Linnaeus is leading the veterinary industry with its nursing strategy

Linnaeus has underlined its commitment to the veterinary nursing profession with the introduction of two unique management positions.

The group, which has 16 referral centres and 44 primary care practices across the UK and Ireland, has appointed Tom Reilly as referral field nursing manager and Claire Roberts as primary care field nursing manager.

The newly-created roles are part of a determined focus by Linnaeus to place real emphasis on its nursing population, coming soon after the launch of its central support veterinary nursing team (CSVNT) strategy, which aims to develop a career framework to facilitate the skill set development of RVNs throughout their careers.

The appointments of Tom and Claire also mean further leadership positions within the group for nursing professionals, alongside chief nursing officer Dr Andrea Jeffery.

Tom, who up until August had spent 10 years at leading Linnaeus referral hospital Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, said: “I’m incredibly excited to be taking on this role, which is largely designed to help develop referral vet nursing within the business.

“It’s a newly-created position and I think it demonstrates again just how seriously Linnaeus takes its responsibilities to its nursing population. I will hopefully be able to add a different dimension to the role thanks to a number of years of clinical and commercial experience within a busy multidisciplinary hospital at Willows.

“Operationally, there isn’t very much like this in the industry, where we’ll be looking at structures within practices, existing training and developing systems to ensure we continue to support our nurses and keep striving for improvement across all elements of the profession.”

Claire, who has been involved in veterinary nursing for more than 25 years, working in private, charity, emergency and referral practices, joined Linnaeus in February 2020 as a professional development manager, focussing on working with the group’s primary care nurses. She also currently sits as an elected member of the RCVS VN Council.

As part of her new role in the field, Claire will be responsible for the overall operations of primary care nursing within Linnaeus. She will be working with colleagues to evaluate the nursing environment in primary care practices and make recommendations to ensure service, optimal patient flow, safety and compliance are maintained, while ensuring full nurse utilisation.

She said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this unique primary care field nursing manager role. At Linnaeus, we have always placed a huge emphasis on our nursing team and my appointment is another example of that.

“I can truly say that veterinary nursing is at the heart of everything we do at Linnaeus. It is a privilege to work for a company that supports career progression and development of our nurses and empowers our nursing population to be confident leaders who can support and drive the nursing services being delivered at site level.”

Dr Andrea Jeffery, who is the only person in the UK to sit at executive board level in a nursing capacity, has spearheaded the Linnaeus focus on nursing since joining the business in April 2019.

She said: “We want to ensure Linnaeus has a veterinary nursing population which is supported and developed in order to reach its full potential in its ability to deliver best patient care.

“To help achieve this, we aspire to enable our patient care and nursing teams to achieve success through supportive, well managed training programmes, which our newly-established central support team will help to deliver.

“Alongside this, the creation of our field nursing manager roles are very significant and key pieces in the jigsaw to ensure we support our nursing population in both referral centres and primary care practices across the country.

“Tom and Claire are both very skilled and experienced professionals, who we know will play intrinsic parts in the delivery of the Linnaeus nursing development strategy.”

The referral field nursing manager role comes hot on the heels Tom’s appointment to the BVNA advisory board, as well as successfully being selected as the first nurse to hold the position of chair of BSAVA congress committee.

Tom makes up a team of six on the advisory board who work with the BVNA and provide strategic advice on nursing elements across the industry.

As the first veterinary nurse to be appointed chairperson of one of the BSAVA’s working committees, Tom will be overseeing the return of the first in person congress since 2019 and its first to be held in Manchester since relocating from Birmingham.