Kayleigh says her future lies in ECC as she reflects on her journey from receptionist to RVN

More than 200 newly-registered vet nurses had one more reason to celebrate Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month as their hard work was recognised at a graduation ceremony on RCVS Veterinary Nurses Day.

The vet nurses and their guests were invited to the ceremony at London Zoo where RCVS president Amanda Boag presented each vet nurse with their scroll, and chair of the Veterinary Nurses Council Racheal Marshall led them through the Veterinary Nurses’ Professional Declaration.

It was a particularly proud day for Kayleigh Ashford, vet nurse at our Gateshead clinic who started at Vets Now as a receptionist, then moved into an animal care assistant role, before fulfilling her dream of becoming a vet nurse.

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Image of kayleigh asford amanda boag and racheal marshall for Vets Now article on vet nurse graduation
Vets Now veterinary nurse Kayleigh Ashford receiving her scroll from RCVS president Amanda Boag and chair of VN council Racheal Marshall

Kayleigh said: “It was an amazing day and the ceremony was great. My certificate was presented by Amanda Boag and Racheal Marshall. To have two Vets Now staff speak at the ceremony and to hand me my certificate was the icing on the cake. And after the ceremony we had the whole day to see the zoo!”

Kayleigh, who has had a lifelong affinity with animals, credits her team in Gateshead with helping her achieve her dream.

She explained: “I started training two-and-a-half years ago. I returned to studying at 28 as a mature student and deciding to join Vets Now was one of the best decisions I made.

“My team have been my rock through my studying, helping me through every up and down. I couldn’t have done it without them. My PV Sara was great and, in particular, my head nurse Ashley Wemple has been the most incredible support and an inspiration for my career. It has been a privilege to work with such a talented nurse.”

Image of Kayleigh Ashford with her scroll for vets now article on vet nurse graduation
Kayleigh Ashford collected her scroll at the graduation ceremony

While already reaping the fruits of her labour, Kayleigh insists she has no intention of standing still in her career.

“I’ve already had a lot of support from the training team, help with CPD, visits to hospitals such as Glasgow for experience, and even the chance to attend Vets Now’s annual ECC Congress, after being nominated for a Vets Now making-a-difference award.”

“But I will continue to progress with Vets Now and my next ambition is to go on to do the Cert VN ECC certificate. I’m pretty confident my career is always going to be in ECC. I’ve grown up with it and can’t see myself doing anything else. It’s my passion.”

Kayleigh also intends to make the most of her work-life balance by taking up a rather unusual activity in her spare time.

“Alongside my nursing with Vets Now,” she smiled, “I am also taking the leap to move to Wales where in my spare time I will be working in the film industry as a stunt horse rider.”

Image of Kayleigh Ashford for Vets Now article on vet nurse graduation
Kayleigh says she can't see herself anywhere but ECC

Speaking at the ceremony, Racheal Marshall praised all the nurses graduating for their hard work and highlighted the positive impact they could have on the profession.

She said: “Veterinary nurses are a vital part of the veterinary team, working alongside their colleagues to ensure the health and welfare of patients, and supporting clients in what can sometimes be very difficult and emotional decisions.

“It is very apt that this ceremony is taking place during BVNA’s Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, where veterinary practices are encouraged to talk to their clients and the wider public about who veterinary nurses are, what they do and why, as a caring profession, they are so important to animal health and welfare.

“With VNs like these joining our profession or continuing to excel in their careers, and helping to raise awareness of veterinary nursing amongst the general public, I am positive that we will continue to progress.”

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