‘I’m really excited about the difference I can make’
Andrea Jeffery has the somewhat unusual honour of having cared for humans and animals in her career.
Having swapped life as an NHS nurse for that of an RVN, she has worked in human and vet hospitals, as a senior nurse at the AHT, and in further and higher education.
Mrs Jeffery has played a key part in passing the baton of knowledge on to the next generation by spearheading various undergraduate programmes for the RVC and University of Bristol – latterly, helping develop the first graduate training programme and a Masters by Research programme for RVNs.
Along the way, she became a Higher Education Academy fellow, obtained a master’s degree in e-learning, and helped develop the Orpet and Jeffery Ability Model 2007 – the first model of care for veterinary patients of its kind, aimed at ensuring VN teams deliver consistent patient care. She also serves on RCVS VN council and will continue to do so until 2020.
Mrs Jeffery is on the final stretch of a PhD, reviewing factors influencing retention within the VN profession. Her thirst for knowledge and passion for the profession shows no signs of abating, however.
This is evidenced by the fact she recently became Linnaeus’ chief nursing officer, where she works to ensure RVNs are at the forefront of strategy in terms of excellence and patient care.
Mrs Jeffery said: “My role includes establishing a clear career development framework for the students and RVNs within the Linnaeus primary care and referral settings. With the power and resource of Mars Petcare behind us, I’m really excited about the difference I can make.”
Throughout her career, Mrs Jeffrey has been inspired by many role models, and hopes to play her part in inspiring the next generation.
She said: “Over the course of your career, you are likely to have had more than one role model: a senior nurse who is positive and shows by example, perhaps. In time, you may become someone else’s role model and replace your own with someone in a different role who you aspire to.”
Mentoring can be a powerful tool when it comes to helping others. Mrs Jeffery said: “Supporting someone more junior, or less experienced than you, can be a great comfort to them. Taking on a mentoring role, not necessarily in a formal capacity, is a supportive thing to do for those at a point of change in their careers where everything seems a challenge.”
With so many plates spinning, how does Mrs Jeffery achieve a good work-life balance? She said: “Sometimes I am not very good at that, but I have a family and row Cornish pilot gigs. But it doesn’t matter what the ‘life’ bit is in your work-life balance – as long as you have it. Make some rules and follow them as much as you can, even if it’s watching one episode of something on TV while not checking your work email.”
Looking back, would Mrs Jeffery recommend veterinary nursing to school leavers? Absolutely. She said: “Veterinary nursing is an interesting and rewarding career, and with the advent of VN Futures and the introduction of more post-registration qualifications, the impact you can have on the standard of patient and client care is huge.”
Yet if she had to give her younger self advice, it would be: “Never have regrets. Learn from your mistakes and help guide others. And say ‘thank you’. It means so much to feel appreciated.”