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Empowerment for VNAM and beyond! By Katie Ford

As Vet Nurse Awareness Month takes centre stage, it's a time to celebrate the invaluable

contributions of veterinary nurses and honour their vital role. This year's focal point of

empowerment resonates deeply with me, not only as someone that runs a company called Vet Empowered, but as a coach within the veterinary space and avid supporter of all things RVN.

I am so glad to see empowerment being talked about. In this blog post, let's delve into the

transformative power of personal empowerment, explore its significance, and uncover some

practical tips to help you embrace personal growth in your veterinary nursing journey (or any

other role, for that matter!).

Understanding Personal Empowerment:

Empowerment does what it says on the tin:

● ‘Em’ means to take or distribute,

● ‘Power’ is your capacity of ability

● ‘Ment’ action or resulting state

In short, it is the feeling when you recognise and take back your power. What a theme, right?

Personal empowerment acts as a catalyst that taps into our inner potential, igniting a spark that can fuel aligned change in our lives and in the lives of those we help. It involves gaining

confidence, clarity, and a regained sense and focus upon what is within our control. For

veterinary nurses, personal empowerment translates to recognising your worth, embracing your skills, and using them to make a tangible impact on the wellbeing of animals, as well as your interactions with others, whatever your role looks like.

Practical Tips for Embracing Personal Growth:

1. Cultivate Self-Belief:

From the conversations that I have within this profession, sometimes people say this can

feel tricky. Cultivating self-belief is a process of exploration, reptition and reflection - trust

the process and take the time to get to know and appreciate yourself. We live in a world

that subconsciously tells us about how we need ‘more’ on a regular basis, so meet

yourself with some compassion if it feels tricky, it’s not surprising when it’s different to

what we’ve been told. Take a step back to notice and recognise your strengths,

knowledge, and experiences. Gently try and take the comparison pressure off, and

embrace your own individual process. Comparison really is the thief of joy, Roosevelt

was right. Notice the times you have already navigated unexpected and challenging

situations with empathy and professionalism. Look back at how far you’ve come; I bet

there are plenty of things you once thought weren’t possible, and now you do them every

day. Celebrate your accomplishments as stepping stones towards further personal


Action: Can you write down something you’re proud of yourself for each day? You might

also find it useful to complete strength finding exercises, either online or with the help of

a coach.

2. Lifelong Learning: Nobody knows everything, yet often there is an internal pressure to

make sure that we do. Let’s flip that gap in knowledge into an opportunity to improve our

understanding, and likely remember that information more with some clinical context.

How can you frame learning in an empowering way? Notice what you find interesting

and sparks your interest as a veterinary nurses. Seek out opportunities for ongoing

professional development in this area. There is an incredible movement in the veterinary

nursing social media sphere around finding your niche, yet equally if you’re not sure

what you enjoy, use it as an opportunity to get curious.

Action: Reflect on “what areas of my work do I enjoy the most? How would it feel to

learn more about this topic?” - do you want to take any actions as a result?

3. Foster Collaboration: Remember that you are an integral part of a team. Engage in

open communication, share insights, and learn from your colleagues. Embrace the

power of collaboration to elevate patient care, broaden your knowledge base, and foster

a supportive work environment. You bring so, so much to the table - never forget that.

Action: Where could you bring more collaboration into what you do? What could you

learn from a colleague who is knowledgeable in a particular area? What could you teach

someone else?

4. Prioritise Self-Care: Personal growth begins with self-care, as much as we now hear it

regularly, it remains true. How can you make it a priority to nurture your physical, mental,

and emotional wellbeing in a way that works for you? Whether that is to practice

mindfulness techniques, engage in hobbies, connect with friends or move your body.

Find healthy outlets for stress relief - notice what has helped you previously and what

makes a difference to you. By caring for yourself, you can better care for those on your


Action: What gives you energy and helps you recharge in a healthy way? How can you

create space for this on a regular basis? Do you need to have any further conversations

to make this possible?

5. Celebrate Celebrate Celebrate: Personal growth is fueled by acknowledging

achievements, no matter how small. Take time to celebrate your triumphs, whether it's

getting the tricky IV line in, upskilling on your capnography knowledge, mapping the rota

or the inappetant patient taking a few mouthfuls of food after you sat with them. Each

accomplishment contributes to your growth and instills confidence and motivation.

Action: Note down your ‘wins’ and celebrate those of others too. Keep a stash of

reminders of these times for the trickier days, when maybe your mind tries to trick you

into thinking you don’t deserve it. You do. This might be screenshots of messages,

cards, your own reflections, photographs.

As we celebrate Vet Nurse Awareness Month, let us remember the significance of personal

growth in our professional journeys. By cultivating self-belief, pursuing lifelong learning,

fostering collaboration, prioritising self-care, and celebrating milestones, we can find ways to

make our careers rewarding.

A final reminder that you have always been valuable - beyond titles, accomplishments and

exam results. The odds of you being you were calculated at 1 in 400 trillion by Binazar - that’s

empowering in itself?

Thank you veterinary nurses for all that you do!

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