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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.

You’ll get the chance to listen to a variety of relevant lectures from expert industry speakers and gain valuable CPD.

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 8 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 Davison RVN Cert Ed

Time to Step Up! - How to Make the Transition from RVN to Head RVN

Carly Seymour VTS (Anesthesia and Analgesia), DipAVN, CertVNECC, A1, CC, RVN

It can be difficult transitioning from RVN to Head RVN, and taking on all the additional responsibilities that come with the role.

We will look at how you can make the transition into a leadership role as smoothly as possible and how you can be a good role model and leader for your team. This will include an overview of leadership styles, along with advice from some of Carly's own experiences.

Getting the Most from Your Team

Alice Hewitt BVetMed(Hons) MA PGCertVetEd FHEA MRCVS, Alice Hewitt Coaching

Successful veterinary practices, whatever their size, rely on teamwork. When everyone works together things run more smoothly, efficiently and safely. Life is less stressful and more enjoyable.

Creating a team that works well together takes time and effort but when you get it right, the rewards are huge.
During this session we will discuss seven simple ways to bring out the best in your team; including communication, training, how to be accessible to and inspire your team, planning for the future and how to praise and reward.

Seven simple things to help you create a positive, productive and happy team.

Live Q&A Panel

Present questions (anonymously if desired) to the speakers.

Morning Break, Online Exhibition and Lounges

Ambassadorial Roles for Veterinary Nursing

Jill Macdonald DipAVN (Surgical) RVN FHEA, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

Veterinary nurses are at the core of veterinary practice, animal welfare and client support; yet their role is still often misunderstood or underestimated. Those wishing to choose a career in animal care may be unaware of the option of becoming a veterinary nurse, or the career opportunities that veterinary nursing offers.

There are many activities we can undertake to help raise awareness of the crucial role of veterinary nurses and create future ambassadors for our amazing profession, and we will look at some of the options available to you.

Your Social Media Tool Kit

Liz Somerville, Digital Marketing Ltd
Liz Daniels, Custard PR

Love it or loath it, social media is an integral part of any practice’s marketing strategy and is here to stay.

In this session we will give you some practical tools and top tips to develop your practice’s social media strategy, set yourself some goals and show how best to plan and schedule your content.

We understand that practice life is busy and time is precious, so we’ll share some top tips on how to implement your social media strategy in practice and get your team on board and involved, and show you what metrics to track to hit your practice’s goals.

Liz will be joined by Liz Daniels of Custard PR for the live Q&A.

Live Q&A Panel

Present questions (anonymously if desired) to the speakers.

Lunch Break, Online Exhibition and Lounges

Playing to Win: Conflict Need Not be Feared!

Helen Silver-MacMahon MSc PSCHF (Dist.), Cert VNECC, Dip AVN (surg), Cert SAN, RVN

Many of us feel nervous, anxious, or even fearful when facing conflict. Whether it be with family, friend, client, colleague, or boss. What we often forget is that this is an entirely normal response. I am a firm believer that with experience comes the opportunity to reflect and dissect. Through this we can identify the specific actions which ‘trigger’ a response in us. However, given how time poor we all are this reflection time is often overlooked. Resulting in a vicious circle which often ends in avoidance.

In this lecture we take the time to reflect on the various types of interactions or scenarios and why they may result in conflict. We will explore how there may be a different narrative to these situations and by using this alternative narrative, we may be able to find common ground and better outcomes for all involved. You should attend this lecture if:

1. You’ve experienced or are experiencing conflict in the workplace and are unsure why or what to do
2. You know of a friend or colleague experiencing conflict and are unsure how to support them
3. You’re keen to play a bigger role in deciding the outcome of workplace problems.

Overcoming the Challenges of Clinical Practice

Dr Liz Walker BVetMed BSAVA PgCertSAM MRCVS, IntrinsiaVet

This final presentation of the day aims to leave you feeling positive with methods to cope with stress and build reslience. We look at the following key learning points:

  • Recognising the challenges of clinical practice
  • Effectively navigating client and colleague interactions
  • Effective coping strategies for stress
  • Building resilience for a positive future

Live Q&A Panel

Present questions (anonymously if desired) to the speakers.

Chairman's Close

Karen Davison RVN Cert Ed

Online Exhibition and Lounges

Please note this programme is subject to change.

Carly SeymourCarly Seymour VTS (Anesthesia and Analgesia), DipAVN, CertVNECC, A1, CC, RVN

Carly qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2005 after achieving the NVQ Level 3 in Veterinary Nursing. After qualifying she was promoted to Head Nurse and worked with veterinary nurse students as an A1 assessor and then as a clinical coach. She has worked in a variety of environments such as general practice, emergency and out of hours services, referral practice, and in education at college and university.

Carly spent three years working as an anaesthesia nurse at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the Royal Veterinary College and then went on to be involved in the set-up of a brand-new referral centre in Leeds, Frank Pet Surgeons. She then spent a year lecturing veterinary nurse students in an agricultural college in Sussex, before working at Fitzpatrick Oncology and Soft Tissue Hospital, where soon after starting she was promoted to Deputy Head RVN and then Head RVN, joining the Operational Management Team.

Carly recently joined the team at Dick White Referrals as the Clinical Operation Team Leader.

During her career, Carly has achieved the Vets Now Emergency and Critical Care Certificate, the title Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) award in Anesthesia and Analgesia in the United States, the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing at Harper Adams University, and the Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management.

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.

Jill MacdonaldJill Macdonald DipAVN (Surgical) RVN FHEA

Jill has been a veterinary nurse in the UK for over 20 years, working in primary care practice for 13 years, and in veterinary undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Liverpool.

She founded ONCORE ePD, who provide online CPD for the veterinary profession.

Jill currently works for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in leading the VN Futures Project; an initiative which aims to address the challenges and exploit the opportunities in the Veterinary Nursing profession in the UK.

Jill is passionate about enhancing and progressing the VN role, and all her professional endeavours work towards this aim.

Liz SomervilleLiz Somerville

Liz Somerville is the Managing Director and one of the founding partners at Loch Leven Equine Practice. The practice has grown from a one vet ambulatory practice to a thriving team of 17 people, working from a purpose-built clinic with full surgical facilities.

In 2018 Liz completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Business Management with distinction. She is also a director and board member for the Veterinary Management Group and a director of a new digital membership start up.

Liz DanielsLiz Daniels

Liz Daniels is a Marketing Consultant with a first-class degree in Journalism. Through her company Custard PR she is responsible for the marketing and social media of numerous small businesses and veterinary practices.

She was the director responsible for setting up and growing Loch Leven’s Facebook page and alongside Liz Somerville has just launched a new digital membership platform for the equestrian community.


Helen Silver-MacMahonHelen Silver-MacMahon MSc PSCHF (Dist.), Cert VNECC, Dip AVN (surg), Cert SAN, RVN

Helen is a Human Factors specialist and registered veterinary nurse with more than 20 years of experience. As part of her MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors at the University of Edinburgh, Helen researched situational awareness in the veterinary operating theatre.  She is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the human skills that veterinary nurses require when monitoring and maintaining anaesthesia and working towards chartered ergonomist status.

Helen is passionate about developing the veterinary profession's understanding of Human Factors as a powerful aid in improving patient safety, enhancing performance and supporting the wellbeing of the veterinary team. She is an RCVS Knowledge Champion for her role in the sustained training and use of a surgical safety checklist within the small animal theatre at the former Animal Health Trust.

Until recently, Helen was the Research and Development director of VetLed. She Is now the Co-founder and Director of Being Human Consulting Ltd.

Liz WalkerDr Liz Walker BVetMed BSAVA PgCert SAM MRCVS

Liz graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, and subsequently went on to achieve a post graduate certificate in Internal Medicine with BSAVA.

After several years in first opinion practice, undertaking turnaround projects and running her own clinic, Liz moved on to become a director of one of the UK’s largest veterinary corporate organisations.

Having undertaken further studies at LSE and Henley Business School, Liz now works as a Director for an international veterinary management consultancy firm, IntrinsiaVet, as well as being a qualified Executive and Leadership Coach.

Liz is also a mentor for young adults from underprivileged backgrounds, a trustee for a homeless charity, and a Non-Executive Director of an international veterinary corporate organisation.

Burtons Veterinary EquipmentBurtons Veterinary Equipment

The Burtons family and company have been manufacturing, distributing and servicing equipment for the veterinary community for 40 years. Our full range covers everything from anaesthesia to x-ray and is largely made in-house, in the UK. Established for three generations, the Burtons ethos is to give honest expert advice and excellent customer service to all.

As well as supplying a comprehensive range of equipment, Burtons also prides itself on its world-class servicing capabilities. With a nationwide fleet of service engineers available to answer emergency callouts, as well as undertaking routine equipment maintenance.

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.

JHP RecruitmentJHP Recruitment

Veterinary specialist recruitment company. We are able to supply locum and permanent candidates of all levels into clinical and non-clinical roles.

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.

VMG LogoVeterinary Management Group (VMG)

The Veterinary Management Group is the UK’s leading representative body for veterinary professionals working in leadership and management roles.  A not-for-profit organisation, we work in collaboration with other prominent veterinary bodies to encourage and support the professional and personal development of those in the veterinary profession through CPD, networking, certified management accreditation and the provision of educational resources.

Our mission is simple – to help our members develop their leadership and management skills through learning, sharing and growing!

CAW Business School

CAW Business School was set up in 2012 to offer business related qualifications to those throughout the Eastern region and beyond. Today, we offer 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.

We are dedicated to providing our students with the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to succeed in the dynamic world of business and accounting. We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality education through a combination of theoretical learning and practical application. Our experienced and knowledgeable tutors bring their expertise to the classroom, and are dedicated to helping students to succeed in their chosen qualification and leave college prepared to pursue a variety of career paths.

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.

Register your details now to receive information about this event and other CPD courses

CPD, Short Courses and Congresses

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.