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What is Head Nurse Congress?

Head Nurse Congress is an event solely focused on head veterinary nurses and practice managers - exploring all aspects of the roles; from the many different responsibilities, to the challenges that are faced on a daily basis.

This congress offers 7 hours of evidenced CPD and we will be welcoming a range of expert industry speakers to deliver lectures on:

  • Do, Delegate, Delete - The Art of Time Management and Delegation
  • Team Building - Creating a Culture of Trust and Respect
  • Piggy in the Middle - The delights and frustrations of balancing upward and downward management
  • Recruitment and Retention: helping your team to flourish
  • Introduction to the Mind Matters Initiative and Supportive Veterinary Nurses to Thrive

Who should attend?

Head nurses and practice managers. Whether you are a new or aspiring head nurse or practice manager, or have been one for many years, this congress is for you! The congress will be particularly useful if you are:

  • New to your role and looking for some guidance
  • Interested in learning more about management
  • Aiming to progress within your role
  • Interested in keeping up-to-date with everything happening in the industry

Why attend?

  • Listen to lectures from a range of speakers who will be sharing their experiences and knowledge
  • Q&A sessions mean your questions will be answered by the speakers themselves
  • Gain practical takeaways on a variety of topics that you can implement in your practice
  • Earn 7 hours of evidenced CPD
  • Gain information, product knowledge and offers from our virtual exhibitors
  • Gain online access to recordings of all the lectures and lectures from previous congresses up until the next event
Download the agenda (PDF)

Online Registration, Exhibition and Lounges

Chair's Welcome

Karen Davidson RVN Cert Ed

Do, Delegate, Delete - The Art of Time Management and

Alice Hewitt BVetMed(Hons) MA PGCertVetEd FHEA MRCVS

Time management and delegation are an important part of any leadership role.
They’re important for you because they free up your time, allowing you to focus on the
things that only you can do. They’re important for your team because they’re a way of
demonstrating trust and fairness, as well as ensuring things get done. But they can be tricky
skills to learn and feel comfortable using.

During this session, we’ll learn why time management and delegation are so impactful for
leaders at all stages, how to do this in practice, and some strategies to help you along the

Team Building - Creating a Culture of Trust and Respect

Debbie Robinson, VetNetics

Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, unified team. Without it, teamwork is impossible. If
the members of the team do not trust each other, then they cannot be totally honest with
each other.

Respect and civility in its simplest form, is about how we treat each other at work. In high
pressured veterinary environments, behaviours of disrespect and incivility can unfortunately,
become common place.

When a team or a practice’s environment is characterised by interpersonal trust and a
culture of respect, team members feel free to collaborate and feel safe making changes,
which ultimately enables them to implement continuous quality improvements.

Live Q&A Panel

Present questions (anonymously if desired) to the speakers.

Morning Break, Online Exhibition and Lounges

Piggy in the Middle – The delights and frustrations of
balancing upward and downward management

Chris White, MBA, Assoc CIPD

Managing a team in practice whilst also being managed yourself can be challenging.
At times you can feel the positive difference you are making to your team, to patients
and clients, and to the performance of the business; but at other times it can feel like an
impossible job and a lonely place to be.

It can be a fun game or a cruel game, depending on how the participants approach it.
You can see yourself as ‘stuck in the middle’ or as being at the heart creating a great
culture and influencing and communicating up and down to move things forward.

This session offers some strategies for fostering productive relationships across all
levels, for dealing with ‘difficult’ line managers, and for leading a team whose needs and
priorities may conflict with those of ‘the management’.

Live Q&A Panel

Present questions (anonymously if desired) to the speakers.

Lunch Break, Online Exhibition and Lounges

Recruitment and Retention: helping your team to flourish

Jess Woolrich BSc(Hons) RVN, PGCert VetEd, Cert VNES

This presentation will cover the following key learning points:

  • Learn how to conduct effective interviews and onboarding sessions. Consider how
    compassionate communication can help select you the right applicant for the role.
  • Consider how connecting through communication can increase staff retention
  • Learn how to have difficult/challenging conversations using compassionate
    communication during your 1:1 meetings and appraisals.
  • Hear about how the recognised tool of “Non-violent communication” can help you in
    everyday conversations as a Head Vet Nurse.

Introduction to the Mind Matters Initiative and
Supporting Veterinary Nurses to Thrive

Amy Martin BSc (Hons) RVN, DipAVN, Dip Coaching and Mentoring, Vet Mind Matters

The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) was launched in 2015 and aims to improve
the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, including students,
veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and practice managers.

Within this session there will be an introduction to MMI and we will explore how we can
work together to thrive as Veterinary Nurses, and as part of the Veterinary team.

Live Q&A Panel

Present questions (anonymously if desired) to the speakers.

Chairman's Close

Karen Davidson RVN Cert Ed

Online Exhibition and Lounges

Please note this programme is subject to change.


Alice HewittAlice Hewitt BVetMed(Hons) MA PGCertVetEd FHEA MRCVS

After graduating from the RVC in 2004, Alice worked predominantly in first opinion small animal practice; combining clinical practice with coaching, mentoring and teaching.

Alice is unashamedly a people person and loves helping people to grow and develop, to unlock their potential and to reach new heights. She is a firm believer in the importance of ‘soft skills’ and personal and career development and has developed and delivered training and coaching around these throughout her career, including delivering mentor training for MarsVH and feedback training for VCA.

Alice has been coaching since 2019 and launched her coaching business in 2022.

Chris WhiteChris White MBA, Assoc CIPD
Veterinary Management Group (VMG)

Chris is a Director of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG) and Head of Operations at Cedar Veterinary Group. He also provides advice, training, and leadership development for veterinary practices through Mongrel Consulting/Pawsitive People.

He has worked for several veterinary groups in senior management positions over the last 15 years and is committed to bringing fresh, evidence-based knowledge and a practical action-oriented approach to help practices with their challenges.

Debbie RobinsonDebbie Robinson

After selling her successful technology business, Debbie changed career direction and qualified as a business and performance coach and NLP practitioner in 2009. She has guided and supported countless businesses and their teams to create happy, harmonious and profitable businesses.

In 2015, she had the opportunity to provide coaching and training to the independent veterinary sector for Vet Dynamics, where she coached and mentored some of the UK’s now top performing independent veterinary practices.

Debbie founded VetNetics in 2022. Its purpose is to help practice principles and their teams to build kinder, more people focused and empowering veterinary practice cultures.

Jessica WoolrichJess Woolrich BSc(Hons) RVN, PGCert VetEd, Cert VNES

Jess graduated from the RVC in 2010 and went on to work in first opinion and referral settings and to work with exotics, (in Hong Kong). In 2012 she gained the Certificate in nursing exotic species. She has a particular interest in on-boarding and retention of team members, particularly those new to the profession.

Jess has taught Level 3 diploma students, has a Level 3 Award in Education and Teaching and a PGCert in Veterinary Education from RVC.

Jess is passionate about the application of Human Factors in veterinary practice, particularly the impact of words, experiences and behaviours on our teams.  She is convinced that equipping teams with Nonviolent Communication (NVC) skills will transform veterinary practice for veterinary professionals, our clients, and the care we deliver to our patients.

Amy Martin HeadshotAmy Martin BSc(Hons) RVN, DipAVN, Dip Coaching and Mentoring,
Vet Mind Matters

Amy is a registered veterinary nurse with over 20 years’ experience in clinical veterinary practice including 15 years in leadership. She has a keen interest in the mental health and welfare of the veterinary team, becoming recently published on the subject.

Amy is a Schwartz Rounds facilitator and mentor for the Point of Care Foundation, which has led her to an interest in compassion and team dynamics.

She currently works as a Practice Director in a busy multi-site first opinion and referral group. Alongside this Amy coaches’ individuals and teams and is currently undertaking a Masters in People and Organisation Development.

Karen Davidson HeadshotKaren Davidson RVN Cert Ed
The College of Animal Welfare

After 14 years working in both first opinion and multidisciplinary referral veterinary practice as Head Nurse, Karen progressed into lecturing and internal verification at The College of Animal Welfare in 1999.  Karen quickly progressed to centre, then regional manager before becoming Vice Principal of Academic Studies.

With a keen interest in raising quality and standards and excelling in customer service, Karen moved into her current role as Vice Principal Quality with the remit to drive improvement and raise quality of service and provision to meet expectations of our learners and clients.

In this role Karen hopes to have a positive impact upon training opportunities to support the development of practice teams in their goals to enable them to deliver exceptional standards of patient and client care.  

CAW LogoThe College of Animal Welfare

The College of Animal Welfare is one of the largest providers of veterinary nurse training in the UK, with centres in Cambridgeshire, North London, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, County Durham and Scotland. We strongly believe that education and training is the key to raising standards of animal welfare. To this end, we strive to create new and accessible opportunities for learning, and encourage employers and those working with animals to undertake appropriate levels of training and continue with lifelong learning and education.

CAW Business School

CAW Business School was set up in 2012 to offer business related qualifications. CAW Business School offers a number of highly recognised qualifications including the opportunity to study AAT Accounting, Business Administration, Customer Service, TAQA and ILM leadership and management, and coaching and mentoring courses.


Millpledge Veterinary LogoMillpledge Veterinary

Millpledge Veterinary has been manufacturing innovative products designed specifically for the veterinary professional for over 30 years.

Ranging from Pharmaceuticals to Nutraceuticals, Bandaging and Fluid Therapy, encompassing products for companion and large animal use. Providing complete peace of mind for the veterinary profession.

Popular products include Rapz Eazy Tear® Cohesive Bandages, Eaze-Off® Tape and Bandage Removal Spray, Tom Tiddle™ Urinary Cat Catheters, Millpack™ Sterilisation Pouches with built-in sterility test strips, Aniset™ IV Sets for small and large animals, and V-GEL® advanced species-specific supraglottic airway devices for Rabbits, Cats, and Dogs.

Visit our website at www.millpledge.com to view our full range.


Vetlife is a charity dedicated to supporting the veterinary profession.

Everyone in the veterinary community is welcome to contact the Vetlife Helpline for free, independent and confidential support – including veterinary nurses, veterinary students, and non-clinical staff. The Helpline can be reached on 0303 040 2551 or by anonymous email.

Following contact with the Vetlife Helpline, volunteers can refer those needing further care to our award-winning Vetlife Health Support service which provides mental health support.

Vetlife Financial Support is available for eligible veterinary surgeons, registered veterinary nurses, and their dependants in the UK.

Pet RemedyPet Remedy

Pet Remedy is a natural plant based range of calming products for pets. Easy to use and fast acting. This unique and patented formula is valerian root oil based and is made in the UK.

Pet Remedy works with the pet's own natural calming mechanisms and is suitable for use in all stressful situations. Pet Remedy will also help with developing emotional resilience and wellbeing. Now used by most veterinary practices and rescues on a daily basis. Visit the vet zone on our website and you will see a detailed explanation by Dr Robert Falconer-Taylor (veterinary neuro surgeon and author), about how Pet Remedy works. You will also see links to 9 published studies showing efficacy in multi-species including cat, dog, rabbit, pig and horse.

Hills Pet NutritionHill's Pet Nutrition

Our mission: To help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. We believe all animals should be loved and cared for during their lifetimes. That's why we're proud our pet foods can make a difference in pets’ lives. We make this pledge to you about our commitment to the welfare of animals everywhere.

We only use compassionate, non-invasive methods necessary to develop nutritional technology so dogs and cats around the world live long, healthy lives. Hill’s is committed to sustainability in many forms. This commitment extends beyond pets and includes People, Performance, and Planet.


At PURINA®, we believe that pets and people are better together. We are committed to helping pets live longer, happier and healthier lives through proper nutrition and care, as well as collaborating with and supporting the veterinary professionals who care for them.

To discover more about our ground-breaking science and how we can help you bring nutrition to life in your practice contact vettechline@purina.nestle.com.

To find out more about our products, Purina PRO PLAN®, and PRO PLAN® Veterinary Diets, visit www.purina.co.uk/proplan.

JHP RecruitmentJHP Recruitment

JHP Recruitment Ltd are a leading Veterinary recruitment company operating with the UK and US markets. We are able to supply locum and permanent candidates of all levels within Veterinary clinics or non-clinical roles related to Veterinary.

Tickets are Still Available

£210 (£175+VAT)

The Early Bird promotion has now ended.

Interested in exhibiting at Head Nurse Congress?

Head Nurse Congress is a unique congress aimed at head veterinary nurses, practice managers and those aspiring to those roles.

Why exhibit with us?

  • Limited exhibitor numbers - Unlike larger congresses where hundreds of exhibitors often mean that visitors will not remember everyone, exhibition space for these events is strictly limited. As such you will get the opportunity to engage with all of the delegates attending our congresses personally.
  • Make meaningful business connections – Network with those that influence decision making in veterinary practice face-to-face and make relevant industry contacts.
  • Cost effective – with exhibitor packages starting from just £50+VAT, our prices offer value for money and fall considerably below that of larger events within the industry.

Download a booking form or call Claire Gregory, on 01480 422060.

Book now