Dr Aoife Reid, who heads up Vets Now’s Edge programmes, has been awarded a prestigious Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Fellowship.
The Fellowship provides a platform “to advance veterinary standards by providing a resource of independent knowledge for the benefit of the veterinary profession” within and assisted by the RCVS structures and governance framework.
The title of Fellow of the RCVS has been in existence for over 140 years and there are three broad routes to Fellowship including Aoife’s recent recognition for her “Meritorious Contributions to Clinical Practice”.
It’s a huge honour and Irish-born Aoife, who has more than two decades veterinary experience, is delighted both personally and professionally.
And she says the flexibility of her role within Vets Now has played a massive part in being able to pursue her passion projects within the profession.
“I’m really humbled and delighted to receive this, if a little surprised,” said mum-of-two Aoife, who has a national role as Head of Edge Programmes and Clinical Career Progression with Vets Now.
“Twenty years ago, I remember making the journey, as an inexperienced recent graduate, to register as a Member of the RCVS in London.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this would lead to Fellowship. My professional journey has had highs and lows and I’m grateful for everyone that has played a part in that.
“Fellowship was not something that was previously on my radar, so it’s lovely to have been recognised in this way and I am thankful to be part of the veterinary profession in the UK.”
Having graduated from University College Dublin in 2001, Aoife spent some time in primary-care equine, mixed and then small animal practice.
“I had always wanted to be an equine vet,” explained Aoife. “But I gradually came to the realisation that it wasn’t for me after all – I think I loved horse-riding more that actually being a horse vet!
“Small animal work started to become more of an interest and when I visited a friend in small animal practice, I really liked it.
“I did mixed practice for a time, but small animal practice was ultimately where I wanted to spend my time.”
In 2006, she began working in primary-care small animal emergency practice back in Dublin and the ECC world has remained her passion ever since.
“I’d always enjoyed seeing emergency cases,” said Aoife.
“In all my previous roles I’d done on-call and as soon as I started working in the emergency clinic, I realised that was my niche.
“After about 18 months I came back to the UK and gained more emergency clinic experience.”
She joined Vets Now in 2009, initially for a few months, but loved the company ethos. She became senior vet in Birmingham and then took on a couple of senior management maternity cover roles.
Aoife completed her CertAVP (ECC) and is an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Emergency and Critical Care (ECC).
She was appointed Head of Edge programmes in 2014 and is responsible for the design and delivery of several ECC training programmes within Vets Now.
Aoife holds a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Education from the Royal Veterinary College and is a Member of the Academy of Medical Educators and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
She is also a teacher on the post-graduate ECC certificate programme for BSAVA. In addition, Aoife works for Pet Bloodbank UK on the Scottish regional blood collection team.
But while she has plenty plates to keep spinning, giving something back by doing veterinary volunteering work has always been a passion.
“I’ve done more than 30 trips internationally for both rabies prevention and population control in dogs and cats,” said Aoife.
“I’ve been to Peru, Romania, Ukraine, Greece, Canary Islands and India, many of them more than once.”
Her research interests include canine dystocia, clinical audit and optimising behaviour change of veterinary professionals in practice following continuing professional development.
Aoife regularly collaborates with other institutions such as with the RVC VetCompass project.
With colleagues, she has co-authored and published several papers on her area of clinical interest, canine dystocia.
“We have looked at the risk factors and the clinical management of those cases within Vets Now,” said Aoife.
“That helped us assess how we manage dystocia cases on a large scale and identify where improvements could be made in clinical decision-making to optimise patient outcomes.”
Aoife has welcomed the support of Vets Now in much of the work she has done which has now been recognised with the Fellowship award.
“Vets Now have been really supportive of me doing many different things,” added Aoife. “Being able to do my research and having time to pursue my interests has been essential for my personal and professional development.”