Internationally-renowned vet nurse becomes first from UK to hold AVECCT role

Louise O’Dwyer has become the first vet nurse from the UK to be elected president of the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians.

Louise, who is Vets Now’s clinical support manager and is based in our Manchester hospital, succeeds Amy Newfield and will serve a two-year term.

AVECCT is the body which certifies vet nurses as veterinary technician specialists in emergency and critical care — and Louise is one of only a small number of vet nurses in the UK to have earned VTS (ECC) certification.

Explaining her role, Louise said: “I was voted into the position following nomination by another AVECCT member. Even being considered to be nominated for presidency was a massive honour.

“I’m involved, along with the rest of the AVECCT board, in making decisions regarding the future of the academy, as well as overseeing the examinations, recertification, applications for the exam, etc.

“I also organise regular conference calls where we look at issues such as grading of the examination, changes to constitutions and bylaws, and get updates on the various committees within AVECCT.”

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Vets Now's clinical support manager Louise O'Dwyer

Achieving VTS (ECC) status is based on work experience over a three to five year period, continuing education, and an accumulation of a myriad of advanced skills relating to emergency and critical care.

Once the minimum requirements have been met, vet nurses can apply to AVECCT for certification.

They then have to go through a rigorous application process before being invited to sit a certifying exam. Only those who meet the requirements and pass the exam will earn VTS (ECC) designation.

Louise added: “Studying for the qualification is a massive undertaking. It’s a 12-month process of collecting cases, writing case reports and mastering specific ECC skills, but the end result is worth the hard work as it will vastly improve your knowledge and skills within emergency and critical care medicine and nursing.

“Gaining the qualification vastly improves your knowledge and understanding of ECC and also allows you to pass on that knowledge and improved skills to fellow nurses.”

Only 14 vet nurses in the UK have earned the qualification, including Louise and Kath Howie, Vets Now’s principal nurse manager in Farnham.

Vets Now is committed to supporting vet nurses who want to embark on the VTS (ECC) qualification. We also encourage and support staff to undertake the Cert VN (ECC) certificate.