the nursing team restructure would help the hospital further enhance its reputation at the north east’s leading veterinary referral centre. He said: “We’re over the moon to be launching the new nursing structure here at Wear. It really places an emphasis on providing great leadership to our team and a really clear careers pathway for all of our nursing team.”

Wear’s nursing team structure follows a clear emphasis being placed on the nursing community by Linnaeus, which, in Chief Nursing Officer, Andrea Jeffery, has had a nursing presence on its executive board since 2019.

Andrea has spearheaded the creation of a unique central support veterinary nursing team (CSVNT) at Linnaeus to help its nursing population develop a clear career framework to facilitate skill set development of RVNs throughout their careers. She said: “We’re really excited to see the implementation of this nursing structure at Wear, which, as part of Linnaeus, is very much leading the industry with this approach to supporting its nursing team.

“We place a real emphasis on the importance our nurses play in helping us provide a better world for pets and this move really highlights the opportunities, support and work-life balance on offer at Wear.”

Wear specialises in providing expert multidisciplinary care, including anaesthesia, cardiology, diagnostic imaging, intensive care, internal medicine, neurology, OOH emergency and critical care, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue.

For more information on Wear Referrals, which is part of Linnaeus, visit theirw website or search for Wear Referrals on social media.

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