Rachel Gowshall, Retired veterinary nurse and marketing executive

Rachel qualified as a RVN back in 1984 when they were called RANAs (Registered Animal Nursing Auxiliaries). She left school at 16 and worked for a year in a breeding and boarding establishment as a kennel maid. She could then begin the 2 years of nursing study whilst working at a large RSPCA hospital in Birmingham where she became a senior nurse. She would have been one of the first black RVNs in the UK. In 1992, she became one of the first cohorts to achieve the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) and was part of early working parties that looked at developing veterinary nursing. Rachel’s journey as a RVN has included Head Nurse in both mixed practice and small animal practice, veterinary eCommerce (qualifying as an SQP-C), marketing and owner/directorship of a large small animal hospital and referral centre. Rachel took a step back from veterinary practice, coming off the register 3 years ago after 37 years in practice but remains connected via a husband and daughter who are both vets.

Rachel has been a magistrate for 10 years where, in addition to her normal magisterial duties, she sits on both conduct and recruitment panels, in the latter, she works to improve wider diversity and representation within the magistracy.

Rachel is a lay member of the scholarship panel and she joined wanting to both promote Veterinary Nursing to a more diverse group and also to be part of an outreach programme raising wider awareness of the profession in underprivileged and underrepresented areas. She is only too aware of the challenges that are faced by those stepping out of stereotypical career paths and how additional support can make that journey more achievable and less daunting.