The College of Animal Welfare (CAW) has created a new professional coaching qualification, which will help clinical coaches to get the best from their student veterinary nurses.

The level 5 certificate in coaching and mentoring, accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management, is now open for applications.

Clinical coaches spend a large amount of time training their students in practice; coaching and supporting them as they learn the skills needed to do their job, and mentoring their students by looking at their personal development and addressing issues that may affect their learning and performance.

The skills needed to perform the clinical coach role have been largely focused around either the old A1 award or skills gained on the job, with a mandatory initial training which focuses on the technical competencies and use of the NPL.

The CAW says the role is regarded as rewarding, but can also be challenging, particularly dealing with setting timely targets, planning and structuring efficient training systems, building relationships and maintaining personal boundaries.

The level 5 certificate combines online, distance learning and study days at college and enables coaches to develop their abilities to guide, influence and develop their students to be the best veterinary nurses they can.

It covers topics such as communication skills and relationship building, overcoming barriers to coaching and mentoring, effective coaching/mentoring tools and techniques, feedback and monitoring progress.

CAW principal Barbara Cooper said: “Having worked with, and trained many assessors and clinical coaches over the past decade, we recognise the hard work and dedication put into training students in the practice and the challenges this can sometimes bring.

“We believe effective nurturing and developing of students makes a significant difference, not only to the practice, clients and the animals in their care, but also to the reputation and quality of the veterinary profession as a whole.”

The normal price for the qualification is £1,250 plus awarding body fees but CAW is offering 2014 TP Congress delegates, CAW clinical coaches and those supporting CAW students on placement, enrolment for £950 (or £105 per month).

Awarding body fees of £124 are also payable. Further information can be found at www.caw.ac.uk

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