Vet nurse monitoring anaesthesia.
Vet nurse monitoring anaesthesia. Image ©

We are deep into a busy term of teaching and have veterinary care assistant students in centre, as well as nursing diploma and nursing degree groups.

We are also supporting students in practice and ensuring nursing progress log (NPL) completion.

It’s so important in teaching to relate theoretical and practical elements to cases. We can use standard cases to promote problem-based learning, but the students thrive on the real cases we tutors have seen – the chance to get the background story and the emotion of the situation.

In the past few weeks I’ve been remembering and sharing some of the cases that have never left me. I’ve been using them to teach about the patient’s needs, and also to highlight how reflection can improve future patient experiences.

Encouraging reflective practice is a key part of health care teaching and is noted to improve patient welfare and practitioner standards.

Even now, many years after the event, my reflection changes. Taking into account latest research and reading, I can feed back to students how we must never stop this process, and always try to find improvements.

"Encouraging reflective practice is a key part of health care teaching and is noted to improve patient welfare and practitioner standards."My favourite case involved a large breed dog with pericarditis. The clients elected us to do the surgery above a referral practice, and I was duly elected by the nursing team to undertake the anaesthetic… all on a Monday morning.

I was terrified, but followed the basics for high-risk anaesthesia and made sure I had a second nurse to do the intermittent positive-pressure ventilation (IPPV) while I closely monitored the patient.

All went well, but I learned much more about IPPV and thoracic surgery in my post-op, adding more than I could have hoped. I then fed back to the nursing team, and we all learned more.

Our patient did well and went home to a happy family. I can remember seeing him walking past the practice a few weeks later and felt so proud of what we had achieved, and of the learning opportunity he provided.

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