In October 2017, Samantha Morgan hands the presidency of the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) to her successor, Wendy Nevins, during the BVNA Congress 2017. Pet Gazette caught up with Sam to to discuss her two years within the role.
What would you say were your greatest achievements, as president?
“I was unusual because I had two years as president rather than just the one, so I’ve had more time to accomplish my aims than many other presidents. I felt quite lucky to be able to see many projects through during that time.
“One of my biggest achievements, would have to be the VN Futures project (a joint project between the RCVS and the BVNA that was launched to create a blueprint for the future of the veterinary nursing profession). We’ve published the report and development groups have been set up and are quite independent, ongoing and producing some really good results for the veterinary nursing profession for the future so I think that is an amazing thing to have got done.
“Just recently we were also able to finalise and sign the agreement with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to work with them on a more formalised structure. All important messages affect both the veterinary teams and it is a huge milestone for the BVNA to align themselves more with BVA.”
What alterations has the profession undergone during your time with the BVNA council?
“The new Royal Charter came into effect in 2015, meaning that the whole of the veterinary nursing profession in the UK is now regulated. I think we’ve seen the profession as a whole grow and mature and develop its own voice so more veterinary nurses now are willing to stand up and say what they want from the profession and also take things into their own hands by undertaking further qualifications and not being afraid of standing for the BVNA council.
“This year with had our first vote in quite a number of years and we have five new council members joining which just shows that the profession itself is wanting to have a voice.
“We’ve always been passionate as nurses but I really feel now that nurses are more willing to say what they want and to move that forwards. I think is a huge change I’ve seen personally in the profession, since I joined the BVNA council.”
Which changes are veterinary nurses likely to face in the future?
“I can see them getting stronger really. Certainly the BVNA is going to lead the way. The BVNA is growing politically as it wants to have more of a say on issues like animal welfare, not just on the profession.
“I think we’ll take our members with us and they will follow us, so I can only see our voice getting louder. The only thing that will slow us down is that is that legislative changes are going to be quite hard to come by for the next couple of years while Brexit is going on. But, as long as we can remain passionate about what we want, we can still get there, it just may not happen as quickly as we originally thought.”
Do you think Brexit will have an impact on veterinary nurses?
“Veterinary nurses aren’t immediately affected. Certainly we welcome nurses from across the EU. We’d like that to remain and again we’ll be working with BVA. They’ve got a strong Brexit policy that we agree with and we’ll be working with them to ensure that any new nurses will be looked after.”
What advice would you give to Wendy and other future presidents?
“To really enjoy their time as president. It’s a very privileged position to be in. It’s a lot of hard work but looking back now I’m now quite sad that it’s coming to an end. I’ve felt very lucky to have gone to the number of meetings to meet all amazing people that I have, I would never have had that chance if I wasn’t in this role. You’ve got to remember that, along with the hard work, to enjoy it and take out of it what you can as well.”
What are your own plans for the future?
“I will go back to my own job again, I run a training provider for veterinary nurses so I’ll be keeping myself busy concentrating on my own business. It’s called Abbeydale Vetlink and it’s based in Monmouth in South Wales. We run the diploma for veterinary nursing for practices. We’re a private training provider so we’re quite unique in that it’s the only thing that we deliver. It’s just myself and my business partner Kirsty Gwynne. I’m sure that Kirsty will be very pleased that I’m back with the business!
“I’ll remain a loyal BVNA member. The BVNA will only grow from strength to strength from now on, we’re undertaking our governance review, and have had a look at the structure of BVNA and I think that has really set the foundation of the BVNA to go on for another 50 or 100 years into the future and only have the capacity to take on more members and to grow and develop a voice. It’s changed within the seven years I’ve been on council and only for the better – we now produce a fantastic journal and have a really strong council so I have every confidence that the BVNA will get bigger and better.”
For more information go to www.bvna.org.uk.