Stories of much-loved veterinary nurse reflect her passion for education, kindness and enduring legacy
For many in the Vets Now family and across the wider veterinary profession, it is hard to believe that it has been an entire year since our beloved colleague Louise O’Dwyer passed away.
To celebrate her life, we asked people on our social media to share their memories of Louise and the impact she had on them.
While Louise’s contribution to veterinary nursing has always been clear, we were blown away that so many people had their own individual stories of how Louise had positively affected their lives, both professionally and personally.
Here are just a few of these memories, reflecting how far and wide her legacy travels.
It is clear that for so many people the world is a better place because of Louise.
Louise was my hero, such an inspiration. I wanted to be just like her from the moment I first heard her lecture. I was lucky enough to get to know her a little and she gave me so much confidence as a nurse. We had lots of fun at conferences and various CPD meetings where I would try not to catch her eye and have a question fired at me! I wish I could tell her today how much she has helped me and how much I appreciate her.
– Helen Molyneux
Going into ECC I had no idea of what to expect. Louise was such an inspiration – a great teacher with enormous knowledge, enthusiasm and wisdom. Her sense of humour always made her lectures fun and easy to follow. I miss her greatly. Love, from a fellow nurse in Norway.
– Hanna Englien
After listening to Louise lecture and then meeting her at an annual corporate meeting I was taken by how funny and engaging she was in person and what you saw when she lectured was the same as Louise in person. I will be forever grateful we ended up on the ‘naughty’ table together. A friend and mentor to many and a huge loss.
– Claire Coulthard
After qualifying in 2016 I found ECC my favourite part of veterinary nursing. I went on to do the BSAVA merit award in ECC and anaesthesia with Lou as my tutor. The passion she had was contagious and her teaching methods flawless. From this she inspired me to go into referral nursing and a year later I was privileged to work with her at Vets Now. She would always help, give out tips and advice. But what I miss most of all is chatting about our other passion, travel!
– Rebecca Dixon
She will forever be my number one role model. She imprinted her wisdom on generations of nurses without even realising. She gave us all confidence to further ourselves and our education and have a voice for our patients. A great educator and a lovely human. Shine bright.
– Lou Northway
Louise inspired me to study and achieve an anaesthesia cert, she helped me with the transition from charity practice to being a referral nurse. Her energy and enthusiasm for vet nursing inspired me to lecture, sharing my knowledge. She was funny, inspiring, caring and understanding. She is greatly missed. She did so much for veterinary nursing. Here’s a gin raised to you, Lou.
– Rosanna Atkinson
Louise inspired me to push the boundaries in my nursing career. She made me realise there was more to be achieved and supported me through my ECC and anaesthesia cert. She has paved the way for a brighter future for all the nurses to come. Truly missed.
– Chris Butler
When I was working in India at street dog shelters I would send her some impressive wounds and she would help me advise the staff on how to help with healing. We all miss her in our own way.
– Rachel Bean
Louise always spoke so passionately about her work. All her years in practice were reflected in her lectures which were so interesting that calling them lectures doesn’t do them credit really. Every chance I had to hear Louise speak I would be there, excited to hear her anecdotes, knowing after them I would have a new buzz of enthusiasm ready to take back to clinic and tell the others about. She will always be an inspiration.
– Emma-Louise Bonham-Murton
I met Lou at a CPD event years ago and she used to tell me every time I saw her to take that jump from first opinion into referral nursing. She inspired me to be the best nurse I could be. Her enthusiasm and endless knowledge was infectious, she made me believe I could do anything. I am so grateful that I made that move and got to work alongside her at Vets Now Manchester hospital. I started my journey here as surgical nurse and am now the head nurse. All because you believed in me Lou, and made me believe in myself, thank you. Never forgotten.
– Donna Crosbie
What an absolute gem of a lady and vet nurse rockstar. She ignited the fire inside of me to become the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwound nurse’ and Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdiabetes nurse’ in every vet practice I worked in. Had I not attended that CPD, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to find my nursing passion. Now that I’m working in the industry, I strive to be as much like Louise as I can. Sharing my time and knowledge with other like-minded people so generously and never stop smiling! A bright, shining light that I’m sure will guide and inspire nurses for many years to come.
– Sarah James
Louise was an absolute fountain of knowledge and is such an inspiration to myself and many other nurses I know. I 100% want to be like her when I “grow up”. Following on from a CPD of hers I attended, we then emailed back and forth for a few weeks about a patient’s wound I was dressing and she provided me not only with advice, but also by sending dressing materials in the post for me to try. She will always be someone I look up to and I’ll remember her every time I do something that she taught me. The veterinary profession owes so much to this wonderful lady.
– Hayley Buddery
I first met Lou when she lectured on the Dip AVN course in Myerscough and I was blown away by her. My practice in Ireland invited her over to lecture nurses on several courses and this started our wonderful friendship and her many trips to Ireland for some down time.
She encouraged and inspired the Irish nursing profession to aim high, to never stop learning and she showed us what could be achieved. I often say to nurses you only had to be in her presence for five minutes and you would feel that you just wanted to be better and do better for your patients.
She was incredibly down to earth, easy to chat to, always generous with her time and up for a giggle over a gin or two while in west Cork. I remember she once drove over to lecture at a nursing conference in Ireland and had a car full of teddies and models for her practicals. She had a hard time explaining this at customs!
Lou was an incredible individual and I feel lucky and thankful to call her a friend. I miss her enthusiasm, her energy and above all her wicked sense of humour and dress sense. I miss our chats. She inspired a nation and I know she will continue to do so.
– Mairead Deasy
When I think of Louise I am hit by a wave of sadness but then a huge light of inspiration by all that she achieved as a veterinary nurse and a beloved member of the veterinary profession.
Louise paved the way for veterinary nurses to achieve greatness, she inspired us to strive for excellence within our hospitals and gave us the determination to be recognised in our profession as the core of the veterinary practice.
I first met Louise at one of her emergency and critical care CPD events for aspiring veterinary nurses. Her wealth of knowledge and her passion to teach and inspire nurses shone through and gave me a huge dose of encouragement to progress within the profession.
Later on I had the honour of working with her at Vets Now in Manchester. Louise would float in wearing her heels and bright beautiful 1950’s dresses, her hair pinned and wearing a big smile on her face, it was always a pleasure to see and impossible not to notice her. She would be on hand if ever the nurses needed any guidance and was always happy to teach us first hand, especially in surgery or ECC. Louise was the life and soul of wherever she was, be it work or a party, and we miss her every single day even if we don’t say it to one another.
I will be forever grateful to Louise for creating the learning platform for veterinary nurses through her books (Pocketbook for Veterinary Nurses and Practical Emergency and Critical Veterinary Nursing), online webinars and worldwide CPD events, to say the least. But also for making it possible and achievable for us to learn and progress within our careers. Louise was a legend and so very modest so she’d roll her eyes at me for calling her that. RIP you beautiful soul, your legacy will live on and on for many years.
– Joanna Townley