Thursday, 11 June 2015

Send a Veterinary Nurse to India Project gets underway

The nursing of patients whilst they are sick or recuperating in hospital is of huge importance for ensuring all their needs are met and that their welfare doesn’t suffer. Nursing doesn’t just involve giving medication, changing dirty bedding and providing food for an animal, it is also about ensuring the patient is treated as an individual and given everything it needs, not just for its physical wellbeing but also its mental wellbeing. Taking the time to comfort and befriend a frightened animal, or simply groom or play with a long term inpatient is just as important as keeping its intravenous fluids running or administering antibiotics.

Sadly, in many countries, the nursing of animals is low down on the hospital’s priorities and many animals are left unintentionally neglected. Little time is spent observing the animal and therefore changes in behaviour, which could indicate pain or fear, go unnoticed. The opportunity to toilet out of the kennel area is often not given, tipped over water bowls go unreplenished, uneaten food may be summed up as in appetence rather than a preference for something else, soiled bedding (if provided) remains unchanged and behavioural needs, such as hiding, are overlooked. The animal becomes nothing more than a ‘tick list’ of duties rather than an individual character with preferences and personal needs.

In November this year JMICAWE’s Hayley Walters and Heather Bacon will be taking 8 student veterinary nurses from Edinburgh Napier University to 2 vet schools in Kerala in India to promote the value and importance of veterinary nursing. Over the course of 2 weeks the student veterinary nurses will help to demonstrate how good nursing improves patient care which in turn speeds up recovery times due to the provision of a comfortable environment, good nutrition, appropriate pain relief and lots of TLC.

The ‘India expedition team’ met up last month for a team building day at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, which involved a tour of the small animal hospital, presentations from Hayley, Heather and the student nurses, an interactive problem solving session and appropriately finished with a meal in an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.

The long term plan for this project is to not only improve patient welfare through the caring profession but to eventually develop a veterinary nursing curriculum and qualification at the 2 vet schools in Kerala; something which will be of great value to the vets, veterinary students and, most importantly, the animals, when it happens.


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